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Author Topic: Accidental destruction of equipment?  (Read 3443 times)
Chris Pollock
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« on: July 27, 2009, 07:40:56 AM »
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Last Saturday I took some photos of the local coastline before and shortly after sunrise. I had to climb over some quite rugged sandstone rocks by the edge of the sea while it was still quite dark. Most of the rocks gave a good footing, but there were a few slimy patches that I didn't notice in the dim light. I had the unpleasant experience of slipping on one of them while carrying my tripod a short distance with the camera attached. Luckily I was able to fall in a controlled enough way to avoid damage to myself or the equipment, but it was a close call.

I got to thinking that photographers often carry many thousands of dollars worth of equipment over rugged ground, sometimes in dim light and adverse weather conditions. I'm sure that accidents must happen from time to time. Does anyone have any interesting stories of equipment lost to accidents? Perhaps we can have a competition for the most expensive piece of equipment destroyed?
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walter.sk
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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2009, 09:33:34 AM »
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Quote from: Chris Pollock
Last Saturday I took some photos of the local coastline before and shortly after sunrise. I had to climb over some quite rugged sandstone rocks by the edge of the sea while it was still quite dark. Most of the rocks gave a good footing, but there were a few slimy patches that I didn't notice in the dim light. I had the unpleasant experience of slipping on one of them while carrying my tripod a short distance with the camera attached. Luckily I was able to fall in a controlled enough way to avoid damage to myself or the equipment, but it was a close call.

I got to thinking that photographers often carry many thousands of dollars worth of equipment over rugged ground, sometimes in dim light and adverse weather conditions. I'm sure that accidents must happen from time to time. Does anyone have any interesting stories of equipment lost to accidents? Perhaps we can have a competition for the most expensive piece of equipment destroyed?
I had a dream that I was shooting along the Bronx River Parkway.  I put my 100-400mm lens on the grass in front of my feet while changing lenses, and looked down just in time to see the 100-400 roll into the river and come to rest on some rocks a few feet below the surface!  I took this dream as a warning!

I also remember shortly after getting my Canon 1DmkII going out right after a snow storm to get a picture of snow, blue sky and white clouds.  On the camera was my 16-35.  It did not seem cold enough for me to put on the hood of my duffel coat, so I threw the camera strap around my neck and started shooting.  In no time my ears began to burn, so I reached behind my head and pulled up the hood.  Little did I know that the camera strap had not gone down below the base of the hood.  When the hood came up the camera flew up and out, and I saw about $6K worth of new equipment head for certain destruction.  Fortunately, it landed on enough new snow so that nothing was damaged.

Also, many, many years ago I took my brand new Leica iif downtown.  Seeing a little church between two skyscrapers, I grabbed the camera from my shoulderbag.  Before I could put the neckstrap on I slipped on a patch of ice.  I went down and the camera went up!  But somehow, I managed to catch it just as my head hit the ground.  I still have that camera.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2009, 09:35:24 AM by walter.sk » Logged
ChrisJR
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« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2009, 08:29:07 AM »
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Once had a camera wrecked by someone throwing beer on it at a music festival. Body at that time was just a D70 but the lens was a 70-200 2.8 VR. Someone saw this happen and thought they would try to help the situation by then throwing water on it. Lens was screwed and had to pay a few hundred pounds to get the body cleaned.

My wife is also a walking accident. She's dropped my 1d3 a couple times destroying a 24-105 lens and also scratching the glass on an old Contax zoom on another occasion, literally a week after I bought it. She's also smashed a 580 flash and nearly broke my Gitzo tripod.
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2009, 10:41:55 AM »
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The most serious one I remember was back in 1980.  I was on the St. Lawrence river at low tide and had my camera and 400mm lens set up on the tripod.  I was really windy so I had the legs set really wide, but not to be outdone the wind changed directions and blew the tripod over onto a rock.  Snapped the collar on the lens and dented in the upper right part of the camera (Minolta XD-11), where the film advance lever was.  I repaired the lens collar with some 1/8" brass and some epoxy but I had to replace the camera body.

Mike.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2009, 12:49:14 PM »
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I have scheduled item coverage on my homeowner's policy for all of my camera equipment, and I make a point to update it before going on any trips. It covers full replacement in the case of theft, loss, or accidental damage. I've had a few lenses suffer minor damage in falls, but the repair bill was never high enough to warrant filing a claim so far.
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button
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« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2009, 12:57:10 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
I have scheduled item coverage on my homeowner's policy for all of my camera equipment, and I make a point to update it before going on any trips.

Great idea- I'm going to do that ASAP.
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feppe
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« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2009, 01:18:22 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
I have scheduled item coverage on my homeowner's policy for all of my camera equipment, and I make a point to update it before going on any trips. It covers full replacement in the case of theft, loss, or accidental damage. I've had a few lenses suffer minor damage in falls, but the repair bill was never high enough to warrant filing a claim so far.

I did some checking on that, and my insurance company has a separate clause for camera equipment: it covers them up to 2000 EUR I believe it was, even lower for travel.

Also, there might have been an exception for "professional" equipment. Also, some home insurance doesn't cover equipment for business use.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2009, 02:28:17 PM »
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Quote from: feppe
I did some checking on that, and my insurance company has a separate clause for camera equipment: it covers them up to 2000 EUR I believe it was, even lower for travel.

