Amazing clouds at White Sands

A camera’s life isn’t easy

Richard Charpentier Digital Cameras, Notes from Rich, Photography 5 Comments

In some cases, it’s not long either.  Would you like a “for example?”  I can provide that for you.

Back in 2006, before I really hit the road, my friend Tom came along for a “dry run.”  I’d spent the bulk of 2005 playing tag with doctors, I had difficulty driving, and I was a bit of a wreck after a rotten year.  Setting out in an Airstream all alone after such a year didn’t seem wise.  A test was necessary.

As it turned out, the trip was a success.  I survived, I could drive long distances again, and the Airstream was the perfect refuge at the end of the day!  Hoorah.

There was a darker side to the trip though.  Something I didn’t blog about.  I couldn’t bring myself to write it down.  But today seems like the right day to tell you about it.

See, the first official day on the Blue Ridge Parkway was not all fun and touring.  An incident marked the day with a sour note.  I broke my shiny new Canon SD550 at our second stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The poor camera was only a few months old, and less than 1000 pictures had been taken with it.

The 550 replaced my first Canon Digital Elph.  I’d had the first camera for years.  A little metal brick that could only shoot 2.1 Mega-pixel photos.  The original Elph survived life on the Appalachian Trail.  It had been frozen, over heated, stuffed in a backpack, and slept on regularly by a Labrador.  That little camera hooked me on Canon!

My SD550 was slated for the same type of life as my original Elph.  Travel, hiking, great memories, etc.  It would help me document my travels in the Airstream.  Unfortunately its life was cut short, and it was totally my fault.

Picture if you will a cloudy day on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  A strong wind blowing out of the West.  Two guys standing around a view spot taking photos.  One of the guys breaks out an ultra light tripod to take a photo of himself on a timer.  He walks out to get ready for the camera to take the shot and as he turns around a gust of wind comes up…..  The last photo that camera snaps is of the guy running toward it trying to stop the fall.

Yeah, shattered the back of the camera.  $450 right out the window.  Sure, I had another camera with me that day as well, but you can bet I was soured on the day.

The next morning we took a ride to the local Circuit City.  Another $450 forked over, and another SD550 in hand.  Somehow it didn’t feel like the original.  In my mind the photos weren’t as crisp.  The camera just wasn’t the same.  Maybe it was just the fact that I’d bought the last only months before and I was a little ticked.

By the way, the photo in this post….taken with the new SD550 days later.  Tom took the shot for me.  I’ll never use another light tripod again!

There’s a reason for that trip down memory lane.  Actually, 2 reasons at the moment.  Over the past few days two of my friend’s have lost cameras to horrible accidents.  I know, normally we reserve the concept of a horrible accident to the loss of a loved one, or something along those lines.  Seriously though, our cameras are usually pretty important to us too!

Yesterday I took a hike along Fossil Creek with my friend Caden.  We were out to shoot some scenes along the river, and to check out a cool swimming spot beneath a big waterfall.  Our hike out was fantastic, and we stopped along the water’s edge many times to take photos.

Caden was also out to test out his brand new Canon Rebel XS.  He’d purchased it less than 24 hours earlier.  A new toy!

Well, long story short, there was an “incident”.  Caden crossed the top of the water fall, there were some strong currents, and he slipped.  The camera was held high, jarred pretty hard, but saved from a dunking.  Oh, and Caden didn’t go over the waterfall!  Still, some kind of damage was done.  The camera toasted itself.  Heck, maybe there was a defect off the bat…….just saying, it could be possible!  🙂

Fortunately, Caden had purchased an accidental damage plan on his camera.  Back when I broke my SD550 nobody offered that sort of thing.  Now plenty of online resellers and even larger electronic stores offer that.  Cameras don’t have it easy, and those of us using them often put them in harm’s way.

Yes, I have had my new SD550 strapped to my belt while rock climbing.  Yes, I have taken photos and video while rappelling.  No, I don’t have a plan on the latest 550.  Nobody was offering such plans then.

In addition to Caden’s mishap another friend had a doozie of an incident.  My friend Tom, of Tombo’s Blog, lost his Canon G9 to nature the other day.  No, moss didn’t grow on it, and it was not carried away by fire ants hopped up on Mountain Dew.  Instead, Tombo’s camera decided to take a trip down the side of a cliff.  Always fun.  Well, fun when you’re roped up, got your harness on, and you control the descent.  In the case of Tom’s camera we’re talking free fall!

Unfortunately for Tom he didn’t get one of those accidental plans.  If he had he could have gotten it replaced.  From what I understand he’s looking into a repair.  Hope it doesn’t cost too much.  That G9 was a nice camera.

So, there you have it.  Camera’s lives aren’t too easy.  Mine have been dragged up cliffs, across rivers, licked by horses (true story), had truck doors close on them, and been swung into rocks more times than I care to count.  Glad to say my new cameras have those accidental plans on them.  The “new” SD550 doesn’t.  Guess I’ll just have to be careful!

Comments 5

  1. Glad to see the site up and running!

    I totally wish the G9 had been recording audio as it fell. You would have heard my voice yelling, getting ever more distant, replaced by the crashes and bangs as rocks and shrubs went whizzing by. 🙂

    Life goes on, and hopefully I will hear from Canon repair soon. 🙂

  2. Crossing my fingers for you Tom! The G9 is too cool!

    That last photo of me that my original SD550 took…..yeah, if you could lip read you’d be shocked at what I was saying! Captured me in a sprint as well. All fun stuff!

  3. I am so loving your photos. We have had camera issues too – Pentax K100D splashed with salt water waves (not one…two!) What was the camera doing that close to the water, you ask? Don’t. Anyway, it’s never been the same, and now we have debris and fibers floating around on our pics. Just spent $700 to have camera body, and 4 lenses cleaned before this trip to Italy. Still spots on photos, I’m furious. Coulda shelled out for a new body, and had the lenses cleaned….grrrr!

    I think a new camera body is now on the list directly beneath a Mac…yep, that’s still on the list and getting higher by the day!

  4. Hey Paula! Missed you on the blog for a while! Hope you guys are doing great!!!

    Camera body first, Mac second? Just because the camera is cool to have on your travels!

  5. Camera body, Iphone, Mac? Where does it end? (and this poor little laptop, literally has duct tape holding it together, missing the “c” key, covered with Erickson AirCrane stickers cuz I’m so embarrassed by the dents and scratches on the top – it’s just about had it, for sure!)

    We are doing great, we have a few new albums on our webshots and I am brainstorming about building a new travel website on wordpress.

    Oh and I bought a new little Flip video recorder. Have you heard of it? It’s not the best, but was cheap, is very small, and has me hooked on video. I think I’d like to do some travel podcasts….oh the plans…

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