MURPHY’S ##%%@@! LAW

I’m just wrapping up an assignment for Westpac Bank in Vanuatu and I thought I’d share a lesson that has traumatised me for life.

I ordered the latest Nikon D4 some time ago and it was supposed to arrive just before I left but it didn’t so, somewhat hesitantly, I set off on a five day assignment with just one camera (the D3) thinking the chances of anything going wrong with it were as remote as the location I was flying to.

In the film days, I always travelled with at least two cameras and, while I’d just bought a new, large format digital camera, it wasn’t necessary to take it on this shoot. I was delaying the upgrade of my 35mm equipment until the arrival of the D4.

So, I have just the one camera and, of course (he says now),  within five frames of starting the shoot, an “error” sign started blinking in my viewfinder every time I pressed the button. Joy. I’m beside myself, playing with every variation of the settings and lens in a bid to make it work – with little success. My client, who was accompanying me, seemed very understanding at the time (though that was probably because I hadn’t explained that we were a frustrated throw away from aborting the shoot and, truth be told, I was pretending to take photos while my mind raced to divine a solution).

Remarkably, despite the camera’s mirror sticking frequently, it continued to take pictures –  though the angst of the breakdown becoming permanent and me losing a corporate client in the process aged me a hundred years every time I drew the camera to my eye.

Yes, I knew I was taking a chance setting off with just one camera; yes, I could have rented a camera as a back-up;  yes, I  knew I’d be too far away to replace it if anything went wrong. But, I reasoned, I just needed it to work over the next five days which shouldn’t have been an issue given it had performed without hiccup over the past three years. All I needed was a few hundred frames from a camera that had delivered thousands of images. Really, what were the chances of anything going wrong…….

$$%%%##@! Murphy!!!!!

Anyway, I’m now back in my hotel room thankfully processing the pictures (sample below) which are looking pleasing to at least this anxious cameraman’s eyes.

The lesson: Always, always, always travel with a back-up.

Post script: I’m happy to report the client was delighted with the photographs. Phew…….never again.



David’s personal blog

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A successful promotional photograph starts with knowing what you want it to say and who you want it to appeal to - before you even bring the camera to your eye.




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