I was killing time, sitting out in front of the Express Bus Terminal in Seoul on my way to the Jindo Festival where I was scheduled to DJ and work as the event photographer. I was just switching between 3 lenses, the kit 16-50mm, the Sony 50mm 1.8 and my lovely Sony 70-200mm G lens. As I was changing lenses from the 16-50 to the 70-200, the 70-200 slipped from my grasp and fell to the concrete pavement, a distance of 2-3 feet, and landed squarely on the front lens cap, making a gut-wrenching clank accompanied by the sound of broken glass.
In those initial fractions of a second, my heart went from nearly stopping, to then being pumped full of fearful adrenaline as my mind raced about the likelihood that my 70-200mm lens had just died as a result of my own, albeit accidental, negligence.
I bent over from the bench where I was sitting and picked up the lens, like the saddened owner of a family pet that had just been hit by a passing car, my ears immediately recognized the sounds of broken shards of glass fumbling beneath the front lens cap, the range of emotions continued to scramble about in my heart and brains.
I had trouble removing the front lens cap, surely it too was an injured victim of this awful tragedy. Eventually, I was able to take the cap off only to reveal the carnage waiting to break my spirit even more than my imagination had already managed to. The front glass of the lens was shattered, as if an angry girlfriend had caught me cheating and took a baseball bat to the windshield of my car.
"Well, there goes $1000 down the drain" was my first thought. I just sat there looking at the damage and resigned myself to this "crushing" defeat of fate (or karma?). But then, my memory, which doesn't have the best reputation for recalling much of anything when I need to recall things, kicked in with a recreation of the day I was camera shopping in Chungmuro, South Korea. Specifically, I could "see" myself standing at the display case, having just purchased said lens.
I had the good sense to ask the salesman if he would be kind enough to throw in a free UV filter for the 70-200mm lens that this story is about. And in all the confusion, frustration, sadness and racing emotions, I remembered that he did give me a UV filter! Could it be possible that ONLY the UV filter was broken and not the actual glass of the lens?
Upon further inspection, I found no physical or cosmetic damage to the lens. I then proceeded to unscrew the UV filter and remove it from the body of the lens, exposing the glass underneath. I am soooo happy to be able to report, that there was NO DAMAGE to the lens glass.
The camera gods were looking down on me this day and had spared my wallet, my lens, my anxiety level and my blood pressure. A 15 dollar UV filter had saved my 1000 dollar lens, my senses, however, remained agitated for the next 3 days or so, this was a close call. I went on to enjoy a fine weekend of shooting photos.
(5 minutes after this happened I was switching lenses back to the 16-50mm and proceeded to drop it. It was not damaged buuuuut imagine my thoughts again. I put my camera away and didn't touch it again for a while. I just sat there with my hands in my pockets, humbled and fortunate, waiting for the bus). I am now on vacation, but figured I should read the writing on the wall, and left my 70-200mm lens at home.