What I Learned from Breaking my Camera

:

smashed canon 7D

I have been taking photos for a long time. I carefully carried my cameras wherever I went. When I upgraded, the old camera took its place on my shelf as trophy that said “I am a Photographer” Somewhere between here and Canada I have my Grandfather’s Brownie, my Father’s Pentax Spotmatic F, My old Canon 300D and finally my trusty 30D. It was replaced recently with a Canon 7D that I got a great deal on.

smashed canon 7D

I have been taking photos for a long time. I carefully carried my cameras wherever I went. When I upgraded, the old camera took its place on my shelf as trophy that said “I am a Photographer” Somewhere between here and Canada I have my Grandfather’s Brownie, my Father’s Pentax Spotmatic F, My old Canon 300D and finally my trusty 30D. It was replaced recently with a Canon 7D that I got a great deal on.

Like all of my cameras, I treated the 7D like a baby. Making sure not to get it wet, cleaning it after every shoot. I thought that this would last me for a long time or at least until something really good came out. I never expected what happened this past Christmas. A gust of wind, a long drop and the terrifying reality that I could have killed someone by my own negligence sent chills down my spine for weeks and still does when I think about it.

So now with new gear in my hot little hands, what lessons am I taking from this accident?

What did I learn from this mistake that could help you?

1. Get Insurance

Until now it never crossed my mind and that is just stupid. It was always put off that because I live in Korea that no place would insure my stuff and I would NEVER be in a position where my gear could possibly be destroyed… yeah no… Get insurance. I am currently researching on places that will insure a photographer in Korea. If you readers have any ideas, drop them in the comment section below.

2. A Camera is Just a Tool

We love our cameras. They are our showpieces and they give us bragging rights as well as fuel to mock other photographers. However, in the end they simply are used to take pictures. It is the tool behind the tool that composes and makes the great photo. This was something that I learned after picking up my old 30D. Yes, it is out of date. Yes, my iphone has a similar sized sensor. However, it is still a DSLR and I can still use it. I can still go out and get shots. Basically, the whole world was not lost just because my precious 7D is now in a few hundred pieces. “Use what you got and get back out there!” is what I told myself and that got my head straight.

3. Always have a Backup

Destroying my camera could not have come at a worse time. I had just agreed to shoot a cover for a local magazine and I had a big event coming up. I needed a decent camera or any camera. Lucky for me I had my 30D to handle the shoot and I rented a 5D mkiii to handle the event. The backup saved me as I did not have time to rent anything. Keeping a backup body around means not pulling a “yard sale” every time you upgrade. If something goes wrong, you will be grateful that you kept a few old pieces around.

4. Competition = Stupidity

I must admit, the only reason that I was up on that roof was the fact that I was pushing myself to get shots that others didn’t have or couldn’t get. I was competing against other photographers who started taking shots even just a year ago and I felt out matched. This foolish lack of confidence put me up there and made me careless. Realizing now that I was so stupid for worrying about what others were doing or taking shots of instead of securing my gear is what caused the accident. Once you start worrying about the shots that other photographers are getting and not your own, that is when your own skills take a nosedive. The only competition that I have is with myself. Now it is all about getting the best shots that I can get and who cares if some kid with a point-and-shoot gets a decent picture every now and then.

14 - 1

5. Invest in What You Want

With my current camera in a box and smashed to pieces along with  my Tokina 12-24mm lens and my tripod, I had to invest in some new equipment. However, I was scared. I know most photographers would be jumping for joy. Even my wife was on board! I was struck with the decision to a) replace what I had lost b) replace what I lost using used equipment or c) invest in the equipment that I want and would help me further my photography career. For a few weeks I went back and forth. I kept asking myself “Do I really need this?” and “am I a good enough photographer for a 5D mk iii?”

With a lot of help from fellow photographers, I made the decision to invest in a camera that I originally wanted to upgrade to in the first place (5D mk iii) and a better quality lens and tripod. I feel that it was a smart decision and one that I hope will make this year one the best in my career.

6. Move On

This was one of the biggest things that I have learned recently. You screw up and you move on. There is no point in dwelling on the what if’s. No one was hurt and aside from my camera equipment, nothing else was damaged. Thus, I just have to suck it up and move on. The best thing about this is that I now have a goal  and the drive to make sure that I make back the money invested.

14 - 1 (2)

Think about all the people who have had accidents or have been in worse situations but have come back to do something great? Did they cry over the pieces of their broken dreams forever? Nope, most successful people just simply moved on and got better.

It with that notion that I am setting out this weekend to get some shots with my new gear and I know that they are going to make me happy. I am also grateful that I was in a position to be able to afford the gear  as well. I also have to Thank Keith Homan for all of his help with the order. Without him, I would probably be trying to glue my 7D back together. I also have to thank my lovely wife  for supporting me and not killing me when I invested a boatload of money into photography.



Leave a Comment