So that was quite a weekend.
On Friday I was getting my kit ready for a nice little 10 hour job on Saturday (4 cameras, 6 lenses, 5 flashguns etc) when the phone rang. I took a booking for a 300 head Sikh wedding on the Sunday.
Saturday was pretty cool. No major issues. Little bit of rain in the morning, then cloudy and humid, then gorgeous light in the early evening. Sadly got stranded on the wrong side of a lake with the 'blad in the car so had to shoot beautiful light on the Nikon. It will do
Overran by an hour but no biggie. Home for 9:30, copy cards over, charge batteries.
Out at 8 the next day with most of the kit from the day before plus new cards - set with Saturday's wedding on 2 hard drives plus safe on the desk.
At the temple for 9:30 and met with the rest of the crew. Girl's side had video and stills. Stills guy had basic Indian wedding kit - D200 with Sigma mid range zoom plus on camera flash and Gary Fong knockoff. (Seriously don't knock kit like that - it gets the job done at loads of Indian weddings) Boy's side had video, stills and assistant. Stills guy had some sort of Canon (450?) with grip and pop up flash. Hmm. I was there working for groom's mother to put a "creative spin" on the day so I was travelling light - D3 with 24-70, 70-200 and 14-24 plus a couple of flash in a Boda bag.
It kicks off OK with all the usual stuff. A bit later, I'm in the temple. Groom's there and bride will arrive in 10 mins or so. I swap lenses for a wide shot. Took the shot and heard that s-l-o-w shutter speed that tells you something is wrong. Sure enough, exposure is a white out and camera is blinking "Err". Not good.
30 seconds to run through my basic drill (take off lens, take out battery, pause, replace, mash shutter button hard) and I was breathing again. In that 30 seconds I'd mentally run the distance to the car, grabbed one of the D2s in there and run back - I reckon I could do it in 4 mins if I could find my shoes. Anyway, all was cool - no panic and I settled in to get some snaps.
Fast forward a few hours. I'm at the hotel, 300 guests. DJ asks all the photographers if they can put something up on the 2 huge projection TVs and 2 tiny 40 inch LCDs. Mr D200 explains that it's not technically possible for some made up reason. Mr Pop up flash suddenly remembers he can't speak any human language. I'd been warned about this at 8pm Friday by the groom's father (and person who was paying me) so dragged out the laptop, pulled 70 pics without really looking at them and handed over to DJ. Gulp.
A little later I was delighted to see that the majority of them were in focus and although the projection TVs were nasty the LCDs looked OK. Generally well received.
Hour or so later. I notice the boy's media crew have gone into a huddle. They are looking at the Canon and looking worried. I drift past them and see "Card cannot be read - please format" or something on the screen. 10 mins later they haven't moved and the other media team have joined the huddle (this is in the middle of the so far unused dancefloor). They are all missing shots big time now. Remember I'm only there for creative spin - they are the full coverage guys. Also they are from 2 separate firms employed by 2 different clients.
I wander over in a lull. "'s'up?" Err, my camera has stopped working. "Do you have another one?" No..............................................................
"'k looks like the card is trashed - is there anything on it yet?" Yes. The wedding.................................
"Hmm, that's not good. Take the card out, run recovery when you get home and use another card for now - anything you do to get that card working is likely to lose the pics you have on there". At that point they just looked horrified at me. I took that to mean they hadn't heard of recovery software and, err, didn't have another card.......
They look panicked so I pitch in for 10 mins and grab the family record shots they are missing (remember I'm working for the groom's family - the guys with the working camera are bride's side - plus they look slightly in shock too)
After 15 mins I see he's back taking pics. Sweet, I can get back to my job.
Then I notice that the flash is popped up but isn't firing. I don't know Canons too well but on Nikons that's actually hard to do. So I say "cool - you got it working!". Um, no.......but we have video.
I wander off at this point because I'm really unsure what's happening. Plus there is Bhangra and some crazy uncles kicking off and my place is on a chair on the dance floor with a 14mm.
I really don't know what happened and don't want to make accusations....but my best guess is that the camera/card was toast and they had decided to pretend to take pictures then pull stills from the video and call it photography.
I don't know why but this still scares me. I was there for "extra" coverage of part of the day. The other guys were there for all day and taking the shots of record. I had 3 cameras, a bunch of lenses and 12 cards on me. The D3 was writing raw and jpeg to separate cards all day (I used the jpegs for the slideshow but at a push they would do a hell of a lot better than video stills). They had one camera, one lens and one card. And it failed. Ooops. Even worse, in my experience, standing in the middle of a dance floor looking at it ain't going to fix your camera. Strip it down, reset, wait, reboot. If that doesn't work then grab a backup.
Maybe I worry too much.