WD made a comment on my ELPH thread about damaging camera gear out in the field and on reflection it is a good topic to kick around here. Please share some of your stories and strategies.
As a photogrpaher since the earliest SLR film days, have indeed damaged one camera and a couple lenses. At Point Lobos State Reserve decades ago, an OM-4T rolled down maybe a 30 foot vertical shore cliff stopping near the water line. Had a local climbing shop dude bring in a rope for recovery but it was unrepairable.
Also smashed a 90mm large format lens when my big Gitzo tripod fell over due to leaving it momentarily in an unstable position. Grabbed it while falling but lens took a minor hit that left the barrel crooked.
Another time up backpacking in Pine Creek, view camera tripoded in a shallow pond, wind blew it over splashing into water and deep mud. Thankfully the fragile ground glass didn't break. Lesson learned, beware of soft muck where a tripod leg may continue to slowly sink down causing loss of balance. I fully disassembled the Wisner Expedition and lens, washing off the mud with pond water, drying it with t-shirt cotton, air drying, and a couple hours later was back taking shots. No batteries or electronics in a view camera, all mechanical.
I carry my photo gear just tossed into day packs with minimalist soft lens and camera case thus not of the dedicated camera pack stuff that I see as excessively bulky and weighty. Over decades no problemo despite rambling and climbing about lots of dangerous places. The greatest danger for serious landscape and nature photographers is a falling tripod and I am very very careful. My close-up work is done with the amazing Benbo Trekker that is especially dangerous setting up haha. Good methodical habits go a long ways over the long term.
I am sometimes working down at Pacific shores where salt water is a killer inside any digital camera or lens. Thus takes some extra cleaning gear always ready to remove splashing or salt air residues. Out in windy desert areas, blowing dust do bad things getting into lens housings and on digital sensor filters. Thus always have a Pocket Rocket and Eclipse cleaning kit in my pack.
With a tripod one needs to be very careful tightening up leg adjustments. When atop unstable locations, keep within grabbing distances if it should begin to topple. And when wandering away from even stable locations, beware of surprise wind gusts even if breezes seem minor. If I have doubts, use a weighted hook below the center column to weight it downward with daypack.
Another dangerous situation is possible submersion at stream crossings especially across logs. If there is a possibility I might fall, will often bother to separate my photo daypack from my backpack, put on a pack cover, and carry the photo gear across first before the rest. Likewise may do same with goose down sleeping bag.
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