Think Tank Photo

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Print Eating Dog, the Tie Eating Print Processor and the Naked Fire Shooter Stories Win the Think Tank Photo Halloween Contest!

The print eating dog, the tie eating print processor and the naked fire shooter stories are all winners of the Think Tank Photo Halloween Contest!

Thanks to our sponsor Think Tank Photo for providing consolation prizes for our second and third place winners, Sandy Levy and Phelan M. Ebenhack.

The judges were The Miami Herald staff photographers Charles Trainor Jr., Emily and Walt Michot.

We all seem to have the same nightmares, no equipment to capture the decisive moment, loss of precious rolls of film during processing, stolen or busted up cameras and a few twisted stories that make us cringe or rolling in tears with laughter.

Thanks for all the entries and pleasant dreams!

First Place
Roy Viera said...
Couple years ago I was shooting a 15's party for a customer. I suggested to the customer it would be a good idea to have a 16x20 photo at the party location with a 3.5 inch white matting around said photo. The idea was great, everyone was signing the white frame including relatives from Cuba that were here only for the party. After the party, I took the photo with the completed matting signed by everyone that was at the party. The purpose of me taking it was to get it framed. When I got home, I placed the matted, signed picture on my kitchen table. Several minutes later I heard loud ripping sounds coming from my kitchen area. My twin basset hound dogs had taken the matted picture and made it their personal chew toy. The picture and matting was destroyed along with every signature from every person that attended the party. I was at a loss for words, and almost ended up in urgent care. I had no words for the client except to bring the truth which was my dogs ate it. I ended up doing the entire shoot, including printed photos and wall frame for free. Still it was not enough to ease the grieving process.

Second Place
Sandy Levy said...
Hi Al, You asked for my worst photographic related nightmare. How about this? I was chief photographer for a daily newspaper in the late '60s into the early '70s. Way before digital. At that time we were using stabilization processors to get our B&W prints out quickly to the camera room for screening for the offset presses. Well, I always wore a tie...and my tie got caught in the stabilization machine while making prints on a tight deadline. I managed to reach the switch to turn off the machine just as my neck was about 4 inches away from the entrance rollers. Now I had to figure out how to extricate myself from this situation and no one else was there in the darkroom. I could not reach the wall phone in the darkroom (no cell phones then). I reached and reached and just barely managed to reach a scissors on the countertop. I was then able to cut off my tie about 2 inches below my neck! Whew! It was close and I had nightmares about that for quite a while. (Al, OK...you can stop laughing now...)!

Third Place
I have a recurring nightmare, where my neighbor's house is on fire in the middle of the night. I leap out of bed, rush outside to photograph the news, and after photographing the whole event, with firefighters and bystanders all around, I suddenly realize that I have been naked the whole time! Oh, the horror! I then wake up in a cold sweat! (By the way, I don't sleep naked!) : )

Jose Iglesias said…
My nightmare is having to edit Al Diaz and Jared Lazarus during a never ending NBA Finals series.

Mark Elias said...
This really happened, and then I had dreams about it for weeks after:
Was interning one summer in Washington DC for a long departed senator, back in 1977. I was also a freelancer for a religious magazine, whose leader was going to visit the White House for a sit down with Jimmy Carter. Being a young punk college kid, I was at the back of the queue to get into the office for the 1 minute photo op. All my heroes were in front of me: Dirck Halstead, Bernie Boston, Bob Daugherty, and on and on. They call us in and everyone runs into position to start shooting.Being at the back of the pack, I scrambled in, set my bag down on a chair and started shooting. Seemingly 30-seconds later they make the call for lights meaning the session was over and we were to get out. I was near the end of the pack of journos leaving, but I noticed the President and his guests were still standing when they should have already sat down. As I got closer to leave, I think I saw the reason why: I put my camera bag in the chair that was reserved for the president himself.
It kept replaying in my head for weeks!

Tom Burton said...
My nightmares featured a spot news event, always involving explosions and fire. I am frantically trying to load film into the camera, but can’t. I know plenty of other photographers have this dream, but mine adds one more level of anxiety. As I fumble with my gear, a competing photographers blasts past me in his SUV, jumping in there and getting the pictures making me an even bigger loser. Then I wake up.
Years later I had a really odd variation on the nightmare. In the dream, I was photographing a menu item at a beachside restaurant and then a ship of refugees sinks offshore. I get the photos, everything works, amazing moments, the right lens . . . everything! I call back to the office to the photo editor and she says, “That’s nice, but we don’t have room for the photos in tomorrow’s paper.” Ouch.

