As outdoor photographers we invest not only in photographic equipment but also gear to keep us outdoors. It can be an expensive hobby and profession but the one thing that always looms in the back of our heads as photographers is the worst, what if I break my camera, lenses, tripod or filters? It’s enough to make you feel sick and wrap your gear up in bubble wrap and leave it in the volt to protect your expensive and precious gear.
Of course, this is very silly to do so. What’s the point on investing thousands for this kit for it to do nothing? This is also what insurance is for, but this still doesn’t stop that gut retching feeling when you are out and in these environments. Like many, I like to believe I’m careful with my equipment but if I’m honest I’m actually rather clumsy and last summer I had a rather expensive trip to South Wales during a wild camping photography workshop.
The weather for the weekend was looking tough with heavy rain and gusting winds forecasted. Instantly you’d think to cancel the trip and sack off the weekend and remain indoors. However, the chap I was taking away was still ever keen to get out and get his first wild camp under his belt and experience the waterfalls in the area at full force.
We only made it to the second waterfall on the walk before disaster struck.
The shot was framed up with the camera hidden away in a cover to prevent any water marks on the front element. It was as any usual photograph just contenting with the rain which is only a minor issue but as I went to attach my filter holder to the front it slipped out of my hands.
Thinking it was firmly attached which clearly it wasn’t! I watched it fall in to the water below. It was like time slowed down and I watched as the holder and the 10-stop ND filter fall and smash on the rocks. To make matters worse it then wound up being pushed further down river in to debris. If the filters weren’t written off already, they certainly were now.
I rescued the filters from the river and without looking simply threw them back in to the rucksack. The pair of us in shock at what had just happened. It was easy to say enough, enough and give up, but we continued on and rather than using my usual set up opted for a cheaper variable density filter to do the job. By the end of the walk we forgot about the smashed filters from the morning. It was only until I reached home the following afternoon did, I see the full damage to the filters.
It’s easy to just write off the trip and call it a failure from the damage and somewhat expensive replacements now needed but the important thing was about just getting out and enjoying the Brecon Beacons and waterfalls despite the weather. I was pleased to walk away with a keeper of a shot despite all the issues and weather.
Nikon D500 with Nikkor 16-80mm f/2.8-4 at 16mm, f/11, ISO 100, 3 seconds using variable density filter and tripod.