Disclaimer- The feat described below is performed only by trained professionals.Please do not try it at home unless you want to risk losing your camera or lens or both.
During last long weekend, we went on a trip to Swiss Alps. The place was beautiful and the weather was great. One of those days, we took the cog rail to the mountains- to Jungfraujoch, dubbed the top of Europe. It was a very bright and beautiful day. The snow capped mountains looked majestic and I took photos to my heart’s content.
I take a lot of photographs during our trips. Not in thousands, but tens of thousands. But the number of photos that we have of ourselves will be very less. Let’s suppose it is a wonderful day and it’s a great place we are visiting. And if I take a thousand photos that day (I actually do that, in case you are wondering), only about ten of them will feature either me or my husband. And about half of those will have us together. So this time I thought we will have a little improvement in the number of ‘people-in-front-of-landscape’ photos. My husband was not very keen but did not protest once or twice when we either requested a fellow tourist to photograph us or set up the tripod to grace the scene with our presence.
So, on Jungfraujoch, after shooting the panorama about ten times over, I decided to get some of those above mentioned ‘people-in-front-of-landscape’ photos. It was difficult to use a tripod as there were lot of people walking around. On top of that, the floor was some kind of a wire or steel mesh fixed on top of the snowy mountain. So, I requested a nice lady out there and she was only too happy to oblige. She took our photo from three different angles and gave back the camera. Both of us thanked her and stretched our hands to receive the camera back. Did I mention that it was very cold and we were both wearing big gloves? Anyway, I was not sure whether it was me or my husband who got hold of the camera. With those gloves, it was a bit difficult to feel. In fact, nobody had caught it and the camera, as a free spirit, glided down about three feet and struck the floor head on (lens on, in photographic terms). There was a cracking noise and I heard a few gasps from people around us.
At that very instant, my heart stopped. I missed a few heartbeats and I stood there rooted to spot, my mouth open in an expression of horror. I could not believe that I (or the three of us together) had just dropped my camera- my Canon EOS 7D, with a 17-40mm lens, a UV filter, polariser and a lens hood attached.
My husband picked it up and said- “It’s broken”.
Me (heart starts pumping again): “Ww..what…what is broken? ”
He held up the lens hood, one side cracked open and detached from the lens.
(heart pumping at top speed now) “You mean.. only the hood is broken?”
“Looks like”, he said.
I grabbed my precious camera and fired some test shots. I can focus without any issues.The shutter is falling fine. Images are recorded alright. I mean, there did not seem to be any issue at all. I tried again with different settings and still no issues. It was nothing short of a miracle.
“Oh my God!! Thank you so much”. My relief was beyond anything I can express in words. Apart from the broken hood, the camera emerged virtually unscathed from that mighty fall. That is when I started loving hoods. If not for the hood, my filters and the lens would have smashed into pieces. The heroic hood has sacrificed its life to save my camera and lens. And in turn saved our holiday from becoming a grumpy and miserable one.
Few days later,still a bit worried about my camera, I googled ‘I dropped my EOS 7D’, expecting to find out that it might be suffering from some kind of internal bleeding. To my great surprise, I got a lot of results where people were talking about dropping not only 7Ds but all sorts of bigger and more expensive cameras. Most of their cameras survived the falls and hits and all other kind of sports activity. Some of the less fortunate people managed to break a lens or damage some part of the camera. Luckily for me, my loyal lens hood had born the brunt and saved my camera and lens. Till that day, I always tried to avoid using a hood as much as I can, just because the hood makes the whole thing look much bigger. But not any more. From now on, I am going to use a lens hood all the time, even in the night.
And honestly, the nice lady who took our photos did nothing wrong, but in light of recent events, I am not giving my camera to strangers any time soon.
This post is dedicated to the heroic soul that did the ultimate sacrifice for me and my photography-
my broken 77mm lens hood.