Tuesday, September 9, 2008

“Nobody knows you, when you’re down and out” - Nina Simone

This past weekend I actually experienced one of those moments that give you chills when you think about them. Take the lens in the picture above. A beautiful Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5USM ... oh its a fine lens all right. A delicate piece of work right? Not one you would even place on a table or into it's casing without the necessary care. I mean if a child was to get within tripping distance of the thing your nerves would be on edge.
My eldest brother has let me in within grabbing distance of it a few times and this time I decided to take it for a trip up to the top of Table Mountain - the fresh air would do it some good. It was a special day of sunshine and the wide angle capabilities of this killer lens would be just the thing to get some good shots on such a clear, light day.
The lens was attached to the brothers Canon 350D. They are worth about the same amount of loot each that camera and lens, which makes a considerable sum of cash to take on any excursion. I've used them before with no drama. That all changed on Sat morning.
Once at the top of the mountain, done with the 3 hour hike up to the top and just about to jump into the cable car down to the city bowl, the camera literally jum... no let me not finish that sentence as, no matter how I say it, it will sound stupid and you will think I am making excuses for my clumsiness. Lets just say next thing I know there is a an excruciating sound of Canon lens disintegrating on a slab of concrete! OMF!
It was just before noon and there were about 40 tourists within ear shot. Although surely one of the busiest times of the day up there I can assure you it became instantly the most silent one as every person turned, as if in a well choreographed pantomime, to witness the reaction of the poor fool who was at the other end of the unfortunate accident. Mouths agape and clutching their own photographic equipment as they would their children in the presence of a murderer, they gawked intensely at me to see what I would do next. A group of 6 Japanese chaps (with lenses the size of their torso's) all looked towards the nearest access point of the mountain leading to a certain death fall in a very expectant fashion. One compassionate lady stuck out a hand in pity towards me as if she wished to help me, but anchored to the ground, she was not coming a step closer as if in fear that she would contract the dreaded camera throwing/dropping disease.
The two friendly Americans that I was with were as helpless as I felt and in fact anyone would be that did not have access to a portable time machine at that very moment.
My own reaction?
"Well," I explained to the now expectant audience. "Don't be fooled that that is just an R8000 camera lens that I have just lost here... I think it departs along with my eldest brother - the owner of said lens. "
Noticing that I was speaking coherently and not likely to finish the job of with a flourish of jumping on the photographic wreckage with my heavy mountain shoes, the crowd dissipated back into normal tourist behaviour. All except the Japanese fella's whom had now adopted a very professional mini gallery, right next to the easiest place to jump off the mountain and with all their own camera's pointing excitedly downward pre-focusing on what would be my point of impact if I were to do the 'honourable' thing. With no honour, hardly any nerves intact, a dry mouth and shaky knees I scooped up the pieces of the lens and slumped my way into a cable car and off the mountain. On the way down I took solace only in the fact that I had two more brothers to help carry heavy stuff in the future even if I had lost a good one along with his camera lens.

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