This is an image I took from Enger Park, high on a hill overlooking the city. I had scouted out a place to catch some good shots of the Duluth Canal area. I knew they flood the bridge with lights at night and decided to try and capture the scene. It was a mildly-cool evening on July 16, 2017 and a bit breezy.
Now the rest of the story…. Earlier that day, my wife and I took a ride up the scenic coast to visit and photograph some waterfalls and lighthouses. While working on shots of the Split Rock Lighthouse, standing on some rocks along the shore, my tripod-secured camera tipped over. When it hit the rocks the lens broke off and went one direction, the camera went another direction and took a quick dip in the water.
I scrambled to grab it and believe I kept it from being submerged but it did get quite wet. Without the lens attached, the sensor area was open and had received some moisture. I quickly did my best to dry everything. I don’t have cameras to spare…or the money to buy them…so it was a hugely, disheartening event. It put quite a crimp in the fun weekend we were having.
The more I examined the camera insides, the more water I could see. With a soft dry cloth, I rubbed the mirror element. I thought it was made of glass, and it may be, but it has some sort of plastic coating on it that I damaged. In the right light I could see a definite “L” like line. The camera body, itself, was also jacked up.
Surprisingly, with another lens, I was able to get the camera to turn on and used it to take more photos there. It was having hiccups now and then – displays weren’t working right, occasional errors writing to memory, etc. Still, I was happy it still showed life and was hoping it would dry out and function; albeit with some nasty scars.
It wasn’t until later, when I downloaded the photos to my computer that I could see the seriousness of the mirror damage I caused. In a normal DLSR the mirror flips up, when you press the shutter, to expose the sensor to the image. My Sony, mirrorless model, has a “translucent” mirror that reflects the image up to the viewfinder, but it doesn’t flip up to expose the sensor – the light actually passes through the mirror to the sensor. So any damage to the mirror will effect each image taken.
I’m sharing this long, sad, story to point out the flaws in the image I’ve posted here. You will notice the long light streaks on the right side of the bridge. Those are a result of the damaged mirror. Also, the mushy bunch of lights just to the left of the bridge are from the damaged mirror. The lights to the left should look like clear, individual dots similar to the dots inside the bridge frame.
The distortions were not so noticeable on the camera’s screen when viewing bright, daylight images. It’s painfully obvious with the night scenes. This could have been a very nice image and, I’m sure some will still like it, but I’ll always focus on it’s flaws. I debated with myself whether to post it and, of course, I decided to. I thought it would be interesting to see if anyone would comment on the flaws…who picked up on them without reading the details of this post. I wonder how many people might think it was some artistic effect.
As far as the camera goes, I had to replace it. I believe it would have cost more to repair than it was worth. I purchased the same model camera body (Sony A77) from a seller on eBay for half what a new one would cost. I had hoped to upgrade soon, but this unexpected expense will delay that for awhile. I was also able to order a part to fix the lens that was broken. It was a lot harder to repair than I thought, but I got it done and it’s working perfectly. It was a favorite lens, so I’m glad I didn’t have to replace it.
You can view a larger, more detailed version of this image – flaws and all – by clicking on the photo.
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