Large Format Horror Story

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by TheFlyingCamera, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    Over the weekend, I went out to Kilgore Falls (a nice size waterfall northwest of Belair, Maryland) with a camera club. I brought my Seneca "black beauty" whole plate, three film holders, my Turner-Reich 12-19-25 triple convertible, and my Induro CF 314 tripod. I had ascended to the top of the falls and was taking some shots there. I had finished my fourth exposure and decided I wanted to climb back down to try and cross the stream for another view, and started to unlimber everything. I removed my bag from the hook on the center column so I could organize my lenses, holders, meter, etc. In doing so, I must have brushed against the tripod and unbalanced it. It pitched head-first over the rock, bounced into the stream at the top of the falls, the lens board separated from the camera and deposited the lens in the water, and the camera and tripod proceeded to sweep over the top of the falls and plunge a further 40 feet down into the pool at the base of the falls. One of my club-mates happened to be wearing chest-waders and was able to wade out to where the camera and tripod were floating, and retrieve it. I went in the water at the top of the falls and retrieved the lens.

    The shutter on the lens is mostly operational, but will still need to be serviced as it has a bit of a catch when cocking it. The barrel of the front element of the lens has a nasty ding in the filter ring, but otherwise appears ok. No scratches to the glass, no cracks, and the filter ring gouge appears to be A: repairable (it's a brass barrel, so the metal is soft enough to be re-shaped) and B: even if I can't/don't repair it, it will not impair the function, only the aesthetics. The camera body, although not unscathed, is pre-eminently re-buildable. The worst of it is some of the nickel-plated hardware that holds the rear standard to the bed got bent and a couple of screws tore out of the wood. There's a couple of chunks of wood that came out of the bed, but nothing that will prevent the camera from functioning. The rear extension rail took the worst of the beating, and now has the ability to become a parallelogram instead of a rectangle, but it is for all intents and purposes still complete. Of course the ground glass broke, but that's the least of my worries. The biggest deal was the bellows did NOT tear or become detached. The tripod came through unscathed, and it actually floated (although I think the bellows on the camera body helped with that).

    I'll be sending the camera off to Richard Ritter some time this summer to be remade. I think it will be apropos to ask him to make a little plaque to affix somewhere on the camera with "Steve Austin" engraved on it.
     
  2. Len Middleton

    Len Middleton Member

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    Your camera is living up to your alias...

    That is what I would put on the plaque.
     
  3. mono

    mono Subscriber

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    Oh man, what a horror story!

    Something similar happened to me years ago: A Canon F1 new with a 560mm telephoto lens mounted on a tripod fell into the water while shooting geese! I stumbled over one of the tripod legs!
    Camera and lens had to be serviced and were fully functional again!
     
  4. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Subscriber

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    That was NOT the story I wanted to start my day with, but I'm happy that it didn't have an entirely tragic ending. I'm always afraid of knocking my gear into the pit/water/traffic/whatever, because I'm such a klutz. Happily, I haven't as yet done so. Sorry that you had to go through it. I can only imagine the feeling as you realized the whole kit was beyond your reach.

    When I get an old lens, I often try to imagine just what put that dent in the ring, or that knick in the glass. You've just set down the story for yours, "Well, I was climbing this waterfall..." Should get you a free beer occasionally.
     
  5. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    The horror! The horror!
     
  6. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    I've had two cameras bounce but not into water. On one - a 4X5, the quick release was not seated properly. The other - an 8X10 - was due to my carelessness when removing a lens/lensboard. As I get older & more prone to accidents, I'm also slowing down my actions with the camera(s). Hopefully, it will also lead to better composed images ;-)
     
  7. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    sorry to hear of your troubles scott.
    good read things are fix-able, and YOU weren't hurt too ...
    its easy to fix a camera ( or get a new one ) a person going over falls
    and landing on jagged rocks, not so easy to fix ...
     
