In the past two years, I’ve clocked in quite a few travel miles. And in those two years, my equipment has taken a beating as much as my luggage has.
Like a physical scar on your body, these particular scratches and wear was a life saving type. While photographing the ten hour American Le Mans race, Petit Le Mans, at Road Atlanta in Georgia, it started to rain. And by rain, I meant poured. I still had to get my shots and coverage for the event and I braved the weather without any sort of weather cover over the camera. I paid a price for this darn 5D (my Miata) and I planned to get my every ounce of money from it.
While hiking up a steep and rather wet hill along the race track, my foot slipped and I started to slide down the hill. Camera in hand, I held it down to stop myself from sliding any further. The result? These scratches.
That was almost 2 years ago. Since then the edges of the camera have since polished and revealed the magnesium underneath the black paint.
This particular dent, from one year ago, on the corner of my laptop happened in Atlanta, Georgia as well. My equipment sure seems to have a liking towards Atlanta for some reason….
While in the security line at the airport, I was removing the laptop from my bag to be scanned. Hand slipped and laptop dropped.
Because of the drop, the laptop can no longer close properly.
The laptop has since been shoved into countless bags, banged up against all sorts of inanimate objects, and lightly dropped here and there. A few other corners are starting to show this wear.
A few weeks ago, I upgraded the memory on the laptop myself. I removed the back cover the best I could. One screw wouldn’t unscrew because it was located at the really dented end of the laptop. I installed the memory by sliding the back cover over. Memory installed, the cover slid back on. Nine out of the ten screws came off at the start of the project and only seven was able to be screwed back on. The chassis flex from that first initial drop in Atlanta prevented that.
The only thing I think about when I’m out in the field shooting is that I have to get my shots in. The rest is trivial. If I need to place my camera on the ground momentarily, I do. If I need to place it in a puddle of mud, I do because I know it can. If I need to use my camera to save my life, I will.
The end product are my photographs. It’s what I strive for. The tools to obtain those photographs is best thought as extension of myself. I have my heart, my eyes, my arms, my legs, and a camera. The result of how my equipment looks now wasn’t done on purpose, it was a gradual process of well, working. I’ve only recently noticed it as more and more people are pointing out just how worn equipment really is.
The moral of the story? Just shoot photographs, everything else, gear included is trivial.
Art is a process and getting dirty is part of that.