One Should Listen to Oneself!
Those who know me know I’m real annal about taking care of my camera gear. It’s real simple business, camera work, I work. Camera no workie and I no eatie (and I like to eatie!)! This is one reason why I go through my images every night if I shot that day. I have a Statistics feature in our DigitalPro that informs me of my keeper rate. When it drops below 90%, I go looking for reasons for the drop. At PRS the first day my keeper rate dropped to 76%, I was deleting a whole lot of images because they were soft. I simply assumed it was me, my panning was simply off (not normal but it happens) Because I’ve learned in my 30yrs the problem is rarely equipment, it’s what we affectionately call pilot error. The next day I really concentrated on my panning feeling really good until I say my keeper rate drop to 72%. To say I was not a happy camper is an understatement (you don’t wanna be around me when I screw up photos, I get ugly!)!
That evening we did an air to air with this gorgeous F4U Corsair you see above. With Fly Daddy & Scottie at the stick and my bud Scott Diussa who I invited to join us, we had a marvelous flight. I had scripted the flight to place the Corsair in what would feel like the Pacific Islands during WWII setting (you can see the whole shoot in the Air to Air gallery on our warbirdimages site). The flight went off without a hitch until I looked at my results. I had a lot of images that were soft. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. I was even seriously thinking of buying a KenLab because I was loosing my touch. I hate doubting my skills! The next day, I was at Home Pylon shooting, the first time I’d ever gotten to shoot from there. Every time I went clicked, I wondered if I was getting a sharp image. About 40min into shooting the AF stopped working. The camera locked up. I couldn’t get the camera to focus no matter what I tried (and I know a whole bunch of tricks). So there I stood, rather ticked at myself! It was my fault and I knew it!
Ever had a problem with your car, take it in to the mechanic and the car is now working fine? Luckily for me (and everyone else at PRS) NPS has their best repair tech Mike at PRS. Now, if only the camera would not work so he can see it not working is all I thought as we drove in. Sure enough, I got back and the camera is working again. I mess with it and finally I’m able to get it locked up once more. I walk it in very carefully into the room, tell Mike the problem and have him look at it. It’s not working and he can’t get it to work. Then he tells me he’s never seen that before, that’s not good. Says it needs to go back to Nikon, he can’t fix it there. That’s freakin horrible! I get home and he has it the next day. The problem? Red dust, red dust from Monument Valley shot 18months ago. If you watch my Romancing the Landscape class, you’ll see it out in that dust storm. And even though I thoroughly cleaned everything every night, that dust is so fine that it got in the lens & camera and after 18months, finally wiggled into a place causing a short. My own procrastination caused me to miss some great images. Damn!
You see, my gear goes into Nikon every year for its annual. I send it in for a CLA (Clean, Lube and Adjust) because it gets a lot of use. And if it don’t workie, I no eatie! It had just gone in for its annual just prior to the filming of Romancing the Landscape and I’d been meaning to get it in this spring but kept putting it off because I simply didn’t have a window when I wasn’t using it (plus I has a severe separation disorder when my gear is gone). Well, my putting it off cost me. I broke my own rules again and I paid the price. The moral is real simple, one should listen to oneself!