The Wide Angle: Dropping a camera and having a heart attack

Published 6:30 am Saturday, October 24, 2020

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Few things in the world will cause a photographer to have a heart attack faster than the sudden weightlessness caused by a camera leaving the neck strap.

In point of fact, the heart will stop almost at the exact moment the strap breaks, causing time to slow as you watch each painful second pass and the camera plummets to the asphalt parking lot under your feet.

And yes, should you have been at the ribbon cutting for the MacPhail Center for Music this past Monday, then you would have witnessed that exact moment.

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As someone or another was giving a speech, I was stalking about the parking lot doing what I do. All the people were listening intently, quietly taking in the joy of the moment until the smashing sound rang out from off stage.

There, you could have found me staring down at the Nikon 4Ds, laying on the ground and me staring at it.

A lot of things went through my head at that moment, which seemed to go on forever.

What just happened? How many pieces can I expect to find the camera in? How many people are looking at me right now and how many swear words can I run together without saying them outloud?

As it turned out, more than a few people saw this happen and proof of this was how many people asked me about it afterward. As for the muted swear words? A lot.

I’ve had some unique experiences with cameras and equipment over the years.

My first year here I almost earned a trip back to Huron, South Dakota, after dropping one of two 70-200 mm lenses we had on a road outside of LeRoy and watching it roll down the road.

Later on in life I left a mid range lens in a field in Grand Meadow and at least one other camera found the ground, though I don’t remember the distinct circumstance other than the fact that I broke it.

So you can imagine my continued feelings as I scraped the camera off the ground and tentatively went over it with an air of self-confidence as if I was in complete control of the situation even though inside I was wondering just how far I could get across state lines before alerting our Publisher Crystal Miller to the current circumstance of replacing a camera.

But, as I looked over the equipment and tried a couple pictures, everything seemed to work. I don’t necessarily understand it really, except I caught an exceptional amount of luck.

The camera dropped from a solid three feet, hit lense first and scraped across the parking lot, and yet aside from a few scrapes and scratches, the Nikon came out of it no worse for wear.

My heart started beating slowly again and brought me back from the dead. Immediately I cancelled plans to run to Fiji and began thinking ahead.

Would the problems crop up later? Would something fall off later? Would I need to run to Fiji after all and why Fiji? I don’t even like hot and humid.

So many questions, but the camera worked and powered through the night.

So what do I attribute this luck too?

As we all know by now, 2020 hasn’t exactly been abound with good luck and by all rights I should be calling Crystal from a far away land by now telling her we need a camera and lens.

But here we are, camera working and me using up the last piece of luck I have this year.

It’s like my good ideas, except I used my one good idea earlier in the year.