Sicily – Through Rose-Tinted Lenses

It’s official: I need a waterproof camera. When Monsieur and I were caught in a Sicilian deluge in the little town of Trapani, I couldn’t help myself; I kept on snapping. Even in the grey of the downpour, shooting Trapani’s buildings was worth getting a little wet. Or so I thought. Meanwhile, Monsieur’s camera stayed safe in a dry pocket. Ah, such wisdom.

Everything seemed fine until we got back to the hotel that evening. I tried to take a shot of our room, only the LCD screen on my trusty little Canon Powershot SD870 IS started to act up. First it went pink, then dark, bit by bit, kind of like those black spots that appear before your eyes just before you pass out. Then there was nothing. The lens was open but no one was home. The screen showed nada. Oh, hell.

Taking my camera to hospital was definitely in order, but we wouldn’t be able to do that until we got to Taormina the following evening. And that evening would be New Year’s Eve, so I was likely to be without the ability to photograph anything until the New Year rolled round, IF I could even find a photographics shop that was open over the holidays. Monsieur scolded me. “You shouldn’t have used it in the rain. It’s probably got water in it and that’s going to take a while to dry out.” Bummer.

Periodically, I’d get the camera out and try, try, try to get some sort of image on the screen. Sometimes I was rewarded for my efforts, but everything would appear tinged with a strange purply pink before going dark after a mere few minutes of action. Still, some of the shots turned out quite interesting, so I kept them. Here are some shots of Sicily through rose-tinted lenses.

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This was our room, with Amityville lampshade, at the moment when I realised that something was wrong.

566 In Taormina, things seemed to return to normal, for a moment or two. Then suddenly, THIS:

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Miraculously, a photographics shop was open in Taormina on New Year’s Day. I trotted into the shop, offending camera in hand, and in my best Italian explained that it wasn’t working. To demonstrate, I pulled it out of its case and turned it on. Wouldn’t you know it? The screen showed a perfect image, no pink anywhere. What a stupid ‘Inglese’ I was. As I left the shop I could still hear the three assistants laughing at my error. Hrmph.

And so, for the next day or so, the camera behaved just as it should, but on the drive back to Palermo, it had a relapse. As we stopped to photograph Etna, all was going well:

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But minutes later The Canon and I were once more tainted in our outlook:

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It seemed we were into apocalyptic-style photography now.

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By the time we got home, the camera was perfectly happy once more, doing precisely as it was told at all times, so I put its pink episodes down to internal damp and a change in air temperature around Etna.

And so, months and much use later, Monsieur and I sat in the sun on our first day in Sardinia. I took out my camera, turned it on and BOOM it went all pink on me again. Perhaps it’s something about these Italian isles that makes it blush so. This time it only lasted for a minute or two before behaving perfectly for the entire trip. I guess it must have been disturbed by the in-flight air pressure. What a delicate little thing my camera is. Lesson learned: never, but never should I use my Canon to take photos in the rain.

(I’m considering my next digital camera as this one is going to die soon. Its LCD screen is growing a big black hole. My previous powershot was bulky and needed batteries but had one of those little turn around screens on the back so when you weren’t using it, you could close it up against damage. Any recommendations you have for the next Epicurienne camera would be most welcome!)

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13 Comments Add yours

  1. Well, it makes for some unpredictably interesting photography at least. Kind of like Raku firing pottery. You have a general idea of what you’ll get, but the fates get to choose the rest.

    I’m still using actual celluloid for my “big” camera. My digital is a point and shoot. Having said that, it’s been a looooong time since the 35mm came out for some use.

    -Turkish Prawn

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    1. epicurienne says:

      Hey Turkish Prawn! The Raku firing pottery comparison is so right. In those hazy pink days of travelling through Sicily, I had no clue what was going to show up on the back of my digital camera, just that it might involve pink. As for BIG cameras, I still have my old Pentax P50 35mm and I keep meaning to dust her off and fill her up again to see if I remember how to shoot the old fashioned way. I’ll let you know how I get on. Maybe you and I should do an experiment and BOTH try out our BIG cameras again and compare notes??

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      1. Hey! You’re on!

        Hmmm. Does anyone still develop film? I think I might have some in the freezer still. Waaaaaay in the back by the lost freezer burned ice cubes.

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      2. epicurienne says:

        Hey Turkish! Yes, people still develop film but it costs the earth these days because most people have gone digital. BTW is it possible for ice cubes to get freezer burn? I’ve just learned something new. Perhaps you should take a photo of the freezer burned ice cubes with the frozen film and send it off for processing. Could be quite artistic.

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  2. razzbuffnik says:

    I’d say your camera still has some moisture in it. Take the batteries out and leave the battery door open and put the camera in a warm dry place for a few days with the open hole pointing upwards.

    By the way if you camera ever falls in the sea, just leave it there as it will never work properly again. How do I know this, I studied photography (as an applied science) at uni and part of the course was photo mechanics.

    Also if your camera gets wet with fresh water, take the batteries out as fast as possible so the electronics don’t short out. I’m amazed that your little camera worked at all after in got wet.

    You were lucky.

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    1. epicurienne says:

      Hi Razz – thanks for the advice! I know, I know, I was silly, but I really didn’t think a bit of rain would hurt it. NEVER again. I’ll follow your advice straight away, Maestro. It’s funny the things we take for granted. When my camera wasn’t working or was taking pink photos, I felt like my right arm had been cut off. Travelling without a camera is just so very painful, especially when confronted by all sorts of wonderful images just waiting to be immortalised. Monsieur was very kind, letting me take over his camera for a while. Next time, I’m going to take my old but trusty back-up Canon, just in case. It has yet to let me down.

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  3. Hmmmm. I have a Canon too. :p Except I’d say if it started raining, I’d totally forget about pockets and hide it under my shirt. I tend to do that for some reason.
    Anyway, just popping in to announce my returnment.

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    1. epicurienne says:

      Forget cameras, Finicky, your returnment has made my day. Welcome back! and I look forward to many, many more Mr T/ Chuck Norris comments…
      btw, did you know that Chuck Norris ordered a Big Mac at Burger King? and got one.

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      1. And Mr. T took it and ate it. He also pities McNuggets.

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  4. razzbuffnik says:

    HEY!!!!

    ANYONE HOME?

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    1. epicurienne says:

      Hey Razz,
      you caught me napping. Have a handful of half-finished posts but as yet no time to complete. Hopefully will get a few finished today. Watch this space. More importantly, are you and Engogirl ready for take-off?

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  5. razzbuffnik says:

    Yep!

    It’s this Friday, first thing in the morning. I’ll be glad to go as it’s been a bit hard to sleep while I’m thinking about all the last minute stuff I have to do and don’t want to forget.

    Got to clean out the pond filter tomorrow and do a website for my neighbour’s little business as well.

    Hopefully Thursday will be a free day so I can get my act together.

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  6. Hmmm. Well.. We’ll call them super-duper stale then! My Grandmother was always tossing old ice cubes claiming that they tasted like the freezer. Never having eaten a freezer, I’m not sure what she meant. 😉

    -TP

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