Hot August Night - Er, Make That July Instead
Just when you think you’ve got technology all figured out, an unexpected situation comes along and forces you to scratch your head as you seek an answer.
This shot was taken on (as the post title says) a hot July night. We had just arrived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and even though it was close to 10.30pm, I decided to venture out of our hotel, the Shangri-La, to see if there were any late-night sights that I could photograph.
I had walked less than a quarter of a mile when I noticed the KL Tower to my left. I had my 300mm lens with me but because I wanted to capture the quality of the floodlights playing across the outer surface of the tower, I decided to use my 18-125mm lens instead.
Nine time out of ten, I don’t check the LCD screen after taking a shot. I guess that’s just a hangover from having learnt how to use a camera in pre-digital days, when I used spool film. But that night something made me look at the screen and I was instantly puzzled by the fuzzy image.
Above me was a beautiful tower in a sky only partially obscured by light cloud, while the moon hovered close to the spire. All very ethereal, right? But the image on my screen was hazy and not a true reflection of the colours and tones. I checked the settings. They were fine. I took another shot. No good.
So I stood there for a few seconds, wondering why my trusty camera, having travelled halfway round the world for two years, was playing up. Then my high-school science came flooding back to me and I grinned broadly as I quickly identified the problem.
The camera had been in the cold interior of our air-conditioned hotel room. I had walked a short distance very briskly before taking the lens cap off to take the shot of the tower. The hot, humid air had fogged up the lens, which was still a lot cooler than the surrounding air.
As soon as I had attended to the lens, the problem was solved. But this incident just proves why a photographer always needs a clear mind as well as a clear lens.
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