The worst photography day of my life

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#1
Hello all.

As I sit here alone and depressed in my log cabin, belly warmed with scotch and 500 miles from home...I hope that the sharing of what is sure to be one of my worst photography days ever (certainly the worst in my 32 years so far) will be cathartic for me. I hope it allows me to sleep sufficiently well to enable me to retreat home tomorrow a day early, tail between my legs.

The plan was simple: drive to the Scottish Highlands for 3 full days of photographing some iconic locations in beautiful autumn colours. So I packed up and jumped in the car, eager to leave Bristol in the rear view mirror.

9 hours of arse achingly boring driving later and my journey from Bristol was complete. It was after dark so I just got set up in the cabin and got some sleep.

Day 1 was tough, starting with a punishing hike up Bienn a' Chrulaiste for sunrise. I am coming down with a cold and the route I took was STEEP...I got some shots I am happy with, but I paid the price. I was knacked and felt awful to the point I had to just come back to base camp and have a nap. The rest of the day was relatively uneventful as I managed a nice sunset shot near Arisaig. Overall a decent day, no disasters.

Day 2 (today) and I headed out to Rannoch Moor to have a look around. I had decided to do more exploring as I'd missed some of the previous day through napping...and it started well. I got a few nice shots from wandering into the Moor, then disaster number 1. Out of nowhere my leg disappeared into knee high mud and was stuck. Luckily my other leg was free, but as much as I tried the stuck leg was not coming out. I decided to pull my leg free sans welly, and try to retrieve the boot after....to no avail. I just couldn't grip the thing no matter how hard I tried. Another welly lost to the depths. I made the luckily short walk back to the car and replaced the lost welly with a walking boot (incidentally I maintained the mismatched shoes for the rest of the day due to the woeful inadequacy of a walking boot on wet bog).

I brushed myself off and carried on, determined not to get too down.

I made my way into Glen Etive, which is stunning. Photographic opportunity everywhere. From the road I noticed a beautiful formation of birch trees set against the yellow and orange leaves of autumn bushes, so I stopped the car and started making my way over what appeared to be solid ground. All of a sudden, my other leg dissapeared into the ground. s***, I thought...not again! Luckily this time it was just water so I managed to get free pretty easily. I had kept the boot, but lost my remaining dry sock....I grabbed the shot and very gingerly walked back to the car.

As I was making my way out of the Glen I noticed one last shot to grab, where a river forms a nice S bend leading towards a mountain stack. I worked the composition, camera in hand, until I found the perfect place. So I set the tripod up and clipped the camera in (a Nikon D810 with 16-35 lens) . I turned to grab a different lens and out the corner of my eye saw the camera topple of its perch. It had not been clipped in correctly so fell forward, crashing to the rocks below In what seemed like slow motion it bounced towards the river...please no I thought...splash! It settled in about 3 inches of water for what couldn't have been more than a couple of seconds as I leaped towards it to grab it out. Immediately I turned it off and removed the battery, the comprehension of what had just happen yet to sink in.

Only time will tell what damage has been done, but for sure my polariser and Nisi filter adaptor are kaput - I can only hope the images on the cards are fine.

For the icing on the cake, as I was driving back to my cabin my engine management light came on which will make my drive home interesting...nothing like a game of car roulette!

...so I have just filled out a repair form with Wex and am leaving a day early, well and truly chewed up and spat out by Scotland. Hopefully the bill won't be too high, and hopefully I will be back soon (with a new, less s*** tripod head and some new wellies).
 
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Jim
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#3
Some day's you're the statue, some days you're the pigeon.

I hope you get home safely and return one day with new wellies and a waterproof camera..................and your big coat to keep you warm :)
 
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#4
Crumbs, what trip it turned out be :(

At least gear can be repaired........

I hope you have a safe and uneventful journey home.
 
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Ray
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#6
At lead least you went out an tried.
Strange how we remember the bad stuff in slow motion. but the good stuff is over in a flash.
 
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jo
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#7
Wasn't a Monfrotto head you had on, with that horrible plate system of their's

I was out at Watchet doing some sunset photography, stood waiting for the others, had taken my camera off the tripod, then clipped it back in, so I thought, as I was chatting to my mate, the camera fell off the tripod hitting the deck, the Camera was my Canon R, with my 24-70mm 2.8 Art lens...

Did I feel sick and very shaky picking it up of the paving, but thankfully all working fine, appart from a dent/scratch where the strap connects to the camera, no other damage.
 
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Alan
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#8
Golly. I feel for you.

I found a compact camera on Redcar beach a while back. It looked like it had been there some time and it must have been bounced about in the sea as it was in a state with the lens and half the front smashed off. I didn't bother with the camera as it was obviously useless but I removed the card and stuck it in my pocket and when I got home I found thousands of pictures on it and one was a picture of an expense form with the organisation and the name of the person who'd filled it out clearly visible so I got in touch with the organisation hoping to return the card to its owner but I never heard back from them.

