Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Think Tank Photo Gift Certificates and Rebates for the Holidays!

Buy any Think Tank Photo Retrospective shoulder bag and get money back!
Between now and the end of December, whenever you order any of Think Tank Photo’s Retrospective shoulder bags, you will receive up to $20 back.  The Retrospective bags are inconspicuous, soft-sided shoulder bags with a simple exterior that blends into the environment.   They range in size from the Retrospective 5--which carries one standard size DSLR with one to three lenses or a complete Micro Four Thirds or rangefinder camera system—to the Retrospective 30, which holds two pro size DSLRs plus three to six lenses.  Click on the “Support” tab on each Retrospective product page to download your rebate form.  And don’t forget, in addition to receiving the rebate check from Think Tank, you also get to select gear to receive for free with your order when you order using my special code!

Enter to win “A Gob of Free Gear”!
With the help of several photo equipment vendors, as part of its In A Bag random drawing, every day from today through December 20th Think Tank Photo will be dropping one or more free items into one of its huge Airport Security rollers.  Over 40 photo equipment items and other fun stuff will overflow the roller.  On December 21st, one lucky person will win everything.  You can enter once a day to win.

Wondering what to give this holiday to your photographer friends?  Or (hint-hint), wondering what to tell others to give you this holiday?  Think Tank Gift Certificates are now available.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Think Tank Photo Offers More FREE Gear for Black Friday and the Holidays!

Receive a FREE GIFT from Think Tank Photo
Think Tank Photo is offering up 11 camera pouches and memory card holders worth almost $300 that you can have added for free to your purchases. Every time you place an order with Think Tank, when you check out you will be asked which one of the items listed below you wish you receive for free. There is no limit on the number of orders you can place. You receive free gear with every order.

To get this “free gear with every order” offer, click on this link:

Cable Management 10 ($16.75)
R U Thirsty ($19.96)
LARGE Lens Drop In ($31.96)
Whip It Out ($35.96)
Skin 50 ($22.36)
Skin 75 Pop Down ($28.80)
Skin Double Wide ($35.96)
Skin Strobe ($28.80)
Skin Chimp Cage ($31.96)
Pixel Pocket Rocket ($18.75)
Security Tag ($25.00)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Review of PDN’s PhotoPlus International Conference and Expo 2011

By Al Diaz
Sensory overload is the best way to describe how I felt walking onto the convention floor at PDN’s PhotoPlus International Conference and Expo at the Jacob Javits Center in New York. If you’ve ever been to the city’s B&H Superstore, multiply that sense of awe times the factor 10, sans the ceiling conveyer belt system.

PhotoPlus Expo, designed for professionals and enthusiasts in the photographic and imaging industries, showcases the latest advances in photography. Attendees are able to explore hundreds of exhibits and attend a wide variety of photography and imaging seminars.

As I stroll in, first up, the Canon U.S.A. Inc. pavilion. Holding court is Vincent LaForet speaking on stage to a large audience hoping they can soak up a fraction of LaForet’s vision, talent, branding and marketing skills.

To the right is the new flagship of the EOS line, the EOS-1D X on full display along with the latest Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM Image Stabilizer AutoFocus Super Telephoto Lens, demonstrated by Canon Professional Marketing Specialist Chuck Luzier, National Manager Dave Carlson and a host of other Canon representatives.

Around the corner and popping away with strobes is the companies Explorer of Light educator Ken Sklute demonstrating the use of Canon Speedlights.
Canon USA, Inc. Field Engineers Fernando Echeverria and Paul Ng, at left, and National Manager David Carlson with Canon's Professional Market Representative Chuck Luzier at right.
Wow, I’ve only been on the convention floor 30 seconds as I’m soaking this all in. At this point I can’t see the forest for the trees. Where do I even begin!

Already, my convenient full-scale convention planner has imploded. My list of manufacturers I want to visit has multiplied with so much to see and hear!

Three months ago I decided to attend PhotoPlus after texting Simon Pollock and asking if he was going. The social media guru of Think Tank Photo said absolutely and convinced me I should too.

