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Thread: Canham Camera + Great Salt Lake + Wind = Salt Covered Camera

  1. #1
    Analog Photographer Kimberly Anderson's Avatar
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    Canham Camera + Great Salt Lake + Wind = Salt Covered Camera

    I go out and photograph on Utah's Great Salt Lake regularly, but last night was an exceptional outing.

    We had 50mph winds out on the lake and of course I wanted to be out in it photographing. EVERYTHING came back with thin film of dried salt on it. I spent an hour last night cleaning lenses and shutters and got everything back in order. I do have a question about the camera though.

    I am using Renaissance Wax on the wood parts and have used Ice Wax on the moving focusing parts. I have given the wood a couple of liberal coats of the Ren. Wax recently, but am now wondering what I ought to be doing to get the salt off. I can blow quite a bit of it off with compressed air, but that won't get it all. Also the bellows are quite salty too.

    I am going to call Keith and see what he has to say today before I do anything crazy.

    I'm looking for any suggestions and/or advice from those of you who work with your cameras near salt water and have had to deal with a similar situation.

    Yes, the photographs will be worth the trouble.

    Here's a digi-snap from yesterday...


  2. #2

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    Re: Canham Camera + Great Salt Lake + Wind = Salt Covered Camera

    Since the stuff got stuck on with moisture and wind, can you gently swab it off with a bit of moisture on a rag/sponge/etc?

    If the stuff was coated to begin with then the water wouldn't get past the coating, but so long as you didn't drag the salt and scratch it into the camera, a moist rag or something might be enough to dissolve the salt off?

  3. #3

    Re: Canham Camera + Great Salt Lake + Wind = Salt Covered Camera

    Hi Michael,

    Others in the coastal areas will have more experience in these conditions
    but I use my Walker 4x5 in dusty conditions as well as in salt spray.
    Also handy near waterfalls and other humid locales.
    The camera is all ABS, stainless steel and an impervious bellows
    and cleans up well after exposure to just about anything.

    Warren Clark

  4. #4
    Analog Photographer Kimberly Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Canham Camera + Great Salt Lake + Wind = Salt Covered Camera

    I called Keith Canham, the builder of the camera, he said that the bellows actually are OK to go through the clothes washer (but he didn't suggest doing that for obvious reasons...), but that mild dishsoap and a rag is fine for the bellows. Camera should be fine with a cleaning of English Lemon Oil and then a dry lubricant on the focusing rails.

    Straight from the horses mouth...

    He said he calls these FIELD cameras for a reason...they are meant to be used in the FIELD. I'm glad to hear that it's pretty much waterproof.

  5. #5
    Analog Photographer Kimberly Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Canham Camera + Great Salt Lake + Wind = Salt Covered Camera

    So I gave the bellows a thorough rinse with cold water in the shower both inside and out. No soap used and now that it's dry I can't see any salt residue.

    I used the Old English Lemon Oil on the wood parts after wiping down the aluminum parts with paper towels and water. The Lemon Oil soaked in very well and doesn't leave an oily residue. That is the main reason that Keith recommends it.

    He also recommends removing the ground glass. He said that any of the oil will be impossible to remove from the etched side of the glass. He was very adamant about that, so I complied.

    By the time I had taken care of the body of the camera and had reassembled it all the bellows were dry...but I want them to be bone dry before I reassemble, so I'll wait a while to make sure.

    Anyway, in the end it really wasn't as painful or nearly as difficult to do as I thought it might be.

    Kudos to Keith Canham for making a fabulous and legitimate tool for the outdoor photographer!

  6. #6
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    Re: Canham Camera + Great Salt Lake + Wind = Salt Covered Camera

    The thing that adds the most value to K.B. Canham cameras is that I can make a phone call and actually talk to the person who designed and built the camera.

    Keith has answered my questions about his cameras, both on the phone and in person. He's never too busy to give full personal attention. For that reason, I have been a loyal supporter of Canham cameras for many years and will continue to do so.

  7. #7
    Analog Photographer Kimberly Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Canham Camera + Great Salt Lake + Wind = Salt Covered Camera

    Here is a photo of me using the camera in the wind the day it got all salty.


  8. #8

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    Re: Canham Camera + Great Salt Lake + Wind = Salt Covered Camera

    Next time try enclosing the camera in a large clear plastic bag. Pull tight across the lens while focusing and taking the image. No, or very little slat spray, and the bag over the lens will not influence the image. This is my method along the Pacific.
    Jim

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