Digital Diver

Cambodia (Sep 2010)

Some of my other passions is travelling to other countries, photographing the different cultures, and one of my favorite ways to do this is riding motorbike through the country I am visiting, on this particular adventure we were riding in Cambodia, following the Mekong river north, upto the Laos border, you need to appreciate where we were was in the most northern back blocks of the country, we saw no other foreigners at all.  Our guide had decided to take us through some very muddy jungle areas, right on the Laos border, the track was one car width wide, with deep wheel tracks carved into the road by four wheel drive trucks, and full of muddy water.

One of our guys had decided that he could not ride through this part of the trip, so we needed one of us to ride his bike forward, then go back and get him as a double on the bike, this as it turned out was my job, off I went to retrieve our mate, you couldn’t ride on the edges of the road, or make a new track as we were in amongst the landmine areas of Cambodia, we saw many areas that were cleared of mines as they would be marked with signs, however none in the area where we were, so anyway on the way back whilst doubling him, I had no other option but to use the centre of the road which of course had been cut up by four wheel drives etc, as an avid addicted photographer I would carry a video camera in my lower right leg pocket of the cargo jeans, and a Nikon D300s around my neck whilst riding, thats right exposed to the elements.

Anyway as I was coming back doubling my mate, riding in these tracks the sides of the track hit the gear shift lever on the bike and put it into neutral, thus no motion and we quickly stopped, with my mate hanging on down we went, into the muddy waters of Cambodia, I was unable to get the bike off me for about ten seconds, it seemed longer than that though, and of course we fell to the right, so I submersed my Sony HD Video camera, for all of that time, and also the Nikon went for a bath as well, DIGITAL DIVING !!.

So here I am laying in the mud & water with a bike and a mate tangled up with me, drowning two cameras, I was unable to get the Sony out of my pocket, but was able to hold the Nikon up out of the water shortly after it had been submerced, after we able to get up, I was busily tring to dry the cameras out, the Sony was dead, end of story for it, but to my amazement the Nikon despite all of the mud and water on it came to life. I spent the following night with my toothbrush cleaning both cameras up, scrubbing them clean to get rid of the mud, the lens on the Nikon a 18-200mm VRII whilst work OK, had some problems focusing at certain focal lengths, it would hunt and be a bit slow, but the camera is fine, still works perferectly beleive it or not, and I continue to use it on trip even now!

The Sony on the other hand, I refused to let it die, so my plan was that I would dried it out in the sun when ever I could, and put it on the battery charger all night, this would heat it up internally, and hopefully dry it out on the inside, well after the third day I got a result, it started, I could not beleive it, how good was this, it would even record, I had to open the front shutter cover myself, as it was still full of dirt that I could not get rid of, but the camera did would, incredable! I might point out that as soon as the air tempreture cooled down a bit it would fail again, so it became unreiable, time to replace it.

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