Murphy & the Law....

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by jbs, Apr 1, 2004.

  1. jbs


    I will assume that everyone know Murphy's Law and knows to bring an
    extra camera to a wedding, But I confess; the only time a camera
    stopped functioning on me was in my attic messing with my Argus
    built sometime in the mid '60's. Has any one actually been in that
    situation, in the middle of a wedding and your trusty #1 dies? Do
    tell ... Did #2 save the day? And where the shot as good? ...;)...J
  2. I think it can be a number of things that effect gear performance... and it's not always the gear... especially when just starting out shooting weddings. First time shooting with an on-tripod 555ELD with a digital back tethered to a battery on my hip. Reached for a different lens and the tethered cord pulled over the whole rig... which crashed to the marble floor and then went down a short flight of stone stairs. DOA. Back-up 503CW with film saved the day. Had a Contax flash on a flip bracket using an off-camera cord. Flipped the flash which promptly cracked the wimpy cord shoe in half and threw the flash to the ground. Back-up flash directly on the camera to the rescue. Ditto to the above with a Canon 550EX who's shoe is to weak for that big of a flash. Switched to 2nd 550EX. I had a Nikon D1-X suddenly light up like a Christmas tree. I removed the battery, and switched to the back-up while the malfunctioning D1-X settled down (it fired back up later). I once carefully re-formatted all my CF cards and then left home without them for a wedding a hour's drive away ( had my Leica Ms with me as back-up, thank the Lord). Also have had an IBM Microdrive malfunction (no more Microdrives outside of the studio) Was on a dark church balcony with a Contax 645 that was totally black when I looked through the viewfinder. Field stripped the thing in the dark and it was still black. Switched to the back-up. (eventually found that the viewfinder black-out had been accidently tripped close... felt like a moron). Had a EOS 1V die due to a bad battery which I had put in that morning. Switched to my always present Leica M for the shot, and changed batteries in the EOS later. Also went to a wedding with a Canon EOS 1V HS leaving the batteries in the charger at home. Shot with my Ms while my wife went back and got them (only 20 minutes away). Had a diopter on a manual focus camera come loose and fall off on the dance floor, in effect blinding me. Switched to a back-up. Sooooo, I firmly believe in the "Noah's Ark" principle when it comes to weddings... two of everything! And like Santa, I now have a list and am checking it twice : -) "And where the shots as good? ...;)" In the case of using the Leica M back-ups, probably better, unless it was an action shot requiring faster focus.
  3. Almost every weekend a loose flash connection or similar snafu occurs in the wedding business.These can often be fixed instantly,but often require a minute of playing.I keep my backup rig a few pews behind me so I can walk back a step and be back in business.Over the years I have had cameras have their flash sync switches die,aperture blades freeze,and a shutter or two blow.Back up rig should be a professional quality camera similar to the primary camera and kept almost in hand at all times.
  4. <<First time shooting with an on-tripod 555ELD with a digital back tethered to a battery on my hip. Reached for a different lens and the tethered cord pulled over the whole rig... which crashed to the marble floor and then went down a short flight of stone stairs. >>



    Ow, ow, ow, ow, HolyMarymotherofGod.

    That hurt just to READ. Can't imagine what it felt like to watch (and hear!!) it happen.

  5. Jim, I just stood there for a few seconds with my jaw on my chest... then snapped out of
    it, compartmentalized it all, grabbed the back-up camera and went on with the rest of the

    Oddly, the Hassey needed $200. in repairs (mostly for replacing the dented chrome
    piping) and the digital back came back from Kodak with no charges attached because
    there was nothing wrong with it. I had to replace the bare bulb in the D40 flash that
    literally exploded when it hit the floor. I've since used all the gear for over a year with no
    effect what-so-ever. It all works perfectly. HolyMarymotherofGod indeed had taken pity on
    this poor fool (it was a Catholic Church).
  6. Marc, if I ever find myself at a wedding you're shooting, I'll be sure to keep at least 50 feet between the two of us at all times - please don't take it personally.

    Excellent stories, btw. I probably would have needed back-up underwear after seeing my Hassey bouncing down the stairs.
  7. Here's a story that'll tighten up your main arteries.

    I was supervising a photo shoot for my ad agency. We had hired a well known
    photographer to shoot a big name sports star... who's agent gave us 20 minutes to pull off
    the shot (which involved him with his children).

    All kinds of assistants running around setting up backgrounds and generator driven
    strobes for the shot (using a Mamiya RZ Pro II).

    The time was getting close for the talent to show up, and the photographer ordered the
    camera loaded.

    No film.

