Most 4th of Julys end in a flurry of bangs, this year mine ended with a gut wrenching splash. I met with a few friends to spend the 4th of July on the Outer Banks to enjoy an extended weekend of sun, surf, and good times. All of those things fell right into place. Earlier in the day we moved my friends' sailboat down to the end of the marina to get a front row seat for the fireworks in Manteo, NC. I was going to able to post up on the dock and shoot some photos to incorporate the sailboat and the fireworks. I set up my tripod by simply opening the legs to give my rig the lowest center of gravity possible and I was ready to go.
When the fireworks started I began shooting away with a remote trigger and all was going well. I went over to my rig to recompose a shot. I sat down on the dock behind the tripod as the viewfinder was perfectly at eye level and I scooted forward just a bit to look through. As I scooted forward, my knee ever so slightly bumped one of the tripod's legs and the whole set up fell like a cut tree. The rig hit the edge of the dock about half way down the tripod and, being top heavy, it went "head first" into the murky depths of the Marsh's Light Marina. I didn't yell, cuss, cry, or even punch anything. I just sat there staring at the black water; I was speechless and it was gone.
I took a few minutes to collect myself and then my friends and I began the salvage mission to recover the only thing that was going to be unaffected by being submerged in 9' of saltwater...the tripod. After a bit of coaxing I hurled myself into the filthy water of the marina, held on to one of the boat's spring lines that was overhead, and began probing the bottom with a long pole. After 20 minutes in the water and several dives to the bottom, I found my rig. Once I was back on the dock, I took off the lens and water poured out of the camera body. It was at that point it finally hit me...my 7D was dead.
Moments After Salvage; photo: Rob Nelson
The first question everyone asked was, "Do you have insurance?" My answer, "No." One of my buddies who is a photographer said to me, "Ugh. Insurance is a no brainer my brother." Insurance was one of those things I was going to get around to doing, but never did. It was a hard (and expensive) way to learn the importance of something very simple and inexpensive. If you don't have insurance, get it, or even add your gear to your homeowner's or renter's insurance.
As it turns out the tripod wasn't the only thing that survived undamaged, my San Disk Extreme 8G card was unaffected. All the photos (including one of the last photos I shot that night, at the top of this blog) were still on the card and it works as if nothing happened. I wouldn't go tossing memory cards in to 9' of murky saltwater but San Disk gets my vote for making a solid product!
7D corroding just 18hrs after recovery
Battery grip corroding just 18hrs after recovery
Even the batteries were shot