While in London this week, I had a very stark reminder of some very old, but wise, advice about shooting with SLR cameras, digital or otherwise. The advice I’ve heard from way back in the days of shooting with a film SLR was to always keep one hand on the camera. As sturdy as they are, straps break, or just come loose. When it happens, you’ll be glad you had a hand on the camera.
As it turns out, my wife was kind enough to let me borrow her Nikon D5100. In the midst of trying to take advantage of the little free time I had while in London, I had to catch the Underground over to the Tower Bridge. With the camera around my neck, and a crowd of people heading to the entrance, I let go in order to fumble around for my pass. Of course, this was the moment that one of the camera straps came loose. Luckily I felt it coming loose with enough time to stick out my elbow, and lessen the fall. Instead of falling lens first, and fast, it fell slowly and landed on the bottom of the camera body. In the end, it was just a bit of a bump, no damage done. Obviously, this was a huge relief to me, as well as the young lady walking opposite me, who’s gasp and horrified facial expression could not be missed as this was happening.
Sometimes it’s easy to get focused on getting the perfect shot. I often worry about taking photos in a strange and busy place like London, because you have to keep your wits about you, and pay attention to the immediate environment, and not focus too much on what’s in the lens finder. While doing all of that though, take the occasional peek at the straps, and a hand on the camera body, too, ok? Let my scare be a reminder for you. If I hadn’t gotten a lucky bounce of the elbow, the only photos of the Tower Bridge I would have gotten would have been with my iPhone. And, I’d be buying my wife a new camera.