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Thread: Putting gear on the line.

  1. #1
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Putting gear on the line.

    I've noticed that I seem considerably more cavalier about placing my camera gear very close to action, or in otherwise risky situations, than many other photogs. I started by burning out a Vivitar 383 flash. Nothing fancy, I just pushed it too hard covering a street dance party.

    A fire performer's lit prop clocked the bottom of my 20mm f2.8 USM prime's lens hood and left a little fuel behind. It burned for a few seconds (long enough to partially melt the hood) before I wondered why my shots suddenly had an orange glow in the lower right. Still my favorite battle scar.

    Later, I burned out a 580EX II flash when I loaded it and its auxiliary pack with lithium batteries to shoot indoor derby in a much brighter arena than I'm used to. Didn't think hard enough about the increased power draw from trying to compete with ambient light, and after 10 minutes of intermittent burst shooting, I needed a $200 repair.

    While shooting skiing video, a few inevitable falls with my home-brewed GlideCam cracked my video light's shoe mount and twisted the camera off the stabilizer. It's fine, but the set screw I used to keep the camera from rotating off the tripod threads tore a lovely gouge in the bottom, right through the serial number.

    Shooting candids of people running for cover during a sudden downpour at Pig & Whiskey (a local barbecue and whiskey festival! ), some water got into my (non-sealed) 60D's rear control dial, leaving me with a major fluke the day before a big shoot. Fortunately, a dish of rice and a 150degF oven took care of that problem.

    Putting gear on the line.

    And finally, the main reason for this post. Two weekends ago, I shot a race held in front of a famous abandoned train station in Detroit, running two cameras. One was a radio-triggered remote on a small tripod with an 11mm lens. I'll let this GIF do the talking (note the camera starting in the lower right).

    The resulting shot. Car's doing about 45mi/hr.

    Putting gear on the line.

    This is basically the highlight reel. There are many other tales of minor damage and lesser madness. In the interest of deciding if I'm on the lunatic fringe, and whether it'd be prudent to back off, I'd like to hear where others' limits lie regarding risking camera gear. How close to the action is too close? How much do you worry about weather sealing? How do you protect your gear?

  2. #2
    Adrian's Avatar
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    Re: Putting gear on the line.

    It's a tool and replaceable. Worst that my kit sees (camera and lenses kept for the purpose) is ocean sailing. Salt water is pretty bad. I tape the lens / body joint, use a front element filter and tape that on too, and tape over any controls I don't expect to use.

  3. #3

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    Re: Putting gear on the line.

    Lex we look through that little viewfinder and all we want is "the shot" sometimes we just need someone to yank us out of the way as we do not see it coming we just hope we got it.

    Cheers:

    Allan

  4. #4

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    Re: Putting gear on the line.

    Hi Lex,

    Depending on how much an image is worth and what your budget is to replace gear.

    I will waste a Nikon D4 with an 800mm lens if the shot will earn me a Million bucks. If the shot is not going to earn me anything I will not put my gear to any risk.

  5. #5
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Putting gear on the line.

    Quote Originally Posted by AB26 View Post
    I will waste a Nikon D4 with an 800mm lens if the shot will earn me a Million bucks. If the shot is not going to earn me anything I will not put my gear to any risk.
    Good point. But considering that the shot above hasn't earned me anything so far, apart from a pretty blatant unauthorized publication on a Louisville paper's website, then risking about $1,150 in gear probably just proves that I'm pushing it. I did it just because I wanted shots no one else was getting.
    Last edited by RustBeltRaw; 29th August 2013 at 02:08 PM.

  6. #6

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    Re: Putting gear on the line.

    Is that not what we all want?

    Cheers:

    Allan

  7. #7
    Digital's Avatar
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    Re: Putting gear on the line.

    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltRaw View Post
    Good point. But considering that the shot above hasn't earned me anything so far, apart from a pretty blatant unauthorized publication on a Louisville paper's website, then risking about $1,150 in gear probably just proves that I'm pushing it. I did it just because I wanted shots no one else was getting.
    Lex, I am originally from Louisville. If you do not mind enlighten me on that particular incident.

    Bruce

  8. #8
    Digital's Avatar
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    Re: Putting gear on the line.

    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltRaw View Post
    Good point. But considering that the shot above hasn't earned me anything so far, apart from a pretty blatant unauthorized publication on a Louisville paper's website, then risking about $1,150 in gear probably just proves that I'm pushing it. I did it just because I wanted shots no one else was getting.
    Lex, I am originally from Louisville. If you do not mind enlighten me on that particular incident.

    Bruce

  9. #9
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Putting gear on the line.

    Quote Originally Posted by Digital View Post
    Lex, I am originally from Louisville. If you do not mind enlighten me on that particular incident.

    Bruce
    PM sent.

  10. #10
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    Re: Putting gear on the line.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian View Post
    It's a tool and replaceable.
    It's how I view my camera gear.
    My D700 and 24-70mm swam with the ocean because I was trying to shoot some crabs on the side of a cliff. That was a ****ty day.

  11. #11
    GrahamS's Avatar
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    Re: Putting gear on the line.

    Lex, in the situation you illustrate, if you're not prepared to lose it, don't use it.

  12. #12

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    Re: Putting gear on the line.

    It is not only gear but YOU as with this fellow who started after me but with my regular one second review I was slow in seeing him and only just got away ... you could say a silly old 75yo He was at least three times as big as me.
    Putting gear on the line.
    The camera cost me $2500.
    Last edited by jcuknz; 4th September 2013 at 11:09 AM.

  13. #13
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Putting gear on the line.

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamS View Post
    Lex, in the situation you illustrate, if you're not prepared to lose it, don't use it.
    I am essentially always prepared to lose it. Before placing the remote, I did a quick check for that camera (borrowed) on the used market, totaled that up with the ~$580 lens and ~$180 Pocket Wizard, and decided I wasn't screwed if the setup ate it. Personally, I think the shot was worth the risk.

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