Camera Basics

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 18, 1999

TOMMY WILLIAMS / L’Observateur / October 18, 1999

At some point in your life, someone will or already has exposed you to the a popular phase written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (an English novelist, 1803-73), stating that “The pen is mightier than the sword.” There must have been a typoerror present, I believe that he meant to write that “The pencil is mightier than the sword.” I guess by this time you know that I will explain my sharper idea.The common pencil can serve as an excellent tool to help repair and clean some minor camera ailments, such as dirty battery contacts and lenses.

I can remember a recent episode while shooting a high school football game last weekend, my camera shutter would not fire. My first thought was the batterieswere bad or that I had bad battery contacts. Luckily for me, I always keep anextra set of batteries, but that didn’t seem to solve the problem. Although thebattery contacts appeared to be clean, the camera was still not functioning properly. Making a mad dash to the concession stand, I asked someone behind thecounter if they happen to have a pencil. My answer came as a vision of someoneappearing from a white, misty cloud while walking on water toward the counter.

Well, they actually appeared from behind a smoke cloud produced by the hamburger fryer and walked across a puddle of water from a nearby ice chest, but who cares. I simply made a gentle pass of the eraser of the pencil on thebattery contacts and I was back to the sidelines shooting pictures.

The pencil eraser can also help clean lenses and view-finders. If your printsappear to have a dull appearance or if you notice that it looks a little foggy in the view-finder while taking pictures, it more then likely a dirty lens or view- finder. First, find a pencil with a new, unused eraser and cover it with a foldedpiece of lens tissue. Then, place a drop of lens cleaner fluid on the paper and rubgently over the lens or viewfinder surface. Make sure the eraser head iscompletely covered by tissue when cleaning lens. The pencil eraser is a perfecttool because of it flat surface on top and rounded edges on the sides, which allows you to work the lens tissue to all the edges of the lens surface.

Remember to be very gentle with lenses, you’re cleaning it with the lens tissue, not the actual eraser.

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