Anyway, if a card can survive all that sea water and sand and bashing about I think there's hope for yours as it was only in the water a short time.

Hope you can rescue something from the day and succeed another day! :D
 
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John
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#9
Sorry to read about your misfortunes :oops: :$ Look on the bright side, this was a low point, but they'll be plenty of good days ahead.
 
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Bazza
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#10
Know the feeling when I dropped my Nikon D800 and caused quite a bit of damage to it. First of all it allowed me ( with er indoors permission) to get a D810 while it was being repaired. Also the very first thing is, on goes the Peak Design neck/shoulder strap , even when using a tripod, don't want that to happen again. Another bonus of having the d800 repaired was being able to get the colour red correct, always struggled before, think the colour was wrong in the camera somehow before.
Hope your camera comes back like new, mine did
 
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Keith
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#11
The boot getting lost to the mud brought back some memories for me ... we will always laugh later on, good pub stories, but at the time you feel a bit "wtf has led my life to this?" - hope you managed to recoup the images at least, and you will laugh about it and tell the story in the bar many a time ahead ;)
 
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#12
Just joined the forum and this was the first thread I read :) Reminds me of an incident that happened to me back in 2003.

A very large bushfire entered the suburbs of Canberra, the capital of Australia, in January 2003 destroying about 500 homes and killing several people.

I was tasked with taking photographs of the aftermath from a helicopter. I was strapped into a harness and sitting out the side with my feet on the skids. I was using, I think, a pair of Canon 1D (or similar first generation pro DSLR cameras).

I had the camera clipped to my harness, it was quite secure. After some time I unclipped the camera so that I could hand it to the observer and he could hand me the other camera. Not exactly sure what went happened, but my camera went tumbling out of the helicopter down into a burnt out urban area.

We were about 3,000 feet up and the camera seemed to fall for about an hour until it drifted out of sight near the ground. The pilot said he would land the helicopter so that I could look for the camera. I told him not to bother, as seeing the remains of the camera would only upset me :) Fortunately I had been swapping memory cards fairly often, so didn't loose many shots.

The only saving grace - it was a Government camera, not mine :)
 
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#13
In the film days, in this case early 1970's I went on a rock & ice climbing group trip to the Austrian Alps (covering the Stubiaer & Otztaler Alps) for the trip I bought a second hand Voigtlander rangefinder thinking it would be tough enough for the odd knock or two in its leather ERC!

Suffice to say it was not ~ traversing a rocky ice slope, the thing swung round and struck the rock face..... .checking it later it was wrecked. Thankfully, about 6 weeks after the trip another group member sent me about a dozen copy slides of some of the best high alpine views we had all enjoyed :)

PS the trip did have another non photographic incident.....it had snowed heavily the night before so our guide took us up a winter route.....after approx 3 hours slog we reached a Col. We were in two groups, the one ahead by about 50 feet above us had paused so the following group that I was in also stopped.

Unfortunately, the first group had triggered an avalanche......it hit the second group and took us all over the 300ft snow&ice covered face we had just climbed landing us in the snowfield below. I don't recall much about the descent but thankfully all bar one of us was completely unhurt, somewhat shocked for sure but OK.

A mountain rescue team and a doctor who was climbing with his guide approx 1 mile off attended. The guy that was injured could not be airlifted off due to low cloud and the quickest way down for him was on an old style cable lift that delivered him to the valley floor.....where he was then taken by ambulance to Innsbruck hospital, he had a ruptured spleen :(

We visited him a few days later when we returned to Innsbruck before switching to the other 'range'. I think he returned to the UK about 2 weeks later (after we had all finished the trip).

It was a great trip though with an event I would never like to repeat.....I may not have had the pictures I intended to photograph myself but the highlights have stuck with me :LOL:

I did keep up rock climbing for a couple more years but then stopped for other reasons.
 
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Richard
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#14
Crikey, sorry to hear of your ‘adventures’, hope the engine light was just a test. Maybe getting knackered on the first day contributed to the problems on later days.
 
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Tom
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#16
Not good. Sorry to hear!

Hope all is well.

I was going to go up to Scotland next week from Manchester, in the end I’ve decided the lakes will probably have better colours in a smaller area so going there. Scotland is so vast!
 
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#17
Next time wear waders at least then you won't lose a welly :LOL:

Shame to hear about the camera and car, hope it all gets sorted easily enough. The moors up here in Scotland can be quite tricky to navigate.
 
