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Thread: It happened to me! What Disasters or Near-misses have you had while Shooting?

  1. #1
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    It happened to me! What Disasters or Near-misses have you had while Shooting?

    I'll go first.

    In the early 2Ks the Houston Came3rqa Show was still a viable but shrinking venue for photo gear . . .and a great three day experience. On separate occasions I picked up, first a sweet Zone VI. A jewel compared to my all grey B&J clujnker. At another show I picked up a lightweight carbon tripod with a magnesium ball head.

    This was a nice kit; convenient and light weight and all of it worked well together. A few years later we went to Galveston for a day of long walks on the beach, picking up shellsd and so on. Set up the Zone VI for an interesting composition of ripples, shell and a bit of weed .b . .something like that. Angled the camera steeply down for an overhead view with my head deeply into the focusing hood, settled on just the right framing and tightened down on the bullhead to freeze everything.

    There was a snap or pop and I scrambled to hold on to the camera and a big 90mm Nikkor while everything else fell away from my grasping other hand!

    Got it all stabilized; camera and lens stowed in the bag, and evaluated the event. Tripod seemed OK, but the ball head had come apart in four large pieces and a few bits. Turns out the single shaft that holds the two clamshell halves around the base and ball had broken deep inside the assembly. Had I not been actually cradling the camera bed in my left hand when it failed, the whole thing would have planted the lens right into the sand and shells.
    Drew Bedo
    www.quietlightphoto.com
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

  2. #2

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    Re: It happened to me! What Disasters or Near-misses have you had while Shooting?

    About 10 years ago, I was in the Great Smoky Mountains national park. I had spotted a couple of black bears sleeping in a tree and stopped to get a few shots. (At a respectful distance of course)
    I was using a gripped Nikon D300 with a Nikon 500mm f/4 lens all supported on a older aluminum Gitzo wtih Kirk gimbal head.

    When I set up, I have made it a custom to triple check that I have everything mounted correctly and then give the camera alone a bit of a shake. Nothing aggressive, but just a nudge to make sure its stable and alright to let go of for a moment.

    Before that day, I had never had an issue, this day however, after checking that all the connections looked good, i gave the camera the shake. Instead of being alright, the camera and lens just fell right into my hands. no loud snap, no bang, just dropped right over. I was stunned.

    Apparently, the brass screw holding the gimbal to the tripod was severely worn and was at its limit and had chosen that moment to fail. To this day I shutter (pun intended) to think what would have happened had I not done the little gear shake before letting go.

  3. #3

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    Re: It happened to me! What Disasters or Near-misses have you had while Shooting?

    In the 1970s, I was shooting a concert from the balcony. I had my Pentax SP500 on a tripod and attached a cable release. I turned around and the cable release caught on my jacket. I managed to rip the shutter release and its collar right off the top plate. I replaced the Pentax with an Olympus OM-1. I still use it, so I guess things worked out well in the end, although it sure felt like a disaster at the time.

  4. #4
    Joe O'Hara's Avatar
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    Re: It happened to me! What Disasters or Near-misses have you had while Shooting?

    I've never had an especially close call with my equipment, but there are a couple of pictures of mine that give me a bit of vertigo when I recall where I stood to make them. A slip, or a loose rock, could have led to a non-survivable fall.

    I don't push things that hard any more.
    Where are we going?
    And why are we in this handbasket?


    www.josephoharaphotography.com

  5. #5
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: It happened to me! What Disasters or Near-misses have you had while Shooting?

    I have been photographing in the wilds for 40 years plus. I probably have forgotten more near-misses than the ones I can remember.

    The 8x10 on the tripod started to fall into Cascade Creek at the western end of Yosemite Valley. To catch it, I had to drop the Pentax Digital Spot in the creek, but I was able to quickly snatch the meter out of the water before it floated away. Took the battery out and since I had stopped here on my way out of the Valley, I figured it was a sign that it was time to continue home. Forgot about the meter for a week, put the batteries back in and it works 100%.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  6. #6
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: It happened to me! What Disasters or Near-misses have you had while Shooting?

    Have been stalked by the wild human while shooting a new D750 downtown Chicago

    They even followed me on the EL to my stop, then the 3 blocks to my home

    I got away
    where is the monolith

  7. #7

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    Re: It happened to me! What Disasters or Near-misses have you had while Shooting?

    There was the time I had my 4x5 Norma and new 110mm Super Symmar XL set up on a walking path in a large park, when a guy on a bicycle came around the bend going much too fast and plowed into the camera. It of course was knocked over and directly landed on the lens, which did not survive. My insurance paid for a replacement. I guess maybe this incident does not quite count as a disaster because a few months later, on a whim I put the damaged lens on ebay with a complete and accurate description, including the loose and rattling very scratched glass. It sold for a few hundred dollars and I wound up making a nice profit on the whole affair.
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  8. #8
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: It happened to me! What Disasters or Near-misses have you had while Shooting?