Doing a Thanksgiving shoot with my cat, Lorenzo, at Fuch’s Park in South Miami. Got there at 6am on a quiet Sunday morning. Set up my tablecloth, flowers, and pumpkins on a park bench right beside the lake. Got Lorenzo dressed in his corduroy jacket, sat him on the bench, kneeled down in front him, and started shooting. All of a sudden and out of nowhere, a Doberman comes lunging toward us. Lorenzo bolts, climbs up a tree, and is hanging from a limb over the lake. I run to the bank of the lake, reach up and try to get him down, and SPLASH—I slip and fall into the lake. The lake has alligators. Need I say more?

Doug Benc said...
After receiving my assignment to shoot the Super Bowl, I plan my trip and take care of all the details to ensure I have all the equipment necessary to shoot the game. I make my flight and check into the hotel. The concierge calls a taxi for me and I load my Think Tank Airport Security into the back of the taxi and we make off for the venue. Upon my arrival at the venue, I check in and go through security and make my way onto the field. After I set up my computer, I receive a call telling me that the publication I am shooting for is relying on me as their sole shooter. The other photographers were delayed by weather and would not make the game. I hear the national anthem so I unzip my Think Tank bag to find it empty and missing all my equipment. That always seems to wake me in time to get a drink of water and wipe the sweat from my forehead as I take a deep breath and realize; it's only a dream!! I could do without that dream though!!

Mark Foley
said...
I am covering a Shuttle launch from my usual
AP-assigned position on "the tower." Beautiful launch takes place, duly recorded. All other photogs have vacated the tower and are patiently waiting for me in the KSC van. All my gear is packed up neatly for the ride back to the Press Site. As I head down the ladder, the Shuttle had to do emergency launch-escape loop and is just above the ground as it's headed towards me-all I can do, hanging on the ladder, is watch as it pulls up right over me and I HAVE NO CAMERA that I can get to quick enough to record the event!!! One of those real nightmares of a professional without a camera.

Chainsaw said...
My worst nightmare is losing my sight - going out to shoot a game and finding I can't see any more :( Naturally I'm distraught and my whole life is shattered. Imagine that for a photographer, here's hoping I can see enpough to photograph until I no longer have the need.

MLWadester said…
I always have the nightmare that I'm going out for a big shoot. Lots of lights, batteries, cards, lenses, umbrellas, the whole rig. I get there and start setting everything up, I get all of my lights positioned just right and my lenses in line and then look around to realize that I don't have any bodies and the only body I can find is "Uncle Bob'" Canon Rebel with the kit lens on it and all of my stuff is Nikon. Then I end up shooting the event with said Rebel and never get another job ever...ever.

My first digital location shoot. I prepare a check list to assure I don’t slip up. The usual, client based gear packed, batteries charged, umbrellas/boxes/stands/triggers cleaned and packed, Plenty of memory cards cleaned and ready, etc. I was excited, first digi shoot, had a great attitude. I show up to the location, evaluate light, start to set up. I have a person sit in so I can do a few test shots. Try to click a few frames and NOTHING. Took a few minutes to figure out I had forgotten those cleaned memory cards at the office. I had to delay the shoot and find some memory cards on the fly. Not the greatest start, the end results everyone was happy.

I can think of a lot of "Photo Nightmares" and several that have come true.
First there is Dropping an un-insured 400mm f/2.8 and N90s Body into a deep lake, while shooting a BASS Masters tournament (and the guy celebrating catching the winning fish was on the roll of film in the camera currently residing under 100ft of water.)
-- Something close to this actually happened. Was shooting the above event when a rouge boat wake shook the boat I was shooting from, and bumped us onto a submerged tree trunk. Boat shook, I lost my footing on the wet deck, and the camera and I went crashing down. The body and lens got about 2" from the water before I got a good grip on the monopod, fortunately the only casualty was the SB-25 whose hot shoe broke off. I was young (18), just starting out, the only camera I had was the N90s, the lens was borrowed from the paper I was freelancing for, and I had no insurance on my gear. The potential disaster caused me to have nightmares, even after I had insurance. --

Then there are the standard... power goes out, no alarm clock, oversleep big assignment... Shoot some amazing spot news image, only to find out no film was in the camera, etc… (none of these has actually ever happened to me)