As a Think Tank Photo affiliate, the whole reason for me to be here is to meet the folks who have been so generous sponsoring me all year with product I give away at lectures or online.

With blinders on and my head spinning, like Linda Blair in the Exorcist, I race through the gauntlet of widgets and gadgets. Till, low and behold the holy grail of camera bags, its Think Tank Photo heaven with a new line of products. There’s Pulitzer Prize winner photojournalist Deanne Fitzmaurice chatting with photographer Tim Mantoani while holding his new book Behind Photographs: Archiving Photographic Legends Book.

I soon meet Aussie accented Simon for the first time, Kurt Rogers, co-founder of Think Tank Photo and Jerry Dodrill, Dede Stanley and Chief Operating Officer Andrew Hutchins.

At PhotoPlus, Think Tank Photo pre-announced the release of the Modular Rotation System and Modular Rotation System Skin™ Components. Both systems have been completely redesigned, with many new cases and pouches added. They are live on my affiliate website,
and will be available for sale in early December.

These succeed the Modular and Skin set items that have been on sale. The Version 1 cases and pouches will still be available for sale on our site for as long as we have inventory.

Please  **click here** to fill in a simple form with your first name and email address and we will alert you when the new Modular Rotation gear is in stock.

In the meantime, Simon and Kurt run off to shoot video and to fill their Hubba Hubba Hiney bag with free swag!
Pulitzer Prize winner and Co-Founder Deanne Fitzmaurice with Damon Webster, President of PhotoInduced.com. At right is Jerry Dodrill showing off the rollers with Chicago Tribune phographer Alex Garcia and photographer Darcy Padilla
Next stop is Lensbaby where they bend the rules. Meet Kirsten Hunter, Director of Customer Happiness! “See in a new way” says Hunter as she displays the whole line of creative effects, lenses and interchangeable optics designed to help artists capture their unique vision. The company prefers to see themselves in the business of rule-bending.

This year Lensbaby introduced the addition of the Sweet 35 Optic to its Optic Swap System and the companies newest SLR creative effects camera lens, the Composer Pro.

“Changing the look of images from my Lensbaby lens with the Sweet 35 optic by quickly adjusting the aperture dial at the front of the optic has become habit-forming and allows me to create photographs I would never see through another lens,” said Craig Strong, Lensbaby Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer.

Swinging away is BlackRapid where I meet Marc Gottula, Director of Sales. I express my concerns with the RS-4 that I use. The strap keeps extending to my knees after prolonged use. He suggests the RS-7 which I now have and love! Works great shooting football. One of my camera bodies has the RS-7 attached with a 70-200 2.8. It’s super fast to switch from the 400 2.8 on a monopod to the short lens on a fast break to the endzone. It’s a smooth transition and the strap never gets hung up on my neck or friction on my shirt caused by anti-slip rubber on traditional camera straps.
Svitlana Laptieva and Christian Vigilia spends time with the creator of the expandable studio photographer Brian Hedenberg.
Floating away I visit the incredibly inflatable Expandable Photo Studio by Massiera Industries and meeting up with creator Brian Hedenberg. From the size of a suitcase, the durable, compact, lightweight material expands in minutes into a photo studio. Their smallest selection measures 22ft x 15ft x 13 ft. Just slightly smaller than my detached garage, costing tens of thousands to build, the EPS is extremely affordable.

In a flash I spot the next evolution of lighting by Rogue photographic design.
At least that’s what I plan for my next workflow evolution by using Roque lighting tools for my speedlights. Roque Flash Benders, reflectors, bounce cards, diffusion panels, grids and filter kit give you lots of options for controlled lighting using small portable strobes.

Flying into orbit is Westcott’s new 43” Apollo Orb. The first octagonal softbox that doesn’t require an adaptor ring and the 16” x 30” Apollo Strip with it’s narrow profile, makes it an ideal hair, rim or accent light.

Back out of the cloud is Wiebetech, reengineering from the ground up, their RTX 220-QR Portable storage with RAID has never been more affordable and easier to use. WiebeTech is a brand of CRU-DataPort. The RTX220-QR provides a fast way to mirror, stripe or create a quick backup disk. Maybe I’ll finally get my digital life properly backed up and organized.

