Over the last few days there have been intermittent power outages around town. The weather has been pretty calm but wet, so we were in a quandary as to the reason(s) why. The official explanation from the power company was salt on the lines, which when combined with rain, drizzle, or fog created a conductive fluid. This fluid would supposedly short out lines and/or transformers in an unpredictable and irregular pattern around town.
Given the massive wind storm last weekend to deposit said salt, and the rainy and drizzly weather this week, then maybe it is possible. However, in my experience most such events would usually be associated with both wind and rain.
What does this have to do with cameras? Hair hangeth a tail.
Yesterday around 6 p.m. I was in my office trying to finish coding a storm surge model for St. John’s Harbour. I have an interior office in a 1970’s concrete monolith named the Life Sciences Building. The name may be due to the fact that this structure is so damp, dark, and dismal that it is a scientific miracle that higher forms of life ever get any work done. The mold is doing fine.
Just before I saved the file the power went out. Suddenly I couldn’t see anything, including the chair I was sitting in. Normally I have a little Swiss Army Card with a red LED light, but of course I left it home yesterday (it is in my pocket today, and no power outages yet…). It was also pitch dark outside. So do I have something for light, or can I feel my way past numerous students to the egress? some of the other students were using their cell phones, which actually worked surprisingly well.
Then I remembered my camera.
- When I turned it on, the LCD screen made a good close-up light.
- Pressing the shutter part-way down gave a reasonable orange light from the range-finder, which lasted a few seconds, and allowed you to see 10-15 feet. There was the added advantage that you could maintain a bit of night vision.
- If you switched it over to the 10-second self-portrait option, you’d get a blinking orange light for (you guessed it) 10 seconds.
Then of course there was the big gun. The flash would light up everything, you could blind your friends, and this helped you avoid retribution. Of course your batteries would die faster.
Of course, just after figuring all this out, the power came back on, the main-frame computers were down until the CSs came back this morning, and most of my group was heading to the pub.
And the strangest thing in retrospect was that I took no pictures with the lens cap off, after coming up with all these ways to say “Let there be Light”. Another day in the city who’s electrical system still hasn’t totally recovered from Hurricane Juan.