Josh Letchworth

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i have a tendency to put my gear down in various places while shooting. I get carried away in the moment and then turn around to see a path of cameras, lenses and filters scattered in different places. Yes, an assistant helps, but there are still those times that I shoot without one.

I was recently shooting up in Aspen with Nike 6.0 snowboard team and I found myself in one of those moments of creative bliss. We were shooting some outerwear with one of the athletes and decided to stage up around a Snow Cat machine. It looked like a safe place to set my backpack. It appeared to have been parked in the same spot for over a week. Well, if it had…then it decided to make a move on this day. We shