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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> scariest near catastrophic moment with equipment
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01/06/2011 07:09:48 PM · #1
What is the scariest, near catastrophic moment you've had with your photography equipment? Mine happened this weekend. My camera bag slipped off my shoulder and landed on the driveway. My camera and lens are working just fine thanks to the UV filter I had on the lens which was shattered and destroyed. The initial drop was scary... but taking a hacksaw to my Canon 28-70mm L lens in order to remove the UV filter was absolutely terrifying. Here is a picture of the remains of the UV filter taken with the L lens and camera that was dropped.
IMG_5281.JPG
01/06/2011 07:15:55 PM · #2
I had my Canon 5D on a tripod taking long exposures of the waves at dawn on a beach. I backed away as the water flowed up to the tripod. It was only a few inches high. Everything was fine until it started going out, at which point it pulled the tripod and camera and lens into the ocean.

Oh wait...you wanted NEAR catastrophies!

I was crossing a very narrow foot bridge to an island in a pond in my parent's backyard. I had my 5D in my jacket pocket. I was crossing with my son who lost his balance and pulled us both in.

That was sorta a near catastrophy because the camera was repairable since it wasn't saltwater...

But, I've been probably four years without a water incident! Getting my 5-year token soon!
01/06/2011 07:40:27 PM · #3
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

But, I've been probably four years without a water incident! Getting my 5-year token soon!


No, no, no... never tempt the fates like that!
01/06/2011 07:41:48 PM · #4
I was crossing a bridge about a month ago and hit a patch of ice. Took a tumble backward and landed on my camera backpack. Luckily it was a suspension bridge, so the movement of the bridge cushioned my fall somewhat. I was carrying my tripod and it came within inches of falling into the water below. And I had my camera in the other hand (stupid - but I wanted a picture from the bridge). I had the lens hood on, so that took the brunt of the impact. Lens is fine and the replacement hood showed up today.

Right after the fall, the scariest thing was that the lens didn't seem to focus correctly. The lens would try to focus, but the view through the viewfinder was extremely fuzzy. I thought maybe it was fogged up since it was very cold out and I had gotten back in my car. Got it home, let it sit for a while to warm up and even out, no better. After a lot of panic, I finally realized...the diopter on the eyepiece had gotten bumped. Doh! Got it reset and everything's good. :)
01/06/2011 07:47:42 PM · #5
I was at a zoo with my 7D and 70-200 2.8 IS lens with a 2x extender on it and had it on my black rapid sling. The latch on the 2x extender hit my leg and detached the camera. The 7D fell and landed about 6 inches from going over the walkway into the water below. I am pretty sure my heart stopped for a moment. Oh and I had just got the camera and lens a week before.
01/06/2011 07:58:12 PM · #6
14 month ago, I was snowshoeing in the mountains of RMNP in November 2009 with a close friend. Crossing a stream, I had taken off my snowshoes to scramble across the rocks. I wasn't paying serious attention and was jabbering away about something unimportant. There was snow and ice on the rocks. The vibram soles of my boots slipped off the rocks. I went straight down, hitting my elbow (still hurts) and hip and landed on my feet in the 5' deep stream. Unfortunately, I toppled over backwards, with backpack and all of me, below my neck, plunging under the icy water. My Canon 5D, with 24-105mm f/4L USM attached, was in the submerged backpack. My brand new iPhone 3GS was in my breast pocket. Of course, within ten seconds, I scrambled to the shore and was helped up to land by my friend. It was 25 degrees and windy. I had foolishly worn blue jeans. (cotton kills)

Of course, I was terrified at losing my good equipment to the soaking. At the time, I was oblivious to the threat to my health. We were only 1 mile from the trailhead, so that is probably what saved my life. I was in shock, but didn't know it. I immediately went into a hypothermic condition, but was oblivious to what was happening. My irrational focus was on my gear. I looked at my iPhone. Pretty wet. I looked into my pack to see my camera and lens were somewhat wet. We headed down the trail. About 500 yards down the trail, I realized I had dropped my iPhone somewhere. We hiked back to the stream bank and found it on the snowy ground. By this time, I was starting to shiver and drifted into the walking sleep mode of hypothermia. I just wanted to sit down and go to sleep. I felt strangely warm. It was a surreal experience.