However, I think for me, the worst nightmare was something that came true, and almost took me away from photography forever. I Spent two-years freelancing, four-years in college for a PJ degree from WKU, won awards, interned, did everything the way I was told I should... Then upon graduating spent all of my savings on sending out really nice, hand-made portfolios to editors every daily paper I wanted to work for with an open staff position. No one called back. After a year, when I was really low, a staff position became available at the mid-size daily I grew up reading and idolizing. My father started his career in photography there as a staffer in the mid 70s, before I was born. I had been freelancing for them for the past seven years (two solid years before I went to college, every winter break, spring break, and holiday that brought me back home, and a year after college while I was applying for staff positions,) so I thought this was a done deal. I submitted my portfolio, after a few weeks the DoP told me I was at the top of his list. Then a week later, called me to come into their office. They suggested we go take a walk, "I want to hire you… you deserve this, and I know what it means to you.." was the first thing out of their mouth, which was followed by "…but, I've been told by the higher ups that due to newsroom diversity policies, I have to go with my second choice." Upon hearing this my world came crashing down. I didn't touch a camera for at-least a month, and when I finally did I felt dirty, cheap and used. I had nightmares about it, every night for three months (and still do from time-to-time, four years later.) After months of soul searching I finally came to a place where I was finding small amounts of happiness in shooting photos again. Through this, my path through a career in photography hasn't taken me down the road I thought it would and it keeps forcing me to take un-expected turns, which I would have never expected to take before that conversation.

While this experience was a nightmare on a level I couldn't have imagined, and caused actual nightmares I was able to grow from it. Once you hear a "NO" on that level the little "no's" don't seem to matter any more, and I feel fortunate to have had that early on in my career, instead of later.

My worst photographic nightmare was the night before I shot a wedding I dreamt that while I was at the end of the reception and still shooting away I decided to check and see how many images I had left to shoot in my card but the counter had reset to 999. When I pressed the play button to review the images I had shot, the display showed: No images on card! I think my heart must have skipped a beat because as I was trying to figure out why I woke up and was glad it was all just a bad dream...waiting to happen.

Tom White said…
I switched to digital quite late - but people were always asking for help with their new pocket digital cameras. Several years ago, while on holiday with friends I was handed a small compact digital camera. The owner wanted to know if they had it set to the highest quality. Navigating the unfamiliar menus I came across a 'format' option. Thinking this meant 'file format', I pressed it. With no warning, the card in the camera got promptly formatted, wiping the poor lady's holiday snaps. Let's just say my reputation as a photographer was severely tarnished among the (rather large) group of friends present and cries of "Don't let Tom touch your camera!" are still heard to this day. The story does have a happy ending though, as incredibly many of the photos were recovered by a tech savvy friend and today I am even trusted to teach digital photography!
Oh yeah, and there was the time I left that Leica M6 in the back of a taxi while incredibly drunk. Never did get that back. Ouch.

22bad4u said…
My worst nightmare happened back in 1984 when I was covering The Royal Scots 350th Year of the Regiment, in front of Her Majesty the Queen & Our New Colonel In Chief Princess Anne. Although I was doing this with another Photographer I was using 2 cameras one Color Slide Film and the other B&W, Half way through the Parade I realized I must be near the end of the spool of the color film, when I suddenly realized I made the mistake of all mistakes an not loaded the camera with film. Needless to say I got a ribbing for weeks to come, but I also got good images from the rest of the parade.
This one happened to me back in summer of 2002.
I'm on my way to Mongolia with two cameras, three hundred rolls of film and a free month to spend photographing. Tremendously privileged to have the time and space for this, I've just graduated college, a little grant has helped fund me and my parents' frequent flyer miles covered the flight as a graduation present. I've got a little note for my layover in Beijing, handwritten by a friend in Chinese saying "Hello, I am a photography student, please hand check my film rather than running it through the X ray machine, thank you" - or at least that's what she told me she wrote.

At any rate, trip seems like it's off a good start, and I've got a full day 's layover in Beijing, so I check into a hostel and go for a big long walk around the town. It is hot, it is sweaty, it is polluted as all get-out. I cover a lot of ground and come back exhausted.
The next morning, I wake up, and I can't open my eyes. Turns out they are completely crusted shut with pus. Pretty nasty. I'd never had pink-eye or anything like it before so it was pretty terrifying. After a wash in the sink it was totally fine, but for a few short moments it was scary and I couldn't help but wonder what I was going to do with myself and my time and my film if I couldn't even open my eyes...

Nasty pus-filled eyes will forever be my first association with Beijing, although I've heard that the air quality's gotten better there. Images from that trip are at - http://www.jjtiziou.net/jj/portfolio/mongolia

Oh and there's also the time that I was shooting up in Manhattan two days after the Sept 11 attacks. I was still in undergrad, shooting for our student paper. We'd just gotten our first digital cameras, I think they were nikon d1h models... First real assignment using them, and those early models did this infuriating thing where if you flicked the power off then it would loose everything in the buffer... I'd trained myself so well with my f100s to always flick the power off to save batteries, and I lost countless shots that day because my muscle memory just kept turning the camera off... that was kind of painful. But of course pretty trivial by the scale of the pain that surrounded us up there.

