#1072 Oops, I dropped a camera in the lake.

I dropped a camera in the lake – submerged…
Oops.

I trekked into Fortune Lake to continue my “Watershed Project” with two cameras:
a ‘small’ 4×5 Graflex large format camera
big hand-made 8×10 wood camera

With supporting gear, I hauled 50 pounds of equipment to a remote part of the lake. 

large format home made camera

8×10 hand-made sliding box camera

Sploosh!
I set up and shot a scene with the 8×10 camera after which I set the Graflex on a tripod and went for the film holders. With my back turned (just a minute) I heard sploosh! One tripod leg had slowly shrunk causing the camera to pitch into the water.

classic camera

Graflex 4×5 camera

Clean-up and Recovery
I fished the camera out of the water and immediately took the lens off and dismantled it – the nice thing about large format lenses is you can unscrew most elements of the lens without tools.

I cleaned & cleaned & dried & dried with a soft cotton, absorbing cloth for 10 or 15 minutes and then went to save the camera by draining water and drying it as best as possible.

Once home, I took out the affected gear, warmed the oven to 200F, turned the oven off and put the camera and lens parts inside for a couple of hours.

Large format lens

Nikkor 75 mm lens with 4×5 coverage – easy to disassemble!

Results
I am happy to report that all critical elements are functioning – I did damage the Graflok spring back but there’s an easy work-around until I can find a part… Anyone have spare parts for a Graflex?

Support
Ottawa’s Camera Trading Company did not have the part but did have the expertise to help me make the camera usable without the Graflok back – that’s the value of Tom and Mark (and sometimes Bob) in the store – they know a lot!

Ottawa photographer

David Barbour

As I was leaving the store I bumped into David Barbour, veteran working photographer. He smiled commenting about my camera-in-lake Facebook post. “Never turn your back on a tripod!”
Thanks David.

In 1997 I assisted Malak in the Yukon. At 82 years old he had seen it all. He told me “I’ve made every mistake in the book!” It’s comforting to know others have big ‘oops’es.

I am a big, big fan of simple, mechanical equipment.
… I love it!

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