Tasmania, Australia 2004
Canon EOS 1-Ds, 24mm TS-E Tilt-Shift lens, 1/15 second @ f5.6, ISO 100, tripod-mounted, no filter
If I tell you this story, you have to remember it is relatively early in the days of digital photography. Things can happen that you’re not expecting. And they can make you feel a little silly as well
I was down on Bruny Island for an AIPP meeting. Richard Bennett had a block of land tucked away on the island, but at that time he hadn’t built anything on it, so we were staying at the only hotel available.
After the meeting, there was time to drive down to the southern tip of Bruny Island to take a few photos. A storm passed over, covering the road with hail, but by the time we reached the end of the road, there were just a few pools of water and an ominous sky. This is when the photo was taken.
With just a little daylight left, we continued down to the lighthouse and walked up the hill to the right, searching for another angle. Looking at the images on the back of the camera’s LCD screen, I could see my composition wasn’t as dynamic as the previous view, but the clouds looked interesting. Another storm was brewing, so I bundled my camera into my backpack and ran down the hill to the car before the rain squall hit.
Back at the hotel while waiting for dinner, we all downloaded our files. We loved this digital technology – instead of waiting for a few hours, or days, or weeks (depending on whether you processed film yourself or sent it off to a lab), with digital we could see our photographs immediately. But there was a problem.
I was anxious to see the last few photos I had taken, so I scrolled through to the end of the images to see what I had – but they were all blank. More to the point, they were all completely black. I couldn’t understand this. I looked back at one, two, three, five, ten, twenty images and they were all black! But I had seen the images on the back of the camera’s LCD screen - what was happening?
I sat down and explained the issue to the other photographers. They looked puzzled, but were probably more interested in their glasses of South Australian red. I decided to join them. After I had calmed down, I looked through the files again. Yes, they were all definitely black. What about the photos I had taken earlier in the day?
I scrolled further back and suddenly, there were all my files, including my ‘missing’ files! What had happened? Then it dawned on me. I had left the camera turned on when I threw it in my backpack and, as I ran down the hill, the jolts were pressing the shutter release. And as it was pretty dark in the backpack, the photos were black.
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