Guys it happened — my Nikon D610 with a 105mm macro lens hit the ground and shattered. And then shattered my heart. UGH! I have never felt so many emotions all at once but man, it sucked. I was photographing with my biggest client, Paul Mitchell, and my nightmare happened in front of everyone.
I was halfway thru the six-model lineup when the drop heard ’round the world happened. I was tethering and had purchased an extra-long HDMI cord the day before due to the fact that sometimes on set everyone starts to crowd my screen. They all want to see the images, check my work and their work and they forget that I need space. Sometimes they even start to make my model feel a little self-conscious cause she thinks they are talking about her. So I decided I was going to buy this extra long cord and move them further away from me. Well, somehow during the shoot my brain malfunctioned and I forgot about that crazy long cord.
My friend and fellow photographer, Bob Grutzmacher, who is an amazing woodworker made me a beautiful tabletop that screws into the top of my tripod. I had that set up in the corner with my laptop and my camera attached to the cord. During the shoot, I put my camera down on the table and went to turn and switch my lighting set up. My foot got caught on the cord. One turn and I stood there as the room went silent. The camera and lens seemed to fall in slow motion until …
The amount of sadness that filled my heart was so much that I grabbed my keys and cellphone and ran out to my car. I hopped in and drove four blocks to the local swimming pool parking lot. There I called the head makeup artist back and told her I needed to grab more gear and that I would be back. Here’s the shocker for ya! I DID NOT HAVE MORE GEAR!
Tears are coming again as I write this. Guys, I had nothing. No backup camera, no backup lens — nothing. I had nothing. I instantly called my mom sobbing (P.S. Don’t judge me either OK — everyone needs there mom at some point or another and this my was moment along with 500 other times but that’s beside the point). I cried to her uncontrollably having no idea what I was going to do from here. I had to go back. I had to finish the shoot.
Then a thought came to my head, phone a friend! Use a lifeline. I called Bob. I have known Bob for years, we met at the local photography club here in the valley and have practically become family ever since. I adore him and his wife Jimmy so much. I explained my situation and without hesitation, he grabbed his gear and drove straight to me. I cried in his arms for a good five minutes before he said: “OK let’s go back.”
We drove back to the shoot and of course, everyone was still silent standing around starring at the pieces of broken equipment on the floor. Bob handed me his Nikon D5200. Now keep in mind that the camera I dropped was the full-frame Nikon D610. The camera Bob handed me was way older than that. It was even a crop sensor. I didn’t have another backup 105mm macro and Bob didn’t own one either so the next best thing was my nifty fifty Nikon lens. Oh, and did I mention I was shooting close up shots of eye makeup!? :) I was panicking, to say the least people.
How was I going to make these images all look the same? How was I going to keep the same great quality and consistency as the previous 100’s of photos with completely different gear? And on top of all that running thru my head, when Bob handed me his camera, my brain blanked! I had no idea how to change any setting, let alone what setting I even needed. I couldn’t move. I froze and tears started to well up in my eyes again. Bob just politely took the camera from me and asked what settings I needed. I told him my go-to ones, f/8, 1/125s, ISO 100 and white balance on flash.
He gave me back the camera and I went on to shoot for about 10 minutes before he hugged me goodbye and told me “You’re back, you got this.” No one would ever know by looking at my images that that day was a nightmare. One that still haunts me to this day. They would never know that some little girl’s heart was shattered into a million pieces and that all the while she was working the only thing she could think of was how in the heck was she going to tell Micheal that she had broken his 105mm macro lens.
I know, I know, the 105mm wasn’t mine! I couldn’t afford one at the time and the closest rental store is about an hour and a half drive both ways. My friend and fellow photographer, Michael, owned one and had let me borrow his on numerous other occasions. I immediately left when the shoot was finished and went straight to his house, again with tears in my eyes as I proceed to tell him what happened. Explaining that I would buy him a new lens tonight and have it shipped to him. He simply said, “I have insurance don’t worry…and I still have insurance on your camera body.”
Guys, this is one of those moments where all the feelings became too much that I just collapsed. Friends, and when I say friends, I mean family friends, are hard to come by. People who are willing to do everything and anything to help you succeed are hard to come by. The world, let alone the world of photography at times can be very competitive and ugly. They can instantly try to tear you down. Surrounding yourself with those who are good and kind — those who choose to love and share make the world of a difference.
Michael sent his 105mm to get fixed which ended up being covered by insurance and I to got money back from the insurance company and was able to go on and make some big changes myself. :)
Stay tuned for part two!