Made it back to my truck. Drove 12 miles to my house. Hot shower. I felt strange, but seemed to be able to function. I didn't power up any equipment. Batteries out of camera. CF card out to dry. iPhone removed from impact case. The best thing I did was allow all parts to naturally dry out before I powered up anything. The next day, I reassembled everything. Recharged everything. It all worked without a glitch. I even had all the photos from the hike.

My friends give me a very hard time about this incident to this day. I take a lot of ribbing every time I cross a stream. And, I am routinely scolded for caring more about my equipment than about my body. They are right. Three days after the incident, I looked like I had been in a car accident, with deep purple bruising of elbow and hip. It took me two weeks to feel normal again.
01/06/2011 08:00:30 PM · #7
I posted this in another thread yesterday, but it's pertinent: I think we all worry about our gear first, then ourselves. Sad, aren't we.

I was out shooting 20 years ago, and fell off a 30 ft cliff onto a frozen river. My first thought wasn't about my physical well-being, or if the ice was thick enough, but if my camera was OK. It was, I was only slightly bruised, and I made it back to shore dry (although there were alarming cracking sounds). I most pissed off about not getting a shot of the falling... camera geek...
01/06/2011 08:37:09 PM · #8
these are all awesome. Loved reading (even though they make me cringe)

Mine was biking, The bag was strapped to the front of the bike (this was a few years back with different equipment) anywho, starting going down a hill, hit the front brakes, went flying in the air, the bike tumbling beside me. I broke my hand but was crying because I thought my camera had broke. Gah. Well, camera was fine in a well padded bag. Lesson learned, don't ever do that again.
01/06/2011 09:16:54 PM · #9
Scariest and most embarrassing, combined. I was having coffee with a rising superstar photog whose workshop I'd just taken. At the end of the our visit, I grabbed my jacket off the back of the chair, forgetting that I'd slung my camera over it as well. I felt an odd weight then heard that horrible thud/crunch. I almost upchucked my coffee. But thorough examining revealed that the UV filter had done it's job - giving it's life for the benefit of the camera. Not quite as destroyed as yours, 31.gif johnnyphoto. But pretty darn shattered.
01/06/2011 09:20:27 PM · #10
These are all incredible, but 21_F.gif cynthiann probably has you all beat:

Got hit by a truck

Message edited by author 2011-01-06 21:20:34.
01/06/2011 09:26:14 PM · #11
Originally posted by vawendy:

These are all incredible, but 21_F.gif cynthiann probably has you all beat:

Got hit by a truck


Doesn't count as it wasn't near catastrophe it was a catastrophe. Didn't her camera get destroyed? Of cour her camera breaking likely saved her from worse damage.
01/06/2011 09:27:26 PM · #12
I kicked my macro lens across the floor by accident, it was fine.

My camera bag hit the car door hard as I was getting in, the force dislodged my 18-200mm lens somehow, I gently pushed it back into place so it could zoom once more.
01/06/2011 09:27:48 PM · #13
Sept 08'
I was shooting the surf from Hurricane Earl hitting the rocks of the Maine coast. The water was routinely going about 85 feet into the air... I got way too close to the edge of a 50 foot sheer rock face and a huge double wave hit. I was looking through my finder and was shooting in continuous mode. My view was: wave, big wave, lots of water, ALL WATER!!!! The water just started to hit me as I turned and pulled the camera into my chest and ran for my life. While running, I was inundated by frigid seawater and adrenaline. I made it about 15 feet and the surf crashed onto me like a freight train. The force put me to my knees and pulled me back about 5 feet. As soon as I could get back to my feet, I was well out of that situation.

My gear was lightly splashed, but cleaned up with a dry cloth. I however was quite shaken for the rest of the day.
The sad thing is, I am a highly experienced, well trained outdoor person. I knew better.
01/06/2011 09:37:09 PM · #14
I live a boring life -- my biggest problem was an open camera bag with lenses perched on top of a piano.