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Gary
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#18
Being a Scot and having all this gorgeousness on my doorstep all I can tell you is, she is a beautiful mistress but she can turn on you and slap you down when you least expect it.
My apologies on her behalf. She can be a bit of a minx. Dont let it put you off though. As we say "Haste ye back" :welcome:
 
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Dale.
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#19
Hello all.



Day 2 (today) and I headed out to Rannoch Moor to have a look around. I had decided to do more exploring as I'd missed some of the previous day through napping...and it started well. I got a few nice shots from wandering into the Moor, then disaster number 1. Out of nowhere my leg disappeared into knee high mud and was stuck. Luckily my other leg was free, but as much as I tried the stuck leg was not coming out. I decided to pull my leg free sans welly, and try to retrieve the boot after....to no avail. I just couldn't grip the thing no matter how hard I tried. Another welly lost to the depths. I made the luckily short walk back to the car and replaced the lost welly with a walking boot (incidentally I maintained the mismatched shoes for the rest of the day due to the woeful inadequacy of a walking boot on wet bog).

I brushed myself off and carried on, determined not to get too down.
It's a small world, and I have a funny feeling I met you when you were in that predicament, I helped a guy out of the mud as best I could, even deserting my precariously placed camera to rush over. The said welly is lost to the moors forever. I feared you might not get out at all and I think the welly loss was a fair outcome as the moor can bite hard.

Please don't be put off, yes, Scotland can bite, especially The Highlands but it is a beautiful place and mishaps are rare.

I hope you get your other woes sorted with no problems and hopefully, at least your cards will have survived so you have some of the good memories to keep forever.
 
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Jon
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#21
It could be worse, when I was about 8 my dad took me out to photograph part of a local disused canal. Located one of the locks that looked to be full of soil to 2’ from the top and he stepped onto it to take a photo, only to find the local cattle farmer had been using it as a slurry pit and sunk to his waist....
 
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Andy Into The Wild
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#22
Hi all thanks for the comments - I fed my car some oil and she was very well behaved thankfully! I also just booted up the memory card and the images are all safe and sound, so it wasn't a completely wasted trip! I will post a couple of the images in here when I've had a good sleep and time to reflect & edit them.

@Box Brownie wow that sounds terrifying, glad no one was seriously injured or worse!

@Dale. if it was near to the "classic" waterfall and tree shot of Buachaille Etive Mor and your tripod was on the rocks to the left, then yes I think it was me...that's amazing, a small world indeed, and thanks for your help! :) To be honest it doesn't even matter if it was me or someone else...like the circle of life, people stuck in the mud and people helping them out are all connected as one :LOL:
 
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Robert
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#23
Hi all thanks for the comments - I fed my car some oil and she was very well behaved thankfully! I also just booted up the memory card and the images are all safe and sound, so it wasn't a completely wasted trip! I will post a couple of the images in here when I've had a good sleep and time to reflect & edit them.

@Box Brownie wow that sounds terrifying, glad no one was seriously injured or worse!

@Dale. if it was near to the "classic" waterfall and tree shot of Buachaille Etive Mor and your tripod was on the rocks to the left, then yes I think it was me...that's amazing, a small world indeed, and thanks for your help! :) To be honest it doesn't even matter if it was me or someone else...like the circle of life, people stuck in the mud and people helping them out are all connected as one :LOL:
It definitely was you.
I was with Dale, but didn't see the incident, but I did see you wandering about with a welly on one foot and a walking boot on the other.
Glad you got home safely. :)
 
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Dale.
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#24
@Dale. if it was near to the "classic" waterfall and tree shot of Buachaille Etive Mor and your tripod was on the rocks to the left, then yes I think it was me...that's amazing, a small world indeed, and thanks for your help! :) To be honest it doesn't even matter if it was me or someone else...like the circle of life, people stuck in the mud and people helping them out are all connected as one :LOL:

yip, twas me.
 
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Adrian
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#27
Those peat bogs can be killers (literally). I was up in a very remote spot in the northern Dales this week at an hour when there was not a soul within 10 miles. I was off piste and 1 leg disappeared into a green moss covered bog of the boggiest variety. I had the D810 in my hand and the dog lead in the other. The dog stopped, I fell backwards (camera in the air) toward firmer ground and managed to pull out. If both feet went in it really could have been game over. A gent I knew perished in the Bowland fells and was found in a peat bog. Take care out there......................
 
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Andy Into The Wild
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#29
Those peat bogs can be killers (literally). I was up in a very remote spot in the northern Dales this week at an hour when there was not a soul within 10 miles. I was off piste and 1 leg disappeared into a green moss covered bog of the boggiest variety. I had the D810 in my hand and the dog lead in the other. The dog stopped, I fell backwards (camera in the air) toward firmer ground and managed to pull out. If both feet went in it really could have been game over. A gent I knew perished in the Bowland fells and was found in a peat bog. Take care out there......................
Wow scary stuff - is there a good source for safety out there to help us spot, avoid and get out of these types of situations?
 
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Toni
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#30
Glad you made it back safe & sound Andy, and you even have the pictures in the bag. Don't let it put you off - plan the next trip soon.
 
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Dale.
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#31
is there a good source for safety out there to help us spot, avoid and get out of these types of situations?
From bitter experience ( yes'it's happened to me too, twice ) just be aware of your surroundings and I always look at the ground before I take steps onto it, I do it subconsciously now.

If it looks sketchy, avoid!

It can be difficult looking at these bogs from the surface though as to just how deep they might be, it may just be centimetres or it could swallow you.

Best advice I can give is always tread lightly, every step, on soggy ground, you'll soon do it without even thinking about it. (y)
 
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Dominic
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#32
And I was p***ed off that I'd lost my viewfinder eye cup thingy in the woods the other day. I hope all is well with your camera.
 
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#34
I had a similar eventful trip from the South Coast to Scotland a few years back. I went with the intention shooting Sea Eagles, it started to go wrong whilst trying to find a B&B, reversed into a very low handrail that I couldn't see and acquired a huge dent in the bootlid. Thought I'll grab a steam train shot on the Glenfinnan viaduct while I'm here before moving onto Skye the next day, lost an eyecup climbing to a vantage point and fell over on the way down, thankfully I had an automatic so after eventually hobbling back to the car a trip to Fort William A& E for an X ray. Phoned the wife to recount the tale who wasn't keen on me continuing my adventure so next day a long drive back south.

I think both these tales stress the importance of taking a bit of care particularly if you are alone and in a remote location, and ensure someone knows where you have gone and can raise an alarm should it be necessary.
 
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#35
@Andy Into The Wild

I am glad your efforts at least showed in the files on the card and that the car behaved on the journey home :)

As for the incident I described, there was no time to be terrified..........plenty of "what if's" back in the hut that evening and in the days after. During the period we were waiting for assistance, it was realised we were fortunate to have stopped/come to rest where we had as one of the "what if's" was the bergschrund (crevasse) a few metres further out!
 
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Garry Edwards
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#36
Sorry that this happened to you, personally I've never had either the talent or dedication for your type of photography.

But, it could have been much worse. It might be worth mentioning what3words, which is a fairly new free app, perfect for navigating to hard-to-find places where a postcode will only bring you to within a few miles of where you need to be, and invaluable in a dangerous situation, which you could easily have ended up in..

Basically, the entire planet is divided up into 3 x 3m squares. Press the button and the app gives you 3 words. Give those words to the emergency service you need and they can't fail to find you. No better really than a grid reference, but without the risk of error.
 
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Adrian
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#37
Good point re What3Words. Also note that if your phone shows 'no service' and you dial 112 or 999, it will jump on any available network to make the call if possible.
May also be worth registering your phone number with the emergency services for other situations where a text request for help is more appropriate. Also in areas where signal is very poor, sending a text may be more prudent as it only takes a micro second to send whereas a call requires a sustained period of service.

As for avoiding bogs, I guess looking where you are going is one tip but some are disguised so a walking pole could be your friend if you are in such areas to test the ground ahead.

1. Send the word ‘register’ in an SMS message to 999
2. You will then receive SMS messages about the service
3. When you have read these SMS messages reply by sending ‘yes’ in an SMS message to 999
4. You will receive a SMS message telling you that your mobile phone is registered or if there is a problem with your registration.
 
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Andy Into The Wild
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#38

Gremlin

*looks down* Yep, I'm a girl!
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Ingrid
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#39
Really love that last one, but what a disaster

On my previous the engine management light used to come on if a brake light bulb went and sometimes
for no reason whatsoever, it used to go out a few days later without doing anything, never effected the running of the car
 
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Tommy
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#40
A good few years ago I headed of for the weekend with my wife for our wedding anniversary. We booked ourselves into a nice hotel in the Fermanagh lakelands. At the time I had a Nikon D7000 and had just gotten a Sigma 10-20mm lens a few days before. So of course I wanted to try out the new lens so I set the camera up on a tripod at the end of a jetty. My wife asked me something and as I turned around to answer I knocked the tripod with attached camera and lens straight into Lough Erne.

Now I can't swim, but not thinking I jumped into the Lough to retrieve the camera luckily enough it wasn't that deep. The camera and lens was completely destroyed though and it obviously put a bit of a dampner on our weekend.

On the way home I stopped into a local shop and bought a D700, which at the time I had been wanting for a long while but hadn't bought as the missus would normally not have been amused. She could see how annoyed I was about losing the other gear though so let this one slide.
 
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