Environmental wacko? Or urban intellectual

Black River News reports on the Ameren/FERC meeting yesterday that discussed rebuilding the Taum Sauk reservoir. I thought the following interesting:

The public comment part of the meeting consisted of about a dozen local citizens. For the most part is was an Ameren love fest, with everyone imploring FERC of approve the dam rebuild because the Ameren taxes were so important to the Lesteville area. One person did make a lot of comments about the problems in the East Fork and problems with past decisions that were made by Ameren. Another speaker asked FERC to ignore the “environmental wackos and urban intellectuals” and only listen to the real local people. The meeting only lasted half the allowed time.

(emph. mine)

I’m not sure if I qualify as an environmental wacko, or an urban intellectual. Frankly, I find both labels to be flattering, so I would be happy to claim both.

Thing is, anything to do with a river is not just a local event. River quality can have major impact on an entire region, state, or even multiple states and countries. Water is the great connector, and Missouri is connected by lots and lots of water.

I thought it interesting that Ameren’s FERC meeting came about at the exact same time as the more publicly compelling meetings about utilities rates. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and most other media were full of the latter, and never a mention of the former. That’s short sighted, and not particularly thorough.

The only ones who seem to be discussing anything related to Taum Sauk and Ameren are Black River News and me, and I don’t think my comments are necessarily appreciated in Lesterville.

I think I’m going to hit the DNR up for a photo tour of the Shut-Ins. I wonder if the freedom of information act would cover such? Since nothing is coming out about the state of the clean-up from either Ameren or the DNR, and the media is too busy covering utility rates.


Sensor cleaning, part ouch

I wrote a post about camera sensor cleaning a few months back. It would seem that the concept of sensor cleaning is a little more complex than I originally thought. Maybe I was right to be paranoid.

Doug Pardee sent me an email with a warning about sensor cleaning, type of camera, and fluid used, and he gave me permission to re-produce:

Once upon a time, the front of the sensor assembly in every DSLR model was glass. You could just go in there and clean it with anything suitable for cleaning glass. The big concern was not making things worse by leaving spots and streaks.

In the past couple of years, however, some DSLR models have been designed with sensor assemblies that have exposed coatings on the front. Cameras that I know do this are the Canon EOS 5D and three cameras with dust-shakers on their sensors: the Sony Alpha DSLR-A100, the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi aka Kiss Digital X aka 400D, and the new Canon EOS 1D mark III.

This design change is basically a cost-saving measure, but the manufacturers seem to be spinning it as a “feature”. From what I can tell, the exposed coating in the cameras listed above is the dichroic “hot mirror” that keeps the sensor from being overly sensitive to infrared. The hot mirror coating is typically something like indium tin oxide, which is electrically conductive by nature. I believe that the manufacturers are spinning this exposed hot mirror coating as being an “anti-static” coating for dust control.

Ordinary Eclipse fluid has been known to attack hot mirror coatings. In the past, this only occurred when the sensor assembly was incorrectly assembled at the factory, accidentally resulting in exposed coatings. But now, sensors on some DSLR models are *designed* to have the hot mirror coating exposed.

Accidental removal of some of the hot mirror coating would cause the sensor to be overly sensitive to IR in those parts of the sensor where the coating was stripped away. In most photos that would not be noticeable. But some materials are particularly reflective of IR, notably clothing made of some synthetic fabrics. Some white paints also reflect a lot of IR. Photos of subjects with those materials can be subject to false color if the hot mirror is missing.

Photographic Solutions has developed a new cleaning fluid called Eclipse “E2” for sensors with exposed coatings. This was apparently done at the behest of Sony, who wanted a safe wet-cleaning fluid for the DSLR-A100. Sony has approved E2 for the A100.

Photographic Solutions recommends E2 for all four of the camera models mentioned above. But I was surprised to find four other camera models on that list: the Leica M8 and the Nikon D70, D70s, and D80.

Here’s the list.

I don’t know what coating(s), if any, are exposed on those four additional camera models. The Leica M8 sensor doesn’t even *have* a dichroic hot mirror coating – the photographer needs to use a separate hot mirror filter on the lens.

For an example of what the IR “false color” issue looks like, go to this article and scroll down about halfway. There are two photos there comparing a Canon 5D with a Leica M8. As I mentioned, the M8 doesn’t have a hot mirror coating on its sensor. Also note the other M8 photos that came out fine even without the hot mirror… er, well, now that you know what to look for, you might spot some less obvious false color in some of the other photos.

As I said, I don’t know what the situation is on the Nikon D70. But my recommendation would be to switch to E2 fluid. Photographic Solutions says that E2 is good on all sensors, with or without exposed coatings, so you could also use it on the D200. Or use your existing supply of Eclipse fluid on the D200.

Check ve-e-ry carefully about which sensor cleaning fluid you can safely use with your camera. Thanks muchly to Doug for heads up.



Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I realize that perhaps my choice of serving up XHTML instead of HTML through WordPress seems audacious, but if you want to point out potential problems, can you send me an email? Rather than put something in the comments to ‘demonstrate’ the problem? Believe it or not, I am open to suggestions and am not adverse to receiving advice or help. I also give credit to the person when I receive either.


I have to ask myself if I want to spend the hours, no make that days, necessary in order to serve this site as XHTML. One has to be detective as much as tech in order to hunt the problems and kill them one by one. Perhaps this is why the W3C decided to abandon hope on XHTML and focus on HTML5.

I do know that the average person doesn’t care, and frankly, I’m not sure if the average tech is exactly overjoyed, either.

I can either turn off XHTML, which is tempting. Or I can turn off comments. For now, all comments are moderated until I decide. And until I finish with the book today and can focus on the site.