Also, there might have been an exception for "professional" equipment. Also, some home insurance doesn't cover equipment for business use.
Yes, the coverage and conditions/exclusions will vary depending on your insurance company and possible what country you reside in. "Business use" is definitely an exclusion to watch out for if you're a professional, but that's not a concern for me (yet).
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tom b
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« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2009, 01:04:07 AM »
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A friend of one of my flatmates went to Bali at Christmas many years ago. One evening he went down to some dunes to watch the sun set over the beach and get some photos.

To aid his appreciation of the sunset he had some magic mushrooms and sat down. Unfortunately he lost track of the time and when looked down to see where his camera bag was he found that the tide had come in and his camera bag with Nikon SLR and prime lenses had disappeared into the ocean.

His loss was my benefit as all he was left with was a 20 mm lens that he didn't take with him. With no camera to attach it to he sold it to me for a very low price. Unfortunately the lens was stolen with camera bag a number of years later.

Cheers
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rvanr
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« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2009, 03:25:59 AM »
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Also, there might have been an exception for "professional" equipment. Also, some home insurance doesn't cover equipment for business use.

 What is 'professional equipment'? I own a 5d Mk2 and some L lenses, but I don't earn a living from photography. Is my camera 'professional equipment'? If a professional photographer uses a $200 point and shoot camera during his holiday, is that point and shoot 'professional equipment'?
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kikashi
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« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2009, 12:04:40 PM »
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Quote from: rvanr
What is 'professional equipment'? I own a 5d Mk2 and some L lenses, but I don't earn a living from photography. Is my camera 'professional equipment'? If a professional photographer uses a $200 point and shoot camera during his holiday, is that point and shoot 'professional equipment'?
You'd need to look at the terms of your insurance contract. If it excludes professional equipment, it will define the term somewhere. My guess would be that it will be defined by use rather than brand or model, so the answers to your questions would be no and no.

Jeremy
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ashley
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« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2009, 08:58:55 AM »
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A photographer I used to assist many years ago once went on a trip to Scotland for a commercial assignment and needed to take a picture of a loch. He had an assistant with him (not me) who was fairly new and fitted a wide angle lens to the Hasselblad, but didn't quite push it far enough to hear that clicking lock sound. The photographer arrived to start focusing the camera only to find that his prized lens dropping from his hands straight into the dark waters below. They were on a small wooden docking point so the water below was quite deep and there was no way of seeing the black lens in the water below. I hate think what that conversation sounded like.

Later on that day the photographer called the local naval base and explained what had happened, asking if they might be prepared to look for it on their next naval exercise. Following this he thought nothing more of the matter until he received a call 2 days later saying that his Hasselblad lens had been found in a terrible state having drifted quite some distance with the flow of water and what would he like them to do.

He called the insurers, who demanded to his amazement that an attempt be made to repair the lens, so it was duly sent back to the factory for a repair. The lens was gone for a considerable amount of time and in the meanwhile his policy was paying for the daily rental of the equivalent lens. Eventually when his refurbished lens was returned it cost about $1 less than a new one and the rental costs for the other lens were not much less.

The final chapter in the story was a letter from the insurers politely asking that should he ever drop another lens in a Scottish loch, they'd prefer it if he left it there.
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RSL
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« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2009, 09:34:24 AM »
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Thanks, Ashley. You just made my day. A good laugh is a great way to start out.
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ashley
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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2009, 02:22:47 PM »
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No problem Russ, I remember another time with a rather well known fashion photographer in Milan who had just taken on a new assistant and had asked him to pack away the equipment in his car. The assistant looked around and saw a rather dazzling new Alfa Romeo spyder in bright red rather like the one that Dustin Hoffman drove in his film The Graduate.

The assistant felt a mild sense of panic as he tried to get all the items in the baggage space of this tiny car but he didn't want to look like he couldn't handle the challenge, so he persisted and eventually managed to get everything in there. He tried closing the boot (trunk in the US) but it wouldn't quite close since there was a metal camera case there that was just a little too tall to close easily. After two or three delicate attempts he decided it would only work if he put some effort into it, so with an almighty thump he threw down the boot lid and managed to close it but left 4 neat holes in the boot lid of his boss's new Alfa as the camera case poked through. As blind panic started to set in his boss screamed from around the corner to ask why he hadn't even started to fill the mini van yet...

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RSL
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« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2009, 03:13:20 PM »
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Ashley, Great! Someone really should publish a collection of these.
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Misirlou
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« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2009, 04:16:06 PM »
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I suppose this isn't exactly an accident, although it was both unplanned and unfortunate.

I bought my first 4X5 camera (an old Busch Pressman) right around Christmas of 1997. It took me a a few days to figure out how to load up film holders, focus on a ground glass, etc. So after about a week, I was finally ready to shoot. I exposed one frame on my sun porch, and then drove out west of Albuquqerque looking for anything at all with interesting texture. I found a decaying adobe barn, set up the camera, and took one shot (attached); only the second 4X5 sheet I'd ever shot at that point. I thought that was a fairly unintersting composition, so I left the camera where it was and started walking around looking for something better. When I got back, I found a horse licking my precious 4X5 camera. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to shoot a quick 35mm snap with an old Bolsey B2 I was carrying (attached).

[attachment=16213:AdobeBarn.jpg]
[attachment=16214:HorseLickPress.jpg]

The Pressman was slimy and dirty, but cleaned up ok eventually.
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