Songs of Farewell and Departure…

April 19, 2009


So today my Nikon D60 died…  Everyone wants to know the story, so here it is:

A long running project for work was finally coming to and end and I had to work today (Saturday) as part of the final deliverable for it.   The client’s office is down near Ground Zero on the 19th floor and has some pretty amazing views.  My original thought process with bring my camera gear was to set up at the end of one of the wings and do a time lapse of my coworkers and I working.  Upon arrival, the Account Manager for the client said that one of the first things that they said to them was not to post any pictures of their office on the internet.  It’s a reasonable request… much of their work is visual and I’m sure that it needs to be kept under wraps.  So no biggie, I decided to modify my plan and do a time lapse session aiming South from the office.  From here, I had a great shot of the Battery Tunnel and the water just beyond.  Traffic, water, and sky… it was an amazing shot.

The window was kinda dirty as you can expect with most high rises in the city, so I opened the window so I could put my camera out on the ledge.  It was a large ledge, much larger than the one I had used a couple days before in my office.  There was a gentle breeze blowing, nothing that would make me worry about the safety of my camera.  So I bent up my Gorillapod and set it out towards the edge with a nice wide stance for stability.  I do my TL shots with the D60 tethered to an EEEPC.  This is the only way to do TL with the D60 which is fine because I can control all of the settings and the pics get transferred straight to the netbook so I can open them up full size and see how they look.

I had my framing, I had my settings, so I started up the TL window, 10 second intervals, click and go.  As per usual, I check on the progress every time I get near it, simply to make sure it’s still taking pics as sometimes the software tends to freeze up on me.  A couple hours had gone by and it was doing fine, couldn’t wait for the battery to die out so I could see what I had.  Normally I can get just under 1100 shots on a full charge.

I happened to be working on a computer a few feet from the window with my back to it when it happened.  I heard a noise behind me and when I looked back, I saw one of my coworkers so didn’t think much of it.  I wasn’t sure how many more shots were left before the battery died out so I was listening for the shutter click… too much time had gone by without hearing one.  So I went to the window and my camera was no where to be seen, only the USB extension cable that I had the cable from the camera plugged into… and my heart sank.  I immediately thought that maybe my coworker had noticed that the battery had died and was pulling a prank on me by taking it in and hiding it.  I didn’t want to think of the 19 story drop.  I ran down the east wing of the office and didn’t see him.  Another coworker… who apparently isn’t afraid of heights, was laying out on the ledge looking down… the look back over his shoulder said it all.

I ran to the elevator and jammed on the down button.  It took a minute to come and I jumped in and pushed the lobby button, the whole ride down just saying “fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck…” The doors opened and I ran outside to see the horror of it all come true.  Sitting on the sidewalk was my D60… exploded into pieces.  The Gorillapod was in 4 or 5 pieces, the lens broke in half, some still on the body, the other part in the street.  Pieces of glass and plastic were everywhere.  I walked over and kneeling next to it, kinda like it was my child that had fallen lol.  It was only after I picked it up did I stop to look around and see if there was anyone laid out or anything, but thankfully no one even seemed to pay any attention to it.  I collected as many of the pieces as I could and headed back inside.

As I got back to the office, my coworker that was hanging out the window was sitting at the reception desk and just stared blankly at me… no idea what to even say.  I put the pieces at the IT station in the back and went back to work, trying not to think about it.  I waited probably a half hour before I went and put away the EEEPC.  Checking the last shots I thought I might get some idea as to what had happened… a bird maybe?  I dunno.  The last shot was normal… 805 shots.

I came home a few hours later, exhausted by the day.  I started compiling the last time lapse my poor D60 made for me… and it’s amazing.  I don’t think it’s worth the price paid but it’s definitely it’s swan song.  I’m going to have to reencode it smaller as I can’t seem to get it uploaded without it erroring out.  I’ll have it up soon though.  I’ve posted some pics over on my Flickr account of the remains that I was able to gather.

I think the reason it hasn’t totally devastated me yet is that I have a small hope that I can get it replaced under my extended protection program that I purchased with my D60.  It clearly states that it covers “accidental damage caused by drops,” and that’s exactly what this is.  So if I have time tomorrow, I’m gonna hoof it over to the store and hope for someone to have pity on me.  The thing that really sucks is now that the weather is nice, I had all these plans to go out and finally start getting shots of all the stuff I’ve been wanting to.  My plan for after work was to meet up with a friend and go get some night shots in the city.  I’ve started planning a time lapse of the sun setting from the Empire State, but that’s all on hold now.  It’s going to be well over 2 months before I can even think about being able to afford a replacement.  So with the hope that I can get it replaced, there are several other things that make this “not as bad” as it could have been…

1.  It didn’t hit anyone (that I know of)

2.  My SD card was in the laptop and not in the camera.

3.  The lens I was using was the kit lens that came with it, so my 50mm is safe.

4.  I had been using a cable extension the last time I setup my cam for a TL shot and it separated from the cable that was plugged into the D60.  I think without that, the EEEPC would’ve gone with it.  That thing holds onto USB cables tight.  I also can’t help but wonder if I had it plugged straight in that I might have been able to pull it back up… but what’s done is done, no use in wondering.

Upon viewing the video once it was compiled, you can definitely see the image shaking a little bit from the wind.  I’m sure at this point that is what caused it.

So does this end my TL photography?  Hell no.  I’m just going to be a lot more cautious with setting up my next cam whenever that may be.  I’m going to look into getting some sort of clamp setup for when I want to hang it out a window.  As well as some sort of fail safe, like tying something tight around the clamp and then tying it off to something else sturdy… redundancy.

So D60… I will miss you terribly, and I hope to have a new one of you soon.



One comment

  1. A theater around the mounting screw, a reasonable length of line, and it there is nothing to tie it on a smallish but sufficiently heavy lead block works very nice. The block can be used directly under the tri-pod to secure it or can be set in a remote location and used as an anchor for a safety line.

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