Thursday, May 7, 2015

What To Do When Disaster Strikes

We've been on vacation for the past few weeks.  Did a road trip with Doris and her brother and his wife.  About a week before leaving I was shooting an assignment when my "go to" vacation lens (an 18 - 200mm) broke.  And I mean broke.  I had the camera locked down on the tripod (or so I thought).  Typically I'll wrap the strap around the legs of the tripod "just in case".  That means "if it falls" it'll end up dangling by the strap between the legs of the tripod.  Being in a rush I didn't follow my own (unwritten) rule and the camera didn't have that small bit of security on that day.  Wouldn't ya know it, I grabbed the tripod to make a move and off popped the camera.  First time ever.  All those years of being cautious and the one time I rushed, bang.  Well, the camera's a Nikon, so I wasn't too worried about it.  One of the reasons to use a Nikon is because you can dropkick the sucker and nothing will happen.  Same with Nikon lenses, ... usually.  The lens hit the floor first and on such an angle as to pop the zoom housing ring out.  It snapped back in okay, except for the fact that the 18 - 200 was more like a 35 - 135 now.  Not good.  I had about a week before starting on the road trip, so I ran the lens up to Precision Camera in Enfield Connecticut.  Great bunch of people and very reputable, authorized repair facility, hoping they could turn it around before we left.  No luck.  To find out what the solution to going on vacation without my "travel" lens was, hit the "Read More".

I have a couple of very good prime lenses, but going on vacation with a stack of lenses and needing to schlep around a camera bag all day is not my idea of what a vacation is all about.  I also have an antique (by today's standards) 70 - 300mm Nikon lens.  Okay, one lens, not as flexible as the 18 - 200, but a good range if shooting detail shots.  So the entire vacation was "detail shots". 

One of the stops along the way was in Chincoteague Virginia to see the wild ponies.  The last time we were there I used a 500mm mirror lens and could only get shots of the ponies where I had to point out little specks and tell folks "yea, those are really the ponies".  This time we were closer to the action  than I can usually get at a high school football game.  The ponies were just across a small stream and were putting on a show.  A colt nursing at it's mother's tit.  A horny stallion chasing a group of mares through a field.  A couple drinking from the stream.  A few just standing around having a smoke. (??? Maybe not.)  Some of the locals were pointing them out by name.  The horny stallion was Maverick, the nursing mare was Sue.  The line of cars along the side of the road was about thirty deep.  The center of the road was clear, but not a car passed.  Every car stopped and regurgitated as through it was a clown car.  The roadside was packed as if it were a Fourth of July parade.  Shots to come on future posts.

The bulk of the vacation was close up, detail shots like today's image.  One stop was at a botanical garden.  In mid-summer I'm sure the place is a cacophony of blooms and color.  On the first of May or so, not so much.  A few of the trees and a couple ground flowers were out and one could tell it was a great place to take a walk, but the photographic pickings were slim.  It was a good time for experimentation.  Over expose and totally blow out the sky to get detail in delicate flowers.  Shoot inch worms and small bugs.  I almost had my brother-in-law convinced that he should trek to the back of the garden to see "the Great Kaboon".  When my sister-in-law found out it was a so-so cabin she said she thought Roland would have kicked my Kabass if he had walked all that way only to find out it was a joke.

Well, vacation's over and it's back to work.  Posts will be more frequent again.