Canon PowerShot S90 “Sludge-Cam”

Canon PowerShot S90

Why is this a "sludge-cam??? It spent the previous 13 months before these photos were taken… beneath 6 feet of dirty water and a foot of black sludgy rotting vegetation at the bottom of a holding tank in a closed-down water processing plant:…

These photos show it after being hosed off and set out in the hot Texas sun to dry for a day. The owner lost his grip on it when changing settings while taking photos from the catwalk over the tank. An attempt to retrieve it was unsuccessful because of zero visibility in the dark water of the tank, made even darker by disturbing the thick layer of sludge.

Over a year later I was working around the old plant and was told about the camera and decided to try to find it. I hose-clamped a garden rake to the telescoping pole on a long-handled pruning saw after first removing the saw blade. This made a crude "snag tool" for dragging along the bottom of the tank. I really didn’t need to see the tank bottom, which was invisible anyway, beneath the dirty water and sludge layer. By extending the pole saw handle, working from the catwalk, I could drag the garden rake’s toothy head across the bottom of the entire tank… even into the corners. The first twenty minutes were spent pulling out sludgy, smelly sticks and rotting leaves. Then a more careful, slow process began. The trick was to move very slowly and notice when anything on the tank bottom offered any resistance to the rake. After ten minutes I finally pulled up a sludgy broken brick… not the prize I had hoped for, but it did provide "proof of concept"… retrieving the camera might be possible. After another five minutes I finally felt a bit of resistance and carefully worked the invisible object against the tank wall and started to lift slowly, keeping pressure on the object… pushing against the wall while raising the handle. Eventually a ball of sludge with a short lanyard hanging out of it appeared, resting on the rake tines. Moving carefully to grab the lanyard, I nearly fumbled the camera back into the tank. What came next was a thorough hosing off in a bucket of water, then drying the camera. To speed the drying process along as much as possible, I removed the SD card and battery, leaving the compartment door open. The battery had corroded itself in place and had to be jimmied out with a small screw driver.

My friend told me that the camera owner was flying in from the west coast to visit over the Thanksgiving holiday. He was presented with the camera and it now sits on his desk at work. But… I was able to give him something else also. The SD card looked pretty grim. Even though it had been buttoned up in its compartment, water had infiltrated and caused an electrolytic reaction, resulting in partial delamination of the gold finger contacts. I plugged it into a spare card reader to see if it contained any images. There was no indication that a card was present… as if the card reader was plugged in, but empty. Looking at the contacts I figured that some kind of cleaning might be possible. I took a round toothpick and crushed the end to make a tiny brush-like tip. Wetting the tip and dipping it in some fine Texas dust from outside made a kind of abrasive tool. Using this to gently scrub each gold contact individually, grime and discoloration were "erased". I had to "go light" to avoid removing any gold. After rinsing and drying I tried once more to get the reader to detect the card. There was still no indication that a card was present… until I tried repeatedly removing and reinserting the card. Then… a folder appeared, containing about 90 pristine, clear, crisp images. They looked as if they had just been taken. All the EXIF data was intact. Before anything could happen to make the folder disappear… a possibility considering the card’s condition, I quickly copied the folder to the computer, then burned it to a disc. The camera owner was amazed when I told him to browse through the disc containing "mystery" images. I hadn’t yet told him about recovering the camera.

Posted by Small Creatures on 2017-02-12 17:59:02

Tagged: , Canon , PowerShot S90 , corrosion , corroded , lost , D60 , Nikon , Newcastle , Texas , Young County , water plant

Juniper in Soft Focus

Juniper in Soft Focus

Went out in the snow today to take some shots. Wound up at the Sibley Nature Center. This is a shot of some juniper berries on a tree next to the visitor’s center. Used a soft focus on this one, no flash. I thought at first I’d caught some snowflakes in this shot, too, but after wiping off my computer screen… *sigh*

It was just some dust.

Posted by Been There Photography on 2009-12-30 02:47:08

Tagged: , Nikon , D60 , NikonD60 , Midland , Texas , desert , southwest , west , nature , SibleyNatureCenter , Llano , Estacado , LlanoEstacado , winter , juniper , berry , berries , blue , green , snow



All i can say is, there is a lot of stuff underneath the keys of my computer.
Probably should try to clean that.

Posted by Andrew Speight // on 2010-11-08 01:35:18

Tagged: , ctrl , alt , delete , keys , key , computer , laptop , black , white , dust , control , macro , nikon , d60 , camera , lens , Andrew.Speight | Photo , Andrew Speight Photography , Andrew Speight , ASPhoto

*re-uploaded* Focus stack of Phidippus otiosus – adult male

*re-uploaded* Focus stack of Phidippus otiosus - adult male

Re-processed and uploaded 11/10/09 – First try at Zerene Stacker. Two images. I first tried another picture that was four images, more poorly lined up, and my computer completely refused to finish them; when it finally did, they came out with so many artifacts it was awful. The alignment tool doesn’t work too well apparently, so in the future I think I’ll try cropping them all to line them up better. This shot still took awhile for my wheezing old PC (1gb ram); even with every other unnecessary program turned off, it still froze on me a couple times. So until I get it sped back up, don’t expect many of these type of images. That said, I do like the results. The important face and other areas lined up quite well; although there are a few artifacts still (the hairs on his front legs doubled a bit, and every bit of dust on my image sensor was cloned during alignment so I ended up cleaning twice as much junk!). Still pretty pleased with the results, now if only I could fix the damage to his right anterior median eye 🙂


Thanks to Thomas Shahan for helping with ID – I could tell this wasn’t P. audax, but it was the first of this species I’ve ever seen. Phidippus otiosus – another one to add to my list of species found. I made the actual list now, and there’s a current version on the main page for my Salticidae set. Turns out I had a few incorrect IDs, and was able to pin others down, so I also changed a few titles and descriptions on other jumper photos to reflect that. Still have to finish changing tags, but I’ll get around to it soon.

