Sunday 30 January 2011

What happens when two heavy horses 'Harvest' a Mamiya RZ67 kit with a 1930's bailng machine

Last Weeks narrow escape with an iPad was very widely read

So I thought I would tell a tale of epic disaster in which it was very lucky no one died, or indeed injured

It is a true story too

Many, many years ago I was assigned by a leading British Magazine to photograph heavy horses (BIG working horses which work on the land used for ploughing etc) which were working on a farm, somewhere in England.

It was in the days of film, and I was shooting on Mamiya RZ67 ProII.

A lovely big mother of a camera which for all of its size and weight limitations was a peach to use.

I had a good selection of lenses for it too, including the wonderful 140mm F4.5 macro lens which was a honey.

So I met the farmer and he walked me down a narrow farm track, where a party of school children were ambling, to introduce me to the HUGE and very beautiful heavy horses and the machinery they would be pulling, a bailing machine from the turn of the century in beautiful condition.

Having worked where the best vantage point would be I bought the car up with the equipment

The scene looked a little like this.

I started to shoot some pics in the middle of the field, I realised I had left a lens hood in the car.

I walked back to the car which was about 100 yards away, and retrieved the lens hood, I closed the door and turned around in time to see the horses bolt at top speed across the field toward the gate.

What caused this I truthfully have no idea

The faster they ran the more racket the bailing machine made and the more alarmed the horse came, and the faster they ran.

They ran straight over the Camera bag with a complete Mamiya RZ ProII outfit inside and it was gone.

Yes, gone, flattened by hooves and then harvested up by the machine which was now not only just ejecting hay but spewing out mashed camera gear.

In quite small pieces.

I forgot this in a second when I realised that the horse/haymaker combo was not going to make it through the gate way at that angle.

The horses made it but the bailer didn't.

It was ripped from the horses and was smashed to pieces.

Thankfully the children were no longer in the lane, so they avoided the running horses.

The horses ran back to their stable and were uninjured.

What lessons to draw from this?

Other than to have very good insurance, I'm not really sure.

But it was a shocker.


typingtalker said...

Treat your expensive and valuable gear like you would a small child. Ask yourself, "Would I leave a small child here in the field while I run to the car for a ... ?"

Unknown said...

Hi Typingtalker

Good advice

It was a VERY heavy bag and a very hot day

A feeble excuse but there you go



Alistair Kerr Photography said...

Hi Drew,

There seems to be a pattern evolving here, will there be a series of almost or completely colamitus stories, followed by selling the film rights to 'It shouldn't happen to a Photographer'?

Alex said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

I read this and thought first an ipad then this, but its an old story, and a shame for that lovely camera!

I like the first reply, treat it as a small child ;)

I've saved long and hard to get my setup and although we have great cameras at work, I treat my own gear with utmost respect. Works stuff... well if the boss would not read my online stuff... lmao.

Kelley Simpson said...

My first response was, "what a great miracle." I have learned to give myself a break when it come to forgetting things or hitting traffic or whatnot. You never know what you are missing. In this case you missed being plowed down by a team of horses and a bailing machine. I love my camera too but I would rather be the one that didn't get run over. Just saying.

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