Wednesday, November 14, 2012

dim bulbs, disposable cameras

I spent too much time on the computer and the phone yesterday with Walmart.  

Last April I had purchased a new set of "submersible" LED trailer lights, probably the fourth set of lights I have bought in the last six or seven years.  At the checkout counter the clerk asked if I wanted the one-year full replacement warranty for $3.00.  For lights that in my experience tend to fail, this seemed like a great idea.

There are ten LED bulbs in each tail light and by midsummer individual bulbs began to fail - as I knew they would.  By fall I was down to two bulbs on the driver's side, a single bulb on the passenger side.  And that is why I was communicating with Walmart yesterday.

By tomorrow I should have a gift card from Walmart to cover the full cost of the trailer lights.  This time I will get smaller, oval shaped LED lights (at a lower price) which I will mount vertically at the top of the pvc guide posts on the trailer, up high where they won't be submerged, up high where drivers behind me can easily see them.  Hopefully they will last a couple of years.  If offered, I will buy the warranty again.

I've decided to keep the new camera, which I used last Friday and took the photograph above as we were about to sail wing and wing under the bridge of the Elizabeth River.  I will keep it, but at the same time I will consider it a disposable camera.

I like a few things about the camera - the optical zoom that will give it an almost 500 mm equivalent lens, the ability to set the camera at full manual for slow shutter speeds and, most importantly, the use of AA batteries as a power supply.  It is the use of AA batteries, eliminating the need to plug in and recharge batteries, that makes this camera practical for a two week trip next fall where I hope to spend little time in ports.  But I realize that the camera is not built as a waterproof or even rugged camera.  It probably will not last the entire trip.  But I will be careful with it and shoot photographs until it falls apart.  I will also have my waterproof Pentax Optio along with six rechargeable batteries as a backup camera.

I keep hoping that someone will design, build and sell a reliable solar panel that would be practical for Spartina.  But then again sometimes I miss the days of the old Nikon F, which required no battery at all, and a roll of film.



S R Wood said...

Steve -- I've looked at the those "submersible" LEDs with skepticism and now I know why. I think you have the right idea and I plan to do the same thing: put trailer lights on posts that keep them above the water. This should make them more visible on the highway anyway...

Anonymous said...

I second that about the Nikon F! I still prefer f stops and shutter speeds! I don't really need a computer to take nice pictures. All that MENU crap .. it's unnecessary for "real" photographers!