Worst Camera Nightmare.

Tagged (via MASS tag) by David McMahon.

Please answer today's question on your own blog, any time until next weekend. Just link to this blog (or to this post) so I can follow the progress of the discussion.

The question is: What was your worst camera nightmare?

The Recipe for a Nightmare
By EpiJunky

1 very bright and overeager extremely young avid photographer
1 semi professional camera in good repair
4 lenses of various lengths
2 flashes with fresh batteries
25 plus rolls of professional grade film (yes, FILM folks! I actually shot FILM!)

and of course...

1 bride on a budget. (That's another post altogether!)

I can hear the groans from here.

Yes, I had no business shooting a wedding. I agree completely. I was young, and stupid and had a teeny tiny ego. After all when enough people tell you that "You should really do weddings!" you start to believe it. Unfortunately, most of those people were family members. I really should have ignored them.

It started out well enough. I was there early, list of required shots in hand. I had my newish camera, fresh batteries, for both the flashes and the body, plenty of film and my best friend to help me for when I had my temporary freak out. Oh, and to adjust the Bride's train, and help out in general. (Notice the fact that I had NO backup camera body. Thank GOD mine didn't die on me... That's more nightmare than I could have survived. I was SO stupid.)

Okay, so I tripped over a microphone cord and fell on my face pretty early (but before the actual service), it wasn't my most glorious moment... It did do a little to shake my confidence.

I actually made it through the wedding with no major issues. I did well at the reception. I was confident that my shots were going to be great. I was beyond excited when I dropped the film off.

23 rolls of film.

To my former employer. My trusted local photo lab.

I went in to pick up my prints... The first several rolls turned out beautifully. My ego swelled.

The bride getting ready.
The bridesmaids.
Mother of the bride helping her get ready.
Oh look, the groom is trying to make a run for it!!!

The ceremony shots turned out beautifully, even with no flash. Who knew that 80mm 2.8 lens would work out so well in poor lighting!

Okay... Let's see the reception...

Where are the reception shots?

Okay... here we go... The wedding party enters... Good good good... Okay, that one's out of focus... Why did I take take a picture of the drunk Aunt? Okay...

Where's the rest of them?

Yep. It happened. Somehow the lab lost TEN ROLLS OF MY FILM.

In other words, MOST OF THE RECEPTION.

Gone. No trace of them with the exception of my eight tickets for the rolls that I had checked in.
No First Dance.
No speeches.
No toasts.
No garter toss.


Oh HOLY HELL. I lost my mind in the lab that day. When I talk to Jeff (former coworker who was working the day I came in to pick the film up) he still laughs about it. Apparently my language alone was enough to make my former coworkers consider calling the police.

I don't find it funny at all... Even eight years later.

I don't even want to go into how horrifying the whole ordeal was for me... I'm the one who had to break it to the bride and groom (and the mother of the bride!) that the lab had lost the film. I feel worse for the family. They handled it better than I did, believe it or not. I was VERY lucky.

I was more than upset about it... I was physically ill. It gives me chills to this day.

So there's my nightmare, folks... Not my proudest moment by a long shot. Let's just say I've learned quite a bit since then. Thank God.


Tony said...


I would have totally settled for lost film. Instead we got many shots with missing heads, quite a few out of focus, and a videographer who talked over part of the vid. I could have done better and I'm blind for crap sake ;-).

If we ever redo the ceremony I'm calling you. :-)

I can see how that would have been quite freaky though.

david mcmahon said...

Epi, brilliant - just as I would have expected of you.

Your sense of humour and your wonderful ability to laugh at yourself simply shines through here.

Jeff B said...

Here via David.

I can only imagine how your stomache must have just dropped.

My wife shot a wedding (for family) once. Even though everything turned out great, she vowed to never do it again. Way too much stress she said.

Epijunky said...

Tony... Wow. What a horrible experience. I'm sorry :( I would have been absolutely livid.

David :) Dear, you flatter me. Your compliments mean more to me than you could possibly know.

Jeff, My stomach did more than drop. I was ILL for a few days afterwards. Thank God I've gained some experience since then. (Not to mention the invention of the digital SLR camera!)