Camera Bits President and CEO Dennis Walker with Support Manager Bob Russell.
At right, photographing attendees at the Chimira lighting booth is Manager of Marketing Terry Monahan.

I ingest my way to the Camera Bits booth with President and CEO Dennis Walker and Support Manager Bob Russell featuring Photo Mechanic. The software is used daily by thousands of photographers worldwide as the hub of their digital workflow with convenience and speed. The image browser has some new features in their latest Version 5.0. 

New and improved professional look and feel with additional features in the main contact sheet view. Non-modal preview window can be kept open on a second monitor. Thumbnail strips can be either on top or on left. Crops can now be rotated to arbitrary angles to match the horizon, and the crop that is stored is compatible with several other popular applications. Previews can display blown/clipped highlights and underexposed/clipped shadows. Movies can be played internally and frames can be extracted with a crop applied. New and improved Export plug-ins. Ingest can now automatically begin upon flash card mount. Improved speed of browsing and operation by using internal database caches for user command and “sort/filtering” preferences. 
Sony Artisan Brian Smith, at left and Canon's Explorer of Light educator Ken Sklute give workshops on the PhotoPlus Expo trade show floor.
Secrets were told by celebrity portrait photographer Brian Smith as he shared the lessons he’s learned over the past 30 years capturing the faces of the famous, infamous and un-famous as a top magazine portrait photographer. Brian was speaking and doing shooting demos along with all of the Sony Artisans at the Sony booth on the PhotoPlus Expo trade show floor.

Just when you thought you’ve seen every variation of a business card two companies give you further options on what you can carry in your back pocket.

First I spotted Moo business cards using Moo
Printfinity printing technology that lets you print a different image on each Business Card, MiniCard, Postcard, Greeting Card or Sticker in a pack. Lay them out and you have a portfolio in your pocket. Nice to meet you, pick a card!

Next up is Pexagon Technology and their full color eBusiness cards. Plug in the slim USB device the size of a business card and your client will go directly to your website or launch a gallery of images. All your information can be imprinted on the outside of the device.

Exiting my way out I spot Fred Metzler, senior professional market representative for Canon, demonstrating the Canon Realis line of digital photo and video projectors.

The high-resolution projector uses liquid crystal on silicon technology to display all the detail and texture captured by your digital camera, projecting sharp seamless images with film like quality. Equipped with advanced color management settings, Realis projectors have everything needed to display digital photos and videos with exceptional color and accuracy in a compact unit.

Now I know what to do with my garage. Dump everything and convert into a home theater using a Realis projector.
The view from my room at the Marriott Marquis


Videos by Simon Pollock and Kurt Rogers of Think Tank Photo.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Prepare to Enter the Workforce as Multimedia Journalists.

University of Miami students at front, left to right, are Jessica Daly, Danielle Peloquin, Cayla Nimmo, Katie Sikora, Jack Burrus and Sagette Van Embden with Matt Root and Natalie Edgar in the back row.

Last week I joined up with members of the American Society of Media Photographers for a presentation at the University of Miami School of Communication and moderated by Scherley Busch with panelists Jorge Parra, Matt Pace, Paul Morris, Chuck Fadely, Nancy Brown and myself.

It was a lively discussion on how to prepare to enter the workforce as a multimedia journalist.

As a staff photographer for a daily newspaper the discussion was an eye opener to hear from the perspective of photographers as business owners.

Topics included:
Branding your product: how to get noticed to find work. Professional business practices for visual imagers. Traditional and new emerging outlets for the photography market.