Someone knocked the bag off.

totally shattered the uv filter. Lens was ok for awhile, but had a slow lingering death over the next year.
01/06/2011 10:10:25 PM · #15
Fell through river ice once (2006) with my camera sling bag on, and my camera in hand. As soon as I heard the ice cracking I flung the sling bag off me and back across the ice towards the river edge I had just come from. As I fell through, my I held the camera up high in one hand and it never got a drop on it. Took me awhile to get out of the freezing water using just one arm as the ice kept breaking away, but I finally got out and made the 1 mile hike back to my truck. Oh...I did make sure I got a shot of the whole I made in the river ice before I hiked out. Then I shivered for hours!
01/06/2011 10:11:33 PM · #16
Originally posted by ShutterPug:

Fell through river ice once (2006) with my camera sling bag on, and my camera in hand. As soon as I heard the ice cracking I flung the sling bag off me and back across the ice towards the river edge I had just come from. As I fell through, my I held the camera up high in one hand and it never got a drop on it. Took me awhile to get out of the freezing water using just one arm as the ice kept breaking away, but I finally got out and made the 1 mile hike back to my truck. Oh...I did make sure I got a shot of the whole I made in the river ice before I hiked out. Then I shivered for hours!


we want to see the hole!
01/06/2011 10:12:18 PM · #17
Originally posted by vawendy:

Originally posted by ShutterPug:

Fell through river ice once (2006) with my camera sling bag on, and my camera in hand. As soon as I heard the ice cracking I flung the sling bag off me and back across the ice towards the river edge I had just come from. As I fell through, my I held the camera up high in one hand and it never got a drop on it. Took me awhile to get out of the freezing water using just one arm as the ice kept breaking away, but I finally got out and made the 1 mile hike back to my truck. Oh...I did make sure I got a shot of the whole I made in the river ice before I hiked out. Then I shivered for hours!


we want to see the hole!


here's the pic of the hole...Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_928699.jpg

Message edited by author 2011-01-06 22:18:53.
01/06/2011 10:17:00 PM · #18
I dropped a Nikon F3 and 35mm lens into the cooling pool while shooting at the nuke plant. Even if the camera still worked, it's now nuclear waste. I suppose I'll go get it back in 10,000 years or so and find out.
01/06/2011 10:18:28 PM · #19
Originally posted by Spork99:

I dropped a Nikon F3 and 35mm lens into the cooling pool while shooting at the nuke plant. Even if the camera still worked, it's now nuclear waste. I suppose I'll go get it back in 10,000 years or so and find out.


You should have retrieved it. You wouldn't need extra lighting -- the glow from the camera would be sufficient. :D
01/06/2011 10:25:41 PM · #20
Originally posted by vawendy:

Originally posted by Spork99:

I dropped a Nikon F3 and 35mm lens into the cooling pool while shooting at the nuke plant. Even if the camera still worked, it's now nuclear waste. I suppose I'll go get it back in 10,000 years or so and find out.


You should have retrieved it. You wouldn't need extra lighting -- the glow from the camera would be sufficient. :D


Nah, too much lens flare.
01/07/2011 12:59:13 AM · #21
Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_737117.jpgThe Story is in the photo comments ;)

