When a flash fails to fire

Posted on July 5, 2010



I know I haven’t given my camera–perhaps the single non-living thing that I value most–the attention it deserves, and I have no one else to blame.

Save for my less-than-feminine way of taking care of stuff, as my boyfriend never fails to remind me, I believe I had taken ‘care’ of my D90 better than other things I owned.

This included damaged bags which, just in the last six months I’ve been living in Manila, reached four. And the countless other earphones, an MP3 player, a portable speaker, and God-knows-what-else that had the misfortune of being my personal punching bags.

Besides, the sheer monetary value of my Nikon D90 had urged me carry it in a bag always, although I am guilty of just putting it inside sometimes, nary without anything else to protect it from the jungle of pens and other metallic objects inside.

When I was in Manila, my hobby had to take a backseat. My camera either had to be left at home in the province when I got too lazy to transport it to the city, or was just sitting on its camera bag, gathering dust in my temporary attic room.

But just as I had escaped Manila’s busyness, when I was trying to segregate what is and what is not in the litter that was my personal stuff, my built-in flash didn’t fire.

I was attempting to make a poetry out of the mess, like I always do, by taking a picture of my scattered stuff. Because it was dark and I didn’t have an expensive external flash, I attempted to use my pop-up, and, using a 50 mm f/1.8, I had been expecting a rather speedy exposure, with the flash turned to manual speed, 1/40.


I thought it was the lens, but it couldn’t be since it’s the cheapest wide-open glass there is, next only to a pricey 1.2.

I tried auto, which under those circumstances would have made the pop-up flash work without so much as a tweak, and yet the thing still didn’t budge.

At first I thought I couldn’t care less, since I don’t use the flash anyway because it never gives satisfactory results, except when sunlight is too strong and a fill would’ve spelled wonders to a squinting face and a blue sky.

But holy shit, my flash is dead.

I don’t know if I could still consider it a consolation that it was a pop-up rather than an external that got damaged–not that I have the latter anyway.

The timing just felt ironic at the least. But if I come to think of it again, I discovered it only then because that was the only time I had to fiddle with my stuff without rush. For all I know, and I’m pretty sure of it, it has been damaged way before that.

My boyfriend, who laughed when I relayed my flash’s fate–which by the way devalued my camera body by I don’t know how much–told me it was actually good riddance, because that would mean I would have to buy an external unit after all these years.

Of course I won’t, not yet, because I am still unwilling and unable to shell out roughly P20,000 for one. Being content with just the basics–having been using an 18-55 mm after two years of taking pictures–I never really felt the urge to stock up on camera stuff because of their prohibitive tags.

For one thing, I am never the type to spend P5,650 on a sling camera bag–exactly what my boyfriend did for a Crumpler, albeit it has been good as new after over a year of, er, manhandling.

Perhaps someday I will ‘pay’ for my unwillingness to pay extra to take care of my stuff, and this flash, I know, is just the beginning of a series of handicaps my D90 might have to put up with if its owner still refused to handle it like a nice little lady would.

(On second thought, ‘nice little lady’ makes me sick).

Photo grabbed from here.

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