ASMP sponsored the panelists as Think Tank Photo provided free product with a random drawing for the students. A special thanks goes out to the fabulous Maggie Steber and Michelle Sellig for inviting us into the classroom.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Port of Miami tunnel-boring machine is fired up

Al Diaz Photo / The Miami Herald Staff
The mammoth earth-boring machine has been fired up, its systems tested and all is go to start drilling the $1 billion Port of Miami tunnel, project officials said Tuesday.
A day after receiving the final environmental permit from state regulators, Miami Access Tunnel, the project concessionaire, set the start of drilling for Thursday. Although they had initially set it for Wednesday upon receiving the state permit on Monday, MAT officials said they needed another day to ready the $45 million machine.
Read more:

Al Diaz Photo / The Miami Herald Staff
See More of the interactive graphic: The making of the port tunnel by Marcos A. Ruiz

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Project Bandaloop Perform Tonight During Sleepless Night Miami Beach

Photos by Al Diaz / Miami Herald Staff                                     For Photo Gallery Go To: Photo Gallery
Members of Project Bandaloop rehearse at SoundScape Park outside the New World Center, Washington Ave. and 17th St. for Sleepless Night, the overnight cultural extravaganza this weekend on Miami Beach. Project Bandaloop: a San Francisco-based aerial dance troupe shakes up how people perceive the environment and the art form.

This weekend, the determined and the caffeinated can catch an opera, check out pop art, gawk at giant floating fish, order up a poem, practice yoga and watch film clips about sleeplessness. 
All in one long night.
Sleepless Night, the all-night affair modeled on Nuit Blanche events in Paris, Montreal, Amsterdam and elsewhere, begins in Miami Beach at 6 p.m. Saturday and stretches until 6 a.m. with breakfast provided by Whole Foods the next morning. Read more: 

Friday, November 4, 2011

NCAA Football Helmets Popping Off!

Last year I posted a photo gallery on Sportsshooter.com of NCAA football helmets popping off during games the last couple of seasons. In the past it was rare for me to capture these flying projectiles in a photograph. Either I'm getting good at shooting these moments or there's just a lot more of it. I think the later.

USA Today's Kelly Whiteside writes about the current phenomenon of helmets popping off at an alarming rate in college football.
Plenty of attention has been focused this college football season on alternate uniforms (see Maryland, Georgia, Boise State and countless others). But really attracting notice, at least from referees, are helmets that are popping off with stunning regularity.

There's been anecdotal evidence about a growing number of helmets hitting the ground the previous two seasons. As a result, the NCAA Football Rules Committee discussed the issue in February and decided to count the number of occurrences. During games, the back judge is responsible for tallying the times when a player loses a helmet. Read More...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Odd Future Rapper Attacks Photographer during Concert

By Al Diaz
Odd Future rapper, Left Brain, allegedly attacks photographer Amy Harris during concert in New Orleans on October 30.

Harris says she was slapped in the head by the rapper while taking photos during concert from the photo pit.

The credentialed photographer was escorted there to cover the event by concert promoters for Mitch Schneider Organization and organizers of Voodoo Experience.
Miami New Times freelance photographer Ian Witlen says he has covered the rappers more than once. Last night in Miami and for Spin Magazine during concert in Austin Texas.
"They used my head as a step stool multiple times, for stage diving and crowd surfing. At that show Tyler the Creator climbed onto a tall stack of amplifiers, then the the stage roof, leaped about 25 feet into the crowd breaking some kids nose. The Odd Future rapper thought he was in trouble but the kid just told them, no I just want to meet you guys.

Witlen says during last nights concert at the The Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater the photographers were kept way back from the stage at the soundboard. Witlen says rumor has it that Odd Future is looking to band photographers from future shows.

Here are the links to the Harris interview plus more.
NBC33 News 

Today, Amy Harris responds with an official statement.
"I was very disheartened to learn yesterday that Odd Future is denying that one of its members, Vyron Turner (“Left Brain”), engaged in the violent conduct that so many people witnessed and even photographed or videotaped. After he so publicly attacked me, I truly believed that an apology would be immediately forthcoming, which is why I declined to press charges at that time. The unexpected turn of events, including an attack by Odd Future on my credibility and motives for discussing the incident, have caused me to re-evaluate my initial decision. I’ve contacted an attorney – Amy Borlund with Doll Amir & Eley in Los Angeles – and am pursuing my options. At a minimum, I am seeking a public apology from Vyron Turner. Ultimately, I want a resolution in which Turner is held accountable for his actions."

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
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 :-)

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.