01/07/2011 02:12:51 AM · #22
Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_928695.jpg This is the view from up top, but when I was climbing up the coulior, I came dangerously close to dropping my camera when I was on the slope. Close, as in, dropped and fumbled it between my hands, catching it right before it hit the ground near my feet. It's a sustained 60-65 degree slope, and my camera would have slid/rolled down 800 feet of snow. I also almost dropped my camera when I was taking that picture because I had no grip and I was trying to take a vertical photo of myself, while straddling the deep moat that had formed around the summitblock, separating the snow from the rock.
Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_928716.jpg
The day before this shot was taken, I was standing at a location a bit higher than where that was taken. I had come in 7 miles, and was intending to stash my large pack on the ridgeline, go grab a summit a few thousand feet higher with a small summit pack so I could move faster, then return to my big pack and descend the exposed ridge to where I planned on camping, approx 600 feet below. The slope here is actually about 60 degrees as well, and it cliffs out about 200 feet from the bottom. This larger pack contained everything I had brought except for my tiny summitpack, water,some energy food I was taking with me, my shell, and an insulating jacket. I can't remember if I had brought my D300 with me for the summit push, but at the very least, there was also my Tamron 28-70 in a lens case in the large pack. So, I hunkered my pack down in the tussocks of tundra grasses on a portion that was more flat. I also deployed my bright red rain cover for my pack and left my spare headlamp turned on, facing the pack so that I could easily find my pack if it got late and sunlight started dying quick on me. I set off up the ridge, making great time, optimistic that I could easily make the summit at this pace. The ridge was pretty windy; sustained 45mph with 60 mph gusts. I'm not really sure why, but I looked back, just in time to see my bright red backpack cartwheeling down the slope. I was still pretty close (150M), and took off sprinting down the slope as fast as I could without taking a headlong dive, which was faster than I thought. The pack slowed its cartwheel a bit and I was able to catch up to it and stop its descent. Talk about getting your adrenaline going... I descended the ridge and summited in the morning, instead. :)
Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_923886.jpg
For this trip, as I say in the notes, I was doing 6 peaks up on the same plateau. It's around a 12 mile day with about 5,000 feet of vertical gain. I was going pretty light, and wearing a small backpack with bare necessities. Once I was back on trail, I decided I wanted to see if I could get back to my vehicle before I needed to use my headlight as a personal challenge, so I started a brisk jog for my descent, and carried that pace around 3 miles back to the car. Excited and tired, I took off my backpack to get out my keys, only to discover that I had failed to rotate the zippers on the pack around the side, which is crucial on this pack, because it has a habit of opening itself up- pack was wide open (it only has one large compartment), and I'm not seeing my camera inside the bag, which is also looking pretty empty at this point. As I rifle through the pack I'm relieved to feel my camera body nestled deep within my backpack. The loss in pack volume was due to water consumption (used a bladder). So everything managed to stay in my pack for 3 miles while the backpack was opening itself up. Really wasn't looking forward to adding those 6 miles retracing my steps. Boy was I happy to find my camera.
01/07/2011 02:37:38 AM · #23
Broke my 70 to 300 lens whilst stopping to photograph an Eagle on a rural road Zimbabwe had just stopped and was focussing, then it came the horrible wailing sound that always procedes Mugabes cavalcade, tossed camera into floor of car and stood smiling sickly at the cavalcade. Camera was aright but the lens was a goner!
01/07/2011 03:14:58 AM · #24
I was shooting a long exposure in Malibu for the recent challenge for movement. The tide was getting really crazy and I had just bought the Tamron 10-24 as well as 60 bucks in filters. I took the nd and the uv filter off and the fell into the water, never to be seen again. I just bought that stuff yesterday too. My tripod almost fell in the water too, so I called it quits. While I was drying off my 40d from the splashes, I went to get my bag and some how the tripod tipped over, getting my 40 d all nasty with sand and water. Sh#t right? So I left, cleaned it off the best I could but the set button wouldnt work. Not only that but I somehow lost my PCB cyber sync transmitter, another 60 bucks or so gone.

Get to my room and I cleaned my camera off nicely. I played with the button the best i could but the thing wouldnt work. I took the thing apart even though I was scared to death of doing that. thoroughly cleaned it and popped the set button out. I cleaned it but I broke a little piece of it off. A tiny little piece of plastic the size of a pin head. So I bought some super glue, glued it back together and I put the camera back together. It worked fine after that. However, when I was putting it back together, I didnt do the scroll wheel right.

There is a little ball that you have to press in when you put the inside of the scroll wheel back together. It took me a while to figure it out too. So I finally figured it out, the scroll wheel worked perfectly. However, I didnt attach the little ribbon correctly so the screen didnt come on. I fixed that, worked perfectly.

Finally done!!! So after about 2 days of messing with the thing, I got it working. I sold the camera a week later after I bought the 7D. No guilty conscience, the camera works great and I gave the girl a hell of a deal too.
01/07/2011 06:24:16 AM · #25
O, and there was the time my camera fell off a full size fridge onto a concrete floor. Luckily, it was a K1000, so it was fine. There was a slight dent on the metal casing, but aside from that, it was still perfect. Gotta love manual film cameras. O, and the Leica was dropped (flung) while running on gravel. Again, slight scratches on the casing, but absolutely no harm done.

I keep having to remind myself the 20D is a delicate thing, and I can't do to it what I did to my film cameras. So far, so good (fingers crossed).
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