When photo walks don’t go as planned 😔

A couple of weeks ago I went out for an early walk and the overnight dew was warming, rising off the fields and the light from the sun was purple and blue.

It was idyllic.

I know you cannot guarantee the same conditions but I wanted to see if I could at least look out for them.

I especially wanted to capture the scene in medium format film as it would enable me to capture much more detail.

I defrosted a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 and loaded it into my Bronica ETRS.

And I waited. And waited. And waited.

The conditions since have been too windy, too wet, too cloudy. You name it, everything except the conditions in which I was hoping to shoot.

Thursday night’s forecast gave clear all night, cold morning with a chance of frost. It had been raining but I was not sure I would get the mist.

I would get a bright sunrise.

I did all my usual prework, pre-walk stuff and got myself ready.

Bronica all loaded and checked

Light meter in my jacket.

Wore my wellies as it was muddy.

Put on my winter coat, hat and photography gloves.

Picked up a packet of mints and my keys.

As far as I could recall I had everything, I had plenty of time and the conditions looked perfect.

I waved goodbye to Richard and set off on my walk across the public footpath to the view I wanted to shoot.

I was near the end of the road when I looked down to check my camera. It was there and I was on my way.
Literally, five seconds later there was a crash.

I stopped and looked beside me to see my Bronica slip off the camera strap and land lens first on the tarmac.

As you can imagine I swore and rushed to pick up my beloved ETRS.

Thankfully the lens looked undamaged but there was a definite scuff on the bottom corner that was not there before.

On investigation, the metal pin which attached the strap to the camera had come loose and the strap had slid off my shoulder.

Apart from the scuff, everything looked fine so I decided to take the strap off and carry the Bronica by hand.

To ensure the camera was working I stopped at the front of the footpath and took a shot of the telegraph poles stretching out into the distance.

Annoyingly I managed to drop the dark slide in the mud but managed to retrieve and clean it off with no issue.

I made my way along the route and decided to take another shot. I was happy with the framing and pressed the shutter.

Shot two in the bag.

Next, I saw the familiar sight of the old ploughs on the edge of the farm and decided to take a low shot of the sun coming up over them.

I wound the crank to take the photo and nothing.

The crank would now move and the shutter would not fire.

I checked all the safety mechanisms on the ETRS but nothing should have prevented it from firing.

I then decided this may be a bigger problem and decided my shots were probably already wasted and that my planned sunrise photoshoot was dead in the water.

With this in mind, I flipped the film back off and put it back on. The camera started to wind on.

Knowing the film was probably spoiled I stopped in the middle of the field taking random shots (it was now a windchill of -1!), trying to see if the camera was ok.

I was not. Time and again the shutter stuck or the crank failed.

I was really pissed off with how things had turned out, especially as I look after my cameras so much, I never expected this to happen.

I managed a brief snap with my phone but even that was a struggle when holding a Bronica in one hand and trying not to drop your phone with gloves on.

A black and white photo of the sun coming up over a field
Not the shot I had planned!

I returned home much earlier than planned and started to investigate the issues.

I had trouble getting the lens off.

I managed to get the film back off but it put up a fight.

I put my other film back on and that would not come off the camera!

It is clear that the force of the camera hitting the floor has knocked something in the bottom of the camera which is preventing it from working properly.

I decided to leave it, get on with my day and address the matter after work.

Once work was over I had time to take a look but cannot see anything obvious as the issue is under the bottom plate of the camera.

The lens appears fine. The waist-level viewfinder, the crank and the backs are working ok.

The camera is simply not winding on or firing properly and the shutter/mirror intermittently jams 😦
I did investigate getting it fixed but there are no camera repair shops near me.

I took the decision to look for a new body as I do not need the rest as they all appear to be fine.

Hopefully, the new body is the solution, but it was a cost I did not plan to have when I was heading out on my shoot yesterday.

I cannot blame the strap. I think the lugs that were on the Bronica were either worn or not hefty enough to take the weight of such a big camera.

I do not recall what strap I had on it before but think I may have used it straight from my camera bag or used my old Peak Design straps. I will ensure I use one or the other in the future!

Fingers crossed the new body works as I will be really annoyed if I have spent money on it to find out it is the lens or the film back that is the issue.

Whilst researching a new body, I was intrigued to learn that most bodies come without a crank. I now realise this is not standard and an ETRS crank is like gold dust! Just as well that didn’t break!

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