Hello Again Hot Pixels

Hot pixels are not cute and colourful pastries for satiating sugar cravings. They may be tiny but they can be annoying as hell when they appear. Hot pixels are bright dots of either red, green or blue that shows up in the same spot in digital images caused by faulty sensors in the camera. I discovered the first hot pixels in my digital images back in 2004 when I was using the Nikon Coolpix 3100.

Hot pixels in digital images
Two hot pixels in this digital image.

Yesterday, I found that these pesky hot pixels in the images that I took with the Canon Powershot A610 as well. There were two and they were right smack in the centre of all the images. When I checked my digital photo album, they apparently have been around since September 2006 and are only visible in darker images.

This camera has been with me for nearly five years already. I have shot well over 20,000 images with it from Malaysia to Japan to Thailand and to South Korea. It has been with me to places that I never imagined I could visit. This is one trusty camera that I have grown fond of. I almost never leave home without it.

It has crashed onto the floor with a sickening thud, not once but multiple times, and still worked like a charm through the years that it has been with me. I do not think I am going to retire this camera any time soon. I can still live with two odd dots out of the five million pixels.

Best Way To Store Digital Photographs

Wing of Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737
One of the surviving digital photographs taken with the Nikon Coolpix 3100.

My first digital camera was the Nikon Coolpix 3100. I must have taken some 8,000 shots with this tiny camera until I upgraded to the Canon Powershot A610 some time in end-2005. Most of the images taken with the Coolpix 3100 were kept in the hard drive of my desktop computer in Penang. Unfortunately, the drive failed when I wanted to back up the images to CD-R. All I have left are the images stored in Wuan’s computer the times I visited her here in Kuala Lumpur before I moved down.

Theoretically, digital images last forever. However, their longevity are dependent on the media that they are stored in. Most of my hard drives last an average of three years. CD-Rs last a little longer if they are properly stored. I tend to leave them lying around unprotected. They usually accumulate dust and scratches over the years. I lost some images that way too. Those lost images leave a gaping hole in the chronicles of my photography journey. I am determined not to lose any from now on.

I have learnt my lessons. Between Wuan and I, we have 40,000 digital photographs. For us, backing up images has become a continuous process now. The images from the cameras are downloaded to my 160GB external drive or Wuan’s 40GB external drive. From there, the images are then transferred to DVDs. They are stored in two separate copies and those copies stored in different locations. That is what we are doing for our existing digital photographs. I am also looking at a 1TB external drive for primary back up as the current 160GB external drive is fast filling up. At the same time, I am looking around for better quality DVDs for this purpose too. Please do share with me how you store your digital photographs.

My Nikon D60 And I

Posing with my Nikon D60

With the acquisition of the Nikon D60 DSLR exactly two months ago, I have come one full circle in my photographic journey. Back in the early 1980s, I started with Dad’s fixed-lense Yashica. The camera had basic functions but it fulfilled its purpose. I saved enough in 1995 to get the Canon EOS 500 SLR. This camera had more functions but its dial was mostly set to Auto mode. With it, I took some very memorable images of Mum, Wuan and I.

I got the 80-200mm lens to supplement the 35-80mm kit lens. Unfortunately, I did not store the camera body and lenses properly. Both lenses had fungus growing inside the lens elements that cost a bomb to clean. I have never heard of a dry cabinet then. Moreover, the oily shutter which is common with EOS cameras hastened my decision to switch to a digital camera.

My first digital camera was the Nikon Coolpix 3100. It was one of the more popular models in 2003 and also one that was within my budget. I traded in the EOS 500 for RM400 and topped up another RM700 for the Coolpix 3100. The downside of the Coolpix 3100 was that it used two AA-sized batteries which provided sufficient power for 50 or so shots only on two 1800mAh NiMH rechargeable batteries. Despite its limitations, it too captured some memorable images, many of which I used for this blog.

Before I went to Japan in early-2006, I thought it would be a good idea to get a camera that guzzled less power to make sure that I do not miss any interesting shots. The Canon Powershot A610 was one of the newer models then. It is a robust camera although it hanged several times at sub-zero temperature. Other than that, I had no problems with it whatsoever. It also went to Thailand and Korea with me.

While in Korea, in a moment of carelessness, it dropped from my lap onto the road in a back alley in Itaewon – a popular shopping district in Seoul. I though that was the end of the camera as it hit the road with such a loud thud. The lens casing was dented but it worked fine otherwise. I went on to take all the memorable shots of my time in Korea with it.

William and Cynthia got themselves the Nikon D60 to photograph Emily two months ago. When I saw the clarity of the images they took, there was not a doubt in my mind that I wanted one too. In the two months that Wuan and I had the camera, we have not had the opportunity to put the camera through its paces yet. We have been busy with one thing or another. The few times that we used it, we were more than pleased with the results.