Found down in some tree bark in Mohawk Park. I love the iridescent facial scales on this jumper, as well as his incredibly heavy proportions. Such an impressive-looking spider, as well as a new species for me! I had to re-photograph him to get some shots I was pleased with. The green was a much more complimentary backdrop for this individual as well, I’m trying to decide whether to delete the other shots. I wish there was a "scrap folder" option on flickr, so people who’ve collected or commented it wouldn’t be inconvenienced.

Nikkor 18-55 reversed (at ~20mm), Nikon SB-400 and folding diffuser, homemade flash bracket.

Posted by Sam Martin (abikeOdyssey) on 2009-11-08 21:05:14

Tagged: , adult , male , nikon , d60 , nikkor , spider , arthropod , arachnid , chelicerae , leg , legs , eyes , pedipalps , female , macro , Macro-Life , invertebrate , salticidae , salticid , jumper , jumping , poor-man’s , reversed , lens , backwards , notyournormalbug , phidippus , otiosus , Phidippus otiosus , zerene , stacker , focus , stack

My take on Lumix LX5

My take on Lumix LX5

LX5 on Domke F-3X gray.

Nikon D60 | AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G


As I think many people ran into my photostream looking for LX5 images before deciding which camera to buy, below I’d write my thoughts on this compact camera. Some may find it useful.
Please note that Panasonic issued the first firmware update (Ver.2.0) on September 13th, 2011, and most of the content here was written before the update. I have added/will add a few points regarding the update (written in bold).

– What I like and dislike about LX5

I like
1. a fast lens starting at 24mm up to the convenient 90mm.
2. moderate performance in low light. I don’t mind using up to ISO800 but other people may have a different opinion on that.
3. O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) – it seems working pretty good.
4. Good dynamic range
5. Good AWB. I’m impressed. (This was compared to my old Ricoh GX100. Now I don’t feel it so special..)
6. Hardware switch for aspect ratios – very convenient.

I dislike
1. stiff dial on the back. I sometimes unintentionally switch exposure/aperture modes by trying to adjust one of them.
2. C1 & C2 custom settings which don’t remember some things I want them to remember, like zoom length and f stop. So they are practically useless to me.
3. AF setting which doesn’t remember the size of AF area. I prefer to keep it at the smallest but it goes back to the default size once you turn the camera off. (And C1 and C2 don’t remember it either.)
With the firmware update (Ver. 2.0), now the size of the AF area is stored!
4. screen!!!! At first, you would really like it, but a) it crams too much information in a display, and more importantly b) the color of images on a display looks so differently from what it really captures (the display on LX5 is too bright and colors are a bit saturated, or tinted). When you look at the images on the computer home (I have a color calibrated monitor), I get quite different impression often times. If you can’t trust color of the display on the camera, how do you adjust the shooting settings?
With the firmware update (Ver. 2.0.), now you can adjust the LCD display regarding brightness, contrast & saturation, red tint, and blue tint.

– Other thoughts

Image quality is more than satisfactory to me for a P&S or sub camera (but I’m not comparing with LX3 which some people claim produces better images). Looking at some shots I took, I actually feel a longer tele seems made possible at the expense of IQ at the widest.

I rarely, if ever, shoot videos so I can’t comment a lot on that. But one thing I found confusing was its file type (Note: I never shot videos before buying this camera). As the motion jpeg requires a lot file size, I shot videos in AVCHD and had a trouble finding a way to PLAY it (.mts) on my computer. What I eventually did is to first install Windows 7 Live Movie Maker (free) and then convert the mts file to a wmv file. (This paragraph was added in January 2011)

Many people complain about the lens cap but it doesn’t bother me much (it’s the same as SLR lenses). I actually prefer this way in terms of protection from dust. I owned GX100 with LC-1 attached which had a slight gap so it let some dusts in.

Overall, I think it’s a nice P&S camera, though with some issues. I still miss the great ergonomics and user interface of Ricoh GX100, but the image quality and high ISO performance easily beats the old generation camera. The LCD screen is the biggest problem to me so far.

My deciding factor compared to s95 (as many people choose between them; g12 and p7000 are too bulky compared to these two models) by the order of importance;

Wider zoom (24mm vs. 28mm, although I believe the latter is wide enough for most people)
Macro capability (1cm vs 5cm closest focus)
Shutter speeds (60 to 1/4000 sec vs 15 to 1/1600 sec)
Better holding and handling
Longer battery life

The first two items were particularly important to me as my old GX100 had those features. But BOTH LX5 and s95 are great cameras. You just need to understand what you need for a P&S. For example if your priority is the size, then no-brainer, pick the s95.

Posted by Lindeberg Feller on 2010-11-14 03:40:09

Tagged: , Nikon , D60 , AF-S , DX , Nikkor , 35mm , Panasonic , LUMIX , DMC , LX5 , Domke , F-3X , shoulder bag , camera , Gray , 700-30G