Friday, July 27, 2007

"Did I break your camera?" – Yes.

I was sent out to Fox Cities Stadium for a fun assignment. Lance Parrish, formerly a baseball great with the Detroit Tigers, is now manager of a farm team called the Great Lakes Loons. I'm not sure that's a title I'd willingly accept, but to each his own.

We wanted to do a short story on him and my job was to get a shot of him.

And it pours.
Cats and dogs.
Torrential downpour.
And then there is lightning.

Oddly the umps don't call or suspend the game. I'm severely under-lensed (only a 400mm for a tight-ish shot along the third-baseline... needed at least 560-600mm) and because I've got my AquaTech camera-coats on for protection, it's not convenient at all to change lenses. They're great raincoats for cameras but it's hard to change anything once they're put on.

So I'm stuck in the rain.
It is seeping through my raincoat.
My pants are soaked.
My socks are soaked.
My shoes – leather – are shriveling.
I'm not getting exactly the shot that I want.
It is lightning.
I'm basically holding a 25-pound camera rig mounted to a lightning-rod.

And then, my shutter blows.

A shutter blowing is actually quite magical and mysterious. You never see it coming. You see symptoms (white streaks), but you instantly begin denying that it's actually happening to you. It sneaks up on you. Before you know it, you have black diagonal chunks in your images... the silhouette of the mangled shutter within your overpriced light-tight box. Without a functioning shutter, you don't have a functioning camera. It's a $300 repair.

It just wasn't my night. I went back to the office to turn in my faulty camera and some mediocre images. I found this frame in the mix...

What you see here is the white streak that somehow indicates the shutter is killing itself slowly with each frame. For some reason it looks like the baserunner is watching Scotty beam-up Lance Parrish to Starship Enterprise.

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