Milana said…
I always keep all of my CF cards in a little pouch that I put in my camera bag. But after uploading the pics, I sometimes forget to put the pouch back into my bag. So I had this dream one night before one of my biggest weddings...I am shooting getting ready shots, bridal party, the church and then the Ceremony starts. When the ceremony is almost finished and the B&G were going for their first kiss, I snapped like 10 shots. I was so happy, then I decided to look at the screen to make sure I got at least 1 good one, only to find out that I don't have a CF card at all in the camera!! Not only that, I realized at the moment that I left my pouch at home and don't have a single memory card! Ahhhh! Needless to say, I was SOOOO happy when I woke up and realized it was just a nightmare :)

Jeremy said...
It doesn't take many words to tell this dream I have had over and over. I am finally getting to shoot my first NFL game. I shoot the entire first half and when I go to edit my images..... I find there is no card in my camera. Ever since i have had that dream, i always double check my cameras.

PhotoNews said...
After talking to a longtime sparring partner who I had not seen in years and whose son was running at a local meet, I was making my way to the pole vault pit on the other side of the track. Not paying attention to where I was going I tripped, pummeling downward on to the football field, on the exposed edge of the home team's sideline carpet. Decades of martial arts training saved my body from injury.
The scary part was unfortunately, the Canon 1dm2 in my right hand, attached to a 500mm f4.5 and mono-pod, did not enjoy the same fate.

The mono-pod snapped in two pieces from the weight of my hand and body weight. Amazingly enough, the lens received a minor scratch near the camera mount and actually, I swear to this day still focuses faster and sharper after the fall. The camera body (as can be seen here: http://iphotonews.blogspot.com/2010/03/world-famous.html) on the other hand was another story. The lens mount in the camera was peeled out the body and the entails left exposed looking like a freak T-1000 (aka Terminator I). After the fall, the camera still powered up although the AF was probably a little off and I could still review images on the card. I'm betting if used it though I would have over-exposed every frame .

I called CPS to see if the could repair it. I emailed them a photo and they said send it in. I kind of was hoping they'd want it for their library and trade me for a newer IIn body. Instead they returned it, likely photographing if for their files, enclosed with a note saying it was beyond economical repair. Unfortunately, when they returned it, it no longer would power up.

And yes, I still have the camera. After all it made me famous :-)

Anonomous
An alien invasion on earth & all the electronics are fried along with my camera........

Pol said... http://whiteforgephotos.blogspot.com/
I had my camera bag on my shoulder walking through a shopping centre. A very impatient "gentleman" walked straight into me, causing my bag to drop onto the ground. A quick check and everything looked ok. Later, trying to shoot with my 50mm 1.8, it wouldn't focus, then came apart in my hands. Now, every time before a big shoot, I have nightmares that one of my L-series lenses will do the same! I keep waking during the night to check the state of my lenses ;)

Shaokee said...
my worst photographic nightmare was that I lost my memory card for a wedding assignment. Lost the card at the wedding itself, I informed the bride, groom and guests of my situation so that I can get help in finding the card, but everyone was constantly blaming me and it just killed every bit of my confidence and reputation. Ugh.
and now I’m always paranoid.

Steve Dozier said…
My actual repeated nightmare was driving down the road and seeing a major airline disaster occur...but (as only in the mind of a journalist) that wasn't the nightmare part. The nightmare part was that I couldn't find my camera...

Wow Al! That first nightmare really happened to me in Miami--it was some big news story, it involved at least six rolls of film. I pulled the developer tap, of course no fixer smell, filled the long stainless tank--then went to the newsroom real quick, returned to properly pour the developer out---and correctly smelled fixer. Needless to say, the other photographer's picture was the one displayed next day. My nightmare came true and I still think of it today!!

Harry Fichner said…
When in high school I thought it would be a prank to pour Ansco direct sepia toner betwee darkroom. The immediate foaming and bubbling produced extremely strong hydrogen sulphide gas emptying his parents and us from the small home. Actually went on to put the prank to better uses later but that's a story not to share here. Immaturity at best! (circa 1959!)

My worst photographic nightmare was a real experience. In my first photo class, not knowing anything about processing, students were paired into teams to learn developing. Not clearly thinking, I opened a fellow student's film canister in full light of the classroom (we only had a changing bag, no darkroom). Stunned, I immediately figured out that no one else realized what I had just done. My nightmare was telling my fellow student that her dreams of a wall-hanger had just been ruined by yours truly...never did THAT again!

Frank Kohn said…
At age 12 I was helping my Dad develop a roll of film. As he was loading the film into a developing cannister I thought he told me to turn the light on. I asked again to make sure and could have sworn that he said yes. When I clicked on the pull string I heard the plastic of the cannister slam shut. the light revealed a not too happy expression on my Dad's face. He was extremely nice about it. We didn't lose too many shots and I leanred to never turn on the light until someone yells it.