    The photographer and a couple of the assistants all scattered to try and find some store
    carrying 120 film. As time passed, all heads swung over to me... standing there with my
    Leica R6.2 and a bag of 35mm film. The client sidled up to me with a barely restrained
    reminder that we would have 20 minutes with the star... all while glancing down at my
    camera then back up at me.

    At the time, I had never shot something this important... and certainly wouldn't with a
    35mm camera, since it had to appear on an outdoor billboard. Then we got the 5 minute
    warning for the talent's arrival.

    The car that arrived just in front of the talent's... was the photographer.
  8. Had one of my Pentax 645s chug to a halt just after a ceremony
    one time. Missed a couple of potential shots in the time it took
    me to pick up the second body and switch lenses, but no real
    damage. If I hadn't had the second body ready to roll, it would
    have been a problem.

    I've had a few problems with other cameras during other
    shooting, but that was my only incident during a wedding.
  9. I've had several shutters die, sync and other cords die, and a flash unit and battery pack that vaporized in front of my (and my client's) eyes, complete with smoke and smell. Most of the time, I was able to grab my back up and didn't lose any shots, or made them up later--because I knew something was wrong. The only two times where I had really bad karma involved shutters that died. The first time, the shutter died exactly when I pushed the shutter button to record the bride and her dad walking down the aisle. Then, when I asked the bride to re-create it, she refused, saying it could never be the same again. Nothing would have saved me there unless I had a whole other camera outfit on my person ready to go at the time. The second time, one shutter blade decided to fall out of position, but I never knew it because the shutter kept working as if nothing had happened. Lost a number of shots on that one. These failures have taught me to check and double check both before and on the job, especially shutters, and to have heavy back up. I have two levels of back ups.
  10. My motto is:

    "Cameras never break sitting on the shelf."
  11. Unless a shelf collapses, like I had happen. Front holder just let go and the shelf end
    flipped down pouring a camera and a few lenses toward oblivion. My assistant caught
    them in time, so harm done.

    After reading all of these, it's pretty apparent that without back-ups, you're working the
    high-wire without a net.
  12. I was shooting a wedding in cottage country, and I was going down wood
    stairs to shoot the groom & the guys on the dock by the lake the morning of
    the wedding. The stairs were dew covered, and just as someone said "watch
    your step, it's slippery"...down I went. I landed on my back and saw my 503cxi
    with a Metz60 bounce down the stairs, slid across the dock and almost go in
    the lake.
    The damage...
    80mm CF lens had a broken shutter
    Metz 60 had the flash head snap off
    Manfroto tripod had a broken coupling on one of the legs
    light coloured pants..torn behind & stained black
    incredibly painful back ( for several weeks )
    After gathering myself I got out my spare Metz, taped the pripod coupling up
    with duct tape & used my 60CF in place of my 80. Also I just happen to have a
    spare set off pants in the car( just by chance ) I also got a hand full of pain
    killers from the bride who was a physo-therapist. The couple who did the
    video also helped out all day carying my eqipment (no assistant on this day )
    After all this, I probably got some off my very best pictures..I think I worked
    harder so no one would think the photo's were not going to be good and got
    great results.
  13. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    Well, there was the time I went along as an assistant. I was supposed to shoot back up photos and the photog wanted me to use his Nikon F3. I spent a good deal of time checking the various settings and flash, dry firing to get used to it. When the happy couple showed up, I had taken about three dozen shots before I realized I forgot to put film in the camera.
  14. Neil, we'd make a "dangerous" team : -)
  15. I have to photograph my neice's wedding this month- you guys, in addition to making me laugh are SCARING me!
  16. I showed my wife this thread, and told her this is why I haven't done any weddings, yet. I've been a "2nd" shooter that had friends only getting color photos from their photographer, and I agreed to do b&w for the experience and as a gift. Before doing this, I've asked every photographer there if I could shoot. I've even explained this to the couple, because I don't want to take money out of the main photographer's pocket. I've had my own moments doing this, especially with flashes. But it is nice in the end when the couple says, "We should have hired you!". I smile and think to myself that there was no pressure, because I wasn't the photographer on record.
  17. i think the more important (and more amusing question is) has anyone's backup ALSO failed?
  18. Now, that thought is what you would call pessimistic...
  19. Hey, it's happened. After a buddy of mine dropped his Contax 645 in the drink, his 35mm
    failed on him 3/4 of the way through a shoot. Fortunately, he had a back-up 35mm body.

    I was the art director on a commercial location shoot years ago when the Pentax 6X7
    shutter failed. The back-up Hasselblad 501CM then proceeded to jam. lost a half hour of
    our "golden hour" while the photographer un-jammed the 'Blad.
  20. jbs


    Thank you all 4 the responses, & as luck would have it, I was in the middle of a shoot a couple days ago and the crank on my tripod broke! Man! that Murphy! ....;)....J

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