The (Stevie) Wonder Cam
There’s a cruel joke about Stevie Wonder’s holiday (vacation) pictures. I forget the details, but it hinges on the fact that Stevie Wonder is blind, so doesn’t know where to point the camera, and his pictures turn out badly.
In late 2014, I took a two month ‘trip of a lifetime’ to Raja Ampat and the Banda Islands in Eastern Indonesia – reportedly some of the best snorkelling spots in the world. As my old underwater camera was on its last legs, I bought a new one to take along as backup. It was a shiny blue Canon Powershot D30.
Sure enough, the old one died after its first hour in the water, so I swapped over to my new Canon. To make a long story short, on the camera’s third time in the water, the LCD display stopped working. The camera hadn’t leaked – it still took pictures, but I suddenly found myself in the same position as Stevie Wonder. Without a display, I had no idea of what I was taking pictures of – all I could do was point the thing in the general direction and hope for the best.
To make things worse, when it broke it was set on “focus on the centre of the screen”, so if I did chance to get a fish somewhere in frame, it would be all blurry, because the camera was trying to focus 30 metres away – out in the blue somewhere.
My attempts to fabricate a physical frame that would project a pyramid out-front to predict where the edges of the picture would be proved to be fruitless. This is difficult to do in bamboo (and probably explains the lack of a Papuan space-program). So all I was left with was “point and hope”.
The point of this little story is that the pictures on this site from Raja Ampat, the Lease Islands and the Banda Islands are a bit rubbish.
The other point of this story is don’t buy Canon cameras! *
*edit: Update: At the end of the trip I took it for repair in KL, Malaysia (the town where I bought it). I was told that they can’t service underwater cameras anywhere in Malaysia and that I would have to pay one-quarter of cost of the camera to send it to Singapore. After much stomping of feet, they agreed to ship it there for free. In the end, they gave me a new one. I suspect it never went to Singapore. The replacement has been fine for a few years, now.