I managed to get away recently down to Cornwall, in the south-west of England, for a long weekend of landscape photography.
We were in the middle of a bout of severe winter storms which made photography that weekend a little tricky, but I managed to get up on to Bodmin Moor during a brief lull to take photos of some of the granite tors there.
After one and a half chilly hours on an exposed hillside I was just beginning to think of winding down and packing up. I turned my back for just a moment to check on the cloud cover and the setting sun. Crack. A sudden, powerful gust had picked up the tripod and camera, and thrown it against one of granite rocks. I turned back just in time to see a piece of circuit board fly into the air. Not good.
I cursed my own stupidity at not weighing down the tripod with my backpack for extra stability. Worse, though, was the fact that I had (deliberately) not renewed my photo insurance for this year. Times are hard, we have to be careful with money, so I thought it would be prudent to save the money for something we really need, like, oh, shoes for the children.
However, when I finally got back to the cottage and had warmed up enough to take a close look at the damage I was pleasantly surprised. The Lee filter (prone to scratching at the best of times) and attachment were untouched. My 5D had some deep scratches on the corner that hit the rock, revealing the alloy underneath the black veneer, and some deep scratches on the LCD screen, but that was it. The glass of my trusty 17-40mm lens was untouched, but the rear barrel (as you can see in the photo) had sheared off from the force of the blow.
Back in London I took the lens along to the Canon Repair Centre in person. No problem, they said. The next day they emailed me an estimate for the repairs: £88, including tax. I was expecting a lot more (although as my wife pointed out, this is still three or four pairs of shoes for the children). A week later the work is done, and as I sit here typing this I am expecting UPS to turn up at any minute with my lens.
I have to say that I have been very impressed with the service I've received from the Repair Centre. They really put the "can" in Canon (and yes, I did have to think about that one for a little while. I would never have made a good copywriter).
Attached is the last photo I took before the accident. It was about forty minutes before sunset, high up on Bodmin Moor (about 1,180 feet or 360m). Although it looks calm in the photo there was a with a strong south-westerly wind, probably gusting up to 35-40mph. I believe the culprit responsible for wrecking my lens is the shifty looking piece of granite at centre front. Yes, the one with the lichen.
So, has anyone else had any equipment catastrophes that they would like to share?