Sunday, March 22, 2015

I Dropped My $1000 70-200mm Sony G Lens!!!

Let me tell you about the heart attack I suffered 3 nights ago when I dropped my $1000 ($1500 new but I almost always buy used) Sony 70-200mm G Lens.

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.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Go to Songdo Park and Your Wildest Dreams Will Come True

I had been enjoying numerous photos of Songdo Park taken by a variety of Korea-based photographers and new quite well that what awaited me was something very special. But nothing could have prepared me for just how visually and architecturally amazing this place really was. It is simply breathtaking. I plan to go back pretty soon because although I was able to capture quite a number of nice photos, I didn't get as much as I wanted due to my lack of packing a warm jacket. The weather was still quite chilly, which I hadn't anticipated. It's fine, the grass was still dead and the flowers have yet to bloom. I think spring time will be the best time to go.

But Songdo Park was just the beginning. Incheon is a wonderful city, colorful and thriving with a number of photo-worthy attractions including Chinatown, Wolmido Island, Port of Incheon and Freedom Park just to name a few.

Cameras and lenses used:

Sony A99
14mm Rokinon
70-400mm Sony SAL G
24-70mm Zeiss

Sony A6000

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"Everything is a picture" T Shirts Now Available!

Felix G Photography T -Shirts are now available!

Available in a wide variety of styles and sizes for both men and women.

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Photography T-Shirt

Camera T-Shirt

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Saturday March 7th 2015 - Street Photography Dongducheon, South Korea

I have been neglecting my outstanding Sony A99 as of late, thanks to the arrival of a new member to my camera harem, the Sony A6000. But I promised my Sony A99 Facebook group that I would take out my A99 this weekend and well, I am a man of my word. I decided to get my lazy butt dressed and out for some street photography, but not before a lengthy mid-afternoon nap. I had also decided I need the scant bit of exercise that a nice street photography walk would provide.

Street photography in Korea is a photographers dream. There are so many cool and interesting sights. There are an abundance of street markets, subway stations and the people make such irresistible subject, especially older people for some reason.

I had given some words of "encouragement" to an amateur photographer who is a little down because she dropped a really nice zoom lens for her Nikon, I think it was a 70-200. Anyway, it will only work in manual focus and she's going on vacation to Bali soon. I told her to just shoot in manual! As a result, I decided to pack my camera bag with only manual focus lenses today. They included:

Rokinon 14mm wide angle
Rokinon 35mm
Bell and Howell 85mm

And here are the results from today's street photography...

Monday, March 2, 2015

Dangerous Photography

I have suffered two significant laceration injuries which were directly related to photography activities in the past 6 months. The first was when cut the back of my left ear bad enough to require stitches and then just this past weekend, I filleted my left thumb with a knife. The how and why of how I managed to put myself into two situations resulting in these lacerations is what follows...

Turner and I were in Itaewon to shoot a You Tube commercial for Coreanos Kitchen, a delicious Korean-Mexican fusion restaurant that's not to be missed. After we wrapped the shoot, it was time to load all the photography gear into the back of Turner's SUV. The back of Turner's SUV is taken up by a combination of baby seats and related accessories, as well as all of our photography gear. On this particular occasion, we also had to load up a jib, slider and other videography equipment that we don't normally bring with us, the end result was that the back of the SUV was overpacked and I had to use one hand to kind of push and hold everything in the back of his SUV, whilst simultaneously attempting to close the hatchback. My efforts were unsuccessful. As I pulled down the hatchback, I failed to move my head out of the way in time and my left ear was clipped by the metal edge of the hatchback. Although, it sounded and felt like I simply shut the trunk on my head.

The pain set in almost immediately, my ears were ringing like the after hours of a loud rock concert and there was a little blood. Initially, I didn't think I had cut myself, I was content with the fact that I had just shut the trunk on my own head like a ritard. But when I had Turner's wife look at the back of my ear, she gasped and said, "Oh, that looks bad". It was bad, it wasn't so much a cut as it was a gash. I kept pressure on it and made it to the Combined Troop Aid Station at Camp Casey where they proceeded to apply 5 stitches.

As for the laceration from this past weekend, the cause was rather more straight forward, but equally negligent and ritarded on my part. I received a "Cam Caddie" camera stabilizer in the mail that day. It was brand new and was attached to it's packaging with a pair of thick, black, plastic zip ties. My only tool to cut the "Cam Caddie" free from the zip ties and packaging was a recently sharpened Gerber knife.

Many years ago, I had cut a finger when I applied too much pressure to what I was trying to cut through and when the knife broke through, it raced towards the flesh on my left hand ring finger and lacerated me. I remembered this hard won lesson and made sure to face the blade away from my body and fingers as I began to cut through the zip ties.

These were thick zip ties and I had to really apply a lot of pressure to try and get through them. I was determined, wanting desperately to get at my new camera accessory. I pushed hard and finally the knife snapped violently through the first zip tie, the thumb on my left hand lay directly in the path of the thrusting knife. I had just sharpened the knife a few days before and it proceeded to make a one inch fillet near the first knuckle (see image). My combat lifesaver first aid training instincts kicked in and I applied pressure immediately. I happened to have some 2 x 2 inch sterile gauze and fabric medical tape in my room and dressed my would within minutes. This cut was bleeding profusely. But eventually, the bleeding stopped and I finished opening my package, a little bloodied, but not defeated.

The moral of the story is, you can never be too careful when working with knives and photography can be a dangerous endeavor. Keep safe y'all and keep shooting!

Dangerous Photography

Maybe I should wear a protective helmet when I got out from now on?

See the zip ties? Bastards. Cam Caddie.