    The shutter was probably worth the cost to someone.

    I tend not to get stalked by wild humans...although at 66 I might not be as an opposing figure as I once was (6'4", 220 lbs of what use to be all muscle...and yes, probably between the ears, too). Now 6'3", 250 pounds and where did that muscle go?! Lol!

    I remember crossing a very small creek in NZ while photographing out with the 4x5 -- my foot dropped into a cylinderical hole just big enough for my size 12, and about 2 feet deep. I could have easily snapped a leg bone or two. The number of falls I have taken with a 45 pound pack of 8x10 while holding the Ries has convinced me to stay away from carbon fiber until I am too old to take those falls anymore.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  9. #9

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    Re: It happened to me! What Disasters or Near-misses have you had while Shooting?

    In the 1970s: Was a student at RIT and with another student was in the city of Rochester shooting street scenes in the evening before dark. Police car pulled up to us and the Policeman asked us what we were doing. I told him that we were students at RIT and just doing street photography. He said OK, now please give me rolls of film that each of you had in your cameras, then jestured by putting his hand on the shotgun that was next to him. Told him OK, took the film out of our cameras, and gave the rolls to him. He said thank you and we should leave the area now... which we did.

    In the 1980s: I had just climbed up a class 4 trail on a rocky outcrop. Went to change my lens and took the 135mm lens off my camera and set it down. While I was mounting the other lens on my camera, watched my 135mm lens first slowly roll, then bounce off the rock and fall down the rocky face.

    In the 1990s: Was in the middle of a stream in Massachusetts. Had mounted my Rollei SL-66 on the tripod using the Rollei quick release. Turned around to get a roll of film out of my shoulder camera equipment case. Heard a splash and the Rollei was in the water. Called up Bob and sent the wet equipment to him or possibly a co-worker. To pay for the repair I had to sell the Rollei.

    Around 2010: Was photographing with my 11x14 in Collinsville, Conn. Was only slightly windy when a quick gust of wind arose and the camera morphed into a kite/sailboat. Fortunately caught the camera before it hit the ground.

    Over the years have always photographed streams from bridges over them. Have watched a handful of small items from lenshoods to filters to small notebooks fall into the stream below... never learned. Add to the above watch a 50mm Hass lens roll off a countertop, lens board and lens on an 8x10 B&J Commercial View camera fall into my hands, and one time after returning home from rock climbing in a local area discovered that I did not have my Nikon with me. Hiked in later that evening with a friend and flashlights in hand but didn't find the camera. That night it poured. Early the next morning hiked back in to the start of the climb and right off found the camera. It was inside a velcro closed CameraCare dark blue case and perfectly dry.

  10. #10

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    Re: It happened to me! What Disasters or Near-misses have you had while Shooting?

    Here's a recent "disaster" for me. (It's a bit long winded.)

    I've been "perfecting" my development process for 8x10 lately. For example, I had purchased a one inch wide, plastic tank for my developer a couple of years ago to reduce the quantity chemistry used. In the meantime, I've been wanting to get a photo of the oldest house (Greek revival) in our community built in the 1850's by the our first pioneer. It's on private property, so I needed to get permission, etc.

    I dip and dunk, and I'm aware of surge marks caused by traditional stainless steel hangers. So, I used a Calumet plastic hanger purchased at a swap meet in the 90's. After processing, there were no surge marks on the film. But, there are two guides at the top to keep the film flat. Apparently, excess developer collected on these guides and ran down the negative as it was periodically lifted out of the tank. Sure enough, there were two vertical lines on the negative that corresponded to these guides.

    After getting the needed permissions, etc., I took a second photo of our A.T. Smith house. I had fixed the problem with the guides by replacing then with a fishing line apparatus to keep the film flat at the top of the hanger. I expectantly processed the negative.

    Good news, my updated negative carrier worked just great, and there were no revealing, vertical lines on the negative. HOWEVER, my development tank, which had worked fine on other occasions, leaked over an inch of chemistry. The top one inch of my negative was absolutely clear.

    Post more permissions, I recently took a third photo of this historic house. I sure hope that it comes out.

    SECOND DISASTER:

    A little less pedantic, here's one that happened to a friend. He was participating in an LF workshop at the Grand Canyon and was using one of those older Bogen 3047 heads made before the hexagonal safety catch was installed on later models.

    Sure enough, his camera came off, and as it descended into the canyon, he heard . . .

    Ker-clunk . . ker-klunk . . . . . . ker-klunk . . . . . . . . . . . . . ker-klunk . .

    the fading sounds becoming more and more distant in time.

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