A better picture for the holidays


Skunk 20081231 061106 SW Roadtrip, originally uploaded by Skunkabilly.

Two minutes after I published my previous post I found this online - a much better holiday picture: the result of leaving the camera (Nikon D90) out all night for star trails. After it was completely frozen, the camera recovered on top of a Subaru engine - click here for the recovery shot.


Flickr via Gizmodo

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  • Roger

    Been there, know what its like. Best to put it inside a plastic bag, seal it and then bring it inside to let it thaw.
    Otherwise, keep shooting, it should still work well, maybe slowly. Just be careful witht the film!
    What, wrong era!

    • Soap

      Once there is condensation (frost in this case) on it – bagging it is a bad idea. If you bring it up to indoor temps with frost on it you’re inviting a situation where you have liquid water on (or IN!) the camera. I know you’re trying to avoid moist indoor air condensing on the cold camera when you bring it in – and a bag will prevent that – but you already have condensation, trapping that in a bag is just as bad.

      I would defrost it outdoors (or any other dry environment) with a heat source sufficient to sublimate the frost (hair dryer on low, space heater). If that is unavailable I would bag it in rice and then bring it up to temp.

  • Anonymous

    It’s totaly normal, that’s the nano crystals layers.

    • http://www.iamron.com Ron Adair



    • Soap

      Post of the week!

  • http://wasatchreflections.com WR

    Wow! looks like a great add idea for how tough Nikon cameras are. In saying this I would not want this to happen to my camera. Thanks for sharing.

    I hope every Nikon loyalist (even those who shoot with Cannon) has a Merry Christmas!

  • http://www.radiantlite.com Enche Tjin

    This is nothing like Canon Rebel dropped from 3000 ft high and survive. But not bad! 😀 at least there is an answer before the year ended.

    • Ronan

      Or Canon lenses falling off their bodies. OH SNAP! Yes i went there. 😀

  • longtimenikonshooter

    D90 is not weather-sealed and it is amazing it can put with this kind of abuse.

  • Anonymous

    sure it is weather sealed but I wouldn’t want to buy that camera if it was for sale used…

    • Its Not…

      …weather sealed. Its a D90 – it has no weather sealing. Weather sealing begins on the next rung up the ladder with the D300/s and increases as you climb the pro scale to the mighty D3 based bodies which make very useful anchors for small yachts and ballast for airships as well as great bookends once their photographic life is over.

      Its a little known fact that if you take all the Nikon D3 bodies in the world ever made, they weigh more than all the humans on earth who have ever died. I was blown away by that stat!

      • Anonymous


      • “k”

        eh? no? 😛

  • low

    totally beats out that canon xsi that fell out of the sky!!!!!!!! okay maybe not.

  • Jay

    have fun with fungus in your lens lol

  • kevin y

    yea i’ve seen this story before it totally makes me feel better that my d90 can still handle a bit of water though it doesnt work as well as before the fact that it turns on and still shoots pictures is just amazing

  • JBL

    I wonder why the guy blacked out his camera, it’s only a D90.

    • Ronan

      Makes him feel more important.

  • http://matthewsaville.xanga.com Matthew Saville

    Everything I know about wireless flash and camera abuse, I learned from Skunkabilly. Love ya, bro!

    I love shooting at night in freezing weather, it makes for such clean images! Dang hot summer nights are no good, sensor noise is through the roof past ~30 mins exposure…

  • http://www.bogdansandulescu.ro fotograf nunta Iasi

    I don’t want to do that with my camera. Maybe with a Canon 😀

  • Film or Digital?

    I think this shows why Ken Rockwell is right and we should be using film and not digital cameras. I think we are going to see a gradual fall-off from digital back to film because of this and similar incidents. Ken’s right. He brought us simplicity for Christmas and he is totally right about it.

  • Film or Digital?

    I think this shows why Ken Rockwell is right and we should be using film and not digital cameras. I think we are going to see a gradual fall-off from digital back to film because of this and similar incidents. Ken’s right. He brought us simplicity for Christmas and he is totally right about it. How many shots have we all lost because we use digital and not film? More ‘shots’ with digital and yet less shots. After that you end up with problems like this – a frozen camera. There will be damage done to it – irreparable damage that may take days weeks or even months to show but that will rear its gruesome head when you most need the camera. Tragic. Film is the way to go folks – no question in my mind. I noticed that Ken Rockwell and a few other influential photographic ‘intelligentsia’ now agree with me.

    • Soap

      Obvious troll is obvious.

      • f/2.8

        Most trolls rile people up with some controversial opinions.

        Less creative trolls use name dropping.

        But name dropping “Ken Rockwell”?

        • anonycow

          It’s a “sup dawg” meme – the troll got trolled by KR without realizing 😉

  • Darth Duster

    Nikon and Subaru makes for a nice pair. I knew I picked my brands right.

    • Ronan

      I prefer Nikon and Porsche.

      I win :)

  • Ed

    I was thinking quite a long time about how to “defrost” this camera. Some people say use bags etc etc. Has anyone ever used those silicon gel balls that come with certain dried foods/special equipment? I remember my uncle covering his entire camera box with these packages (because he lives in Vancouver). Perhaps letting the camera defrost on a sunny day but covering it with silicon packets?

  • just me

    To dry it out safely…

    Try out silica gell dehumidifiers from Lee Valley Tools (easily found via Google). I would try bagging the camera before the shoot with a container of silica inside of it for a bit (an hour or so) before putting the camera outside. That would remove the humidity from inside the camera body and the bag before cooling it. I’m not sure how much dust the silica gel might created. Might be wise to wrap the container in a cloth first. It is also reusable!

  • george

    I wonder if some kind on low temp hand warmer inside a plastic bag covering would be helpful. It might give just enough heat to prevent condensation for a couple of hours.

  • http://eclipsology.blogspot.com Robin Edgar

    Of course it didn`t occur to the guy (or gal) to just use a beat up old Nikkormat and a single frame on a roll of film for their star trail shot. . .

    I wouldn`t to that to *my* D90.

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