Five Times I Almost Broke My Camera

I have explored and hiked a wide variety of places and for every step of the way, my camera has been with me. We're practically attached at the hip but literally, because sometimes I hang it from my hip. But, to be perfectly honest, it’s kind of a miracle that I haven’t completely broken a camera yet. So, here are five times that I almost broke my camera (don’t worry, it’s okay to laugh if you feel the need).


1. Taking a Dip

When I think back on this moment I really just have to shake my head. It didn’t need to happen, but you drop your guard for just one second and BAM, your camera falls into the water! We were at Grinnell Lake in Glacier National Park and I had put the camera on my tripod to get a shot of the lake. In the midst of getting things setup, I realized that I left my shutter release in my bag just a few feet away. As I went to go get it I turn to see my camera slowly tilt over and fall halfway into the water! I of course rushed over, pulled the camera out then looked around to see if anyone noticed my blunder, for which they didn't. I wiped the camera off and somehow everything still worked. Now I keep my shutter release in my pocket.


2. A Rock Hard Fall

Remember earlier when I said that me and my camera were attached at the hip? Well, this is the time that my camera didn’t like that idea. We were getting ready to start hiking at Hocking Hills in Ohio when basically the screw that held my camera to my belt somehow unwound itself. The result was my camera falling lens first onto a rock. It turned out to be a good thing that it fell onto the lens and only from the height of my hip because the filter that was able to take the brunt of the damage; it was shattered! I had to get out my multi tool and use the pliers to get it off! I’ve always been extra cautious of that screw ever sense.



3. Sand, A Cameras Natural Enemy

When it comes to the forces of nature, I have always considered sand to be the most dangerous to cameras. I have heard my fair share of horror stories and it has made me pretty paranoid. So you might be surprised to hear that this faux pas isn’t about me dropping my camera in the sand. No, this one is when the sand came and attacked me! It was sunset at Horseshoe Bend, I had checked out the area and had all my gear setup and ready to go. When all of a sudden this strong gust of wind started blowing, kicking up all the sand around us! It came in waves and would sting you and knock you off balance. I had to wrap the camera up in a plastic sleeve and shield it so the tripod didn’t blow over. Luckily, sand didn’t get into the camera, but the filter I had on still has tiny little dings from the force of the wind and sand.


4. Sliping and Sliding

Oh wow, this is a fun one. I’ve written before about my time in the Badlands of South Dakota and how a thunderstorm came in and flooded out my campsite. Then, after getting all of that sorted out me, my buddy drove back out so I could photograph the storm leaving. What I don’t think I’ve shared is some of the things that happened while trying to get those photos. So, it turns out that when it rains in the Badlands, certain parts can become very slippery to the point where it looked like I was skating to where I wanted to go. Now granted, I was wearing slip on boating shoes (that’s an oversight on my part) but it really was like being on a frozen lake. In this case, if I slid too far off track I could have fallen 50 plus feet. So by the time I had managed to “skate” my way to where I wanted to go, I had only dropped my camera in the mud once. Honestly, I consider that a win!


5. Don’t Drop It

Let see: walking into waist deep water; check. Descending into a slot canyon that I can barely fit in; check. Oh yeah, getting stuck while holding the camera in one hand; check. Basically, I have created a recipe for the destruction of my camera. This all happened in Zebra Canyon, Utah. A really amazing place and something that I am so happy that I did. But, because it was so thin, I opted to not bring my camera bag and I just wrapped the camera strap around my wrist and carried it in on hand the whole way. At one time, I did get a little stuck which would have been an easy thing to get out of with two hands, but I wiggled my way out of it (literally). Just one false step or lose of focus and that camera was either going to drown or get smashed on the rocks. Full disclosure: it did take a few bumps on the canyon walls.


Bonus: Can’t Save Them All

What? You had so much fun reading this that you wanted more! Well okay, I do have one more but this one isn't about me, it’s about my wonderful wife, Kylee. We were hiking in the Narrows at Zion National Park and we had to descend next to a small waterfall. We go down one at a time, me being last. Kylee takes my camera from me which means she is holding two cameras, the one I have been using and another one on her waist that she has been using. I get down into the waist deep water and Kylee starts to walk off, somehow getting her leg briefly stuck in some mud mid stride. This was enough to knock her off balance and then gravity did its thing; she goes for a dip. Somehow though, mid-fall she manages to thrust her arm with my camera straight up into the air, saving it. But the one attached to her hip took a dip. We checked her camera out, it didn’t work. So we took to battery out and dried it off as well as we could. It took a while but that camera started working again. To this day I’m still impressed by that crazy acrobatic move she pulled saved my camera.