  8. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    Don't know how expensive the repair might be, but I'd be willing to donate to its repair cost if ya need it. You've helped a lot of folks out here.
     
  9. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

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    Sorry Mr Flying Camera (ironic).
    My only war stories are: Speed Graphic being hit by basketball, back when I was in h.s. trying to shoot some sports with it (it got bent and ended up on the court causing a time-out).
    Again pegged by a basketball bleeding on court with N8008 smashed into my face.
    Last my worst... I left my Canon A-1 and tele lens on roof of car, and watching it slide off the Buick in my rear-view mirror. Road rash in the worst degree.
     
  10. Barry S

    Barry S Subscriber

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    Scott--glad to hear everything is mostly intact. Good thing it wasn't the Canhams. It says something about the landscape of Maryland, when our waterfalls can't even dash a camera to bits. :laugh:
     
  11. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    ... so how long was it before your heart started beating again? I'll bet everything was moving in slow motion. Sorry to hear you had such a tragic experience.
     
  12. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I hate to hear that.

    Jeff
     
  13. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    What a horrible feeling! That sounds like a beautiful kit. I hope it can all be restored to its former beauty. We've all had mishaps of some degree with our gear, but this is just about as bad as I've heard. (except for a guy who drove off with a DSLR on the roof of his car.)
    I wish you the best!

    Cheers,
    Tom
     
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  15. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Wow. I'm glad that you'l be able to fix things. The marks will have a good story to go with them, at least.
     
  16. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Ouch! But then thinking about it, it could have been way worse! I am naturally uneasy in high places and near the edge of drop-offs to begin with, so adding camera gear to the mix leaves me almost immobilized with caution. It is amazing how quickly something can happen. Hope all gets repaired successfully.
     
  17. Vaughn

    Vaughn Member

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    I wish you the best of luck (and Richard's skill) getting the camera repaired and functional again!
     
  18. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm sure Richard can fix it up with no problems, and I'm just glad it wasn't YOU who tumbled down the rocks into the water.
     
  19. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    Same thing I was thinking.

    It's a real bummer though.
     
  20. mark

    mark Member

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    All in all it sounds like you are lucky the camera is fixable and the lens did not shatter. Until you send it off put the lens and shutter, seperated, into some rice. DOn't bury the shutter in the rice just place it on top. Don't shake it either. Rice dust will get everywhere you don't want it if you bury the shutter. Good luck.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2013
  21. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    The shutter seems to have dried out quite nicely enough on its own, surprisingly. And it is almost fully functional again. I will put it in a tupperware container with the rear element still on the lens, and use that to keep the body of the shutter out of the rice. It was fresh water, with very little particulate matter in it, so I'm not panicked about water damage the way I would if it had fallen in salt water.
     
  22. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Oh crap. I feel your pain, Scott. I once had something fall onto a tripod-mounted rosewood 4x5 and knock it over backwards. Hard. On asphalt. I watched it crash in that moment of helplessness. Too far away to do anything. Like when you helplessly watch yourself locking your car keys inside, but there's not enough time for the STOP message to make it from your eyes to your brain to your hands. I was crushed. So was the camera.

    :sad:

    Fortunately the three breaks/cracks were so well defined that I was able to use Gorilla Glue and wood clamps to put it back together perfectly. I still have it and use it. You can't even tell it's been in a severe rear-end collision.

    :smile:

    Ken
     
  23. naeroscatu

    naeroscatu Subscriber

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    I just gathered the equipment to start my journey into LF. I can only imagine what you went through, I feel for you. I'm also the kind of person who takes chances when comes to picture taking. Most of times I lose myself in what I'm doing and get clumsy. I'm glad your equipment can still be fixed and you are safe. Thanks for sharing your story
     
  24. mwdake

    mwdake Member

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    Sherlock Holmes came back to life after going over the falls.
    I hope your equipment comes back as well.
     
  25. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Glad to hear you are ok, and the camera is mostly ok.
     
  26. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    god please let there be photos of the carnage :wink: