I dropped a lens.

Mary Dougherty

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I'm a fine art film photographer living in the mountains and traveling to tell beautiful stories

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It was the end of a long day. 8-10 hours of action, capturing each moment and being on your toes demands all of you. So, at the end of one wedding when I was feeling tired – yet accomplished from successfully documenting the day – and I made a terrible decision. I tried to carry everything at once.

It’s silly to assume it’s possible, but you will often find me trying to bring all of the groceries in as few trips as possible, carrying all our suitcases to the car, or generally juggling more than I can handle if it involves trips and carrying things. I don’t know why. There is no frozen tundra to brave, crossfire to dodge or other external circumstance to consider when I make these decisions.

I gathered up my bags, light stand and slung one camera around my body as I picked them up and slowly walked towards the car. As I precariously balanced a bag sitting on my shoulder I could see in slow motion – if not anticipate the action – of the bag slipping off my arm and on to the ground. I couldn’t do anything about it (my hands full) but the bag fell and the sound of glass breaking was heard. I thought my life might be over.

Lifting the flap of the bag I pulled out my 70-200 f/2.8 IS II (aka most expensive lens) and heard the glass clinking around in the bottom. Did I just shatter a lens because of my stupidity and unwillingness to take multiple trips to the car? I looked closer to see that it was the UV filter on the end of the lens that broke to pieces, and in doing so scratched the outer surface of the lens. I quickly tested the lens on my camera to reveal that the scratches did not show up in the images… they were far enough on the periphery. However, could something like this be fixed? Would it get worse? Will I ever learn? I pondered those questions as I drove off with a sinking feeling in my stomach. I only cried about the situation once I happened upon a family of geese crossing the road on my way home and witnessed a car colliding with one of the little ones. That was the breaking point. I called Matt sobbing about the lens, the baby geese and the meaning of life.

Months later I can tell this story. I sent the lens in for repair and a few hundred dollars later is was as good as new. I know I’m not alone in making silly mistakes like this, and now you know you’re not alone either!

hooray! it’s back good as new. jasper + lexi are excited too.

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