(Hummm.... I also had a hippo in Thailand fling a turd at me when I annoyed her by taking a lot of shots of her calf(?) At least I think she did it intentionally. She backed up to a low wall in her enclosure, produced a turd, then used her tail to launch it in my direction.
But did you get the shot of it flying towards you?
Besides the usual (wrong ASA, shutter speed etc) I have had only a few bad experiences. First one was about 20 years ago when my brother asked me to take his wedding photos. It was the first time in over 5 years of faultless use that the shutter blind developed a problem. Of course I didn't know about it until we picked up the photos, all gathered around in a group to recapture the memories only to find each photo with half the frame blacked out. Never again. I take my hat off to wedding photographers.
My only really heart-stopping moment happened last year when I was taking photos with my 1Ds attached to an Astrophysics Traveler telescope. Just to give you some background, the Traveler is a highly prized telescope that I had been on the waiting list since May 1999 (yes, 5 years!) and after import taxes, etc. cost me around $5,000.
I had just set it all up on a tripod with a Kirk King Cobra on a stone terrace, all perfectly balanced, turned away only to hear the tripod swooshing through the air. The $25 T-ring had come loose, the 1Ds was falling one way and my Traveler was falling the other way to meet their death on the terrace. In a split decision I threw myself across the terrace. As I slid across the tiled terrace I caught the 1Ds in one hand, banged my head against the wall, and stretched my leg out to break the fall of the Traveler (weight around 10lbs with accessories). I saved both from certain death. My leg suffered for several months (the Traveler took a direct hit on my knee) but I felt good about the experience
Some great stories guys, so what are the lessons? Here's a few thoughts after reading everyone's stories:
Sounds like comprehensive insurance is something that is a great idea but I'm sure few us take out out.
Lots of scare stories about film but I'm sure we'll hear more about memory cards in the future. It worries me sometimes that I use 2GB cards instead of smaller say (500 MB) cards to spread the risk.
If possible, carry a back-up camera on important trips - maybe a digital and a film camera?
Make sure your batteries are fully charged and carry a spare.
Besides rechecking all the camera settings and canceling any unnecessary custom functions don't forget to look at the info in the viewfinder from time to time.
And finally, if you have a really bad photo experience then you should spend the next 24 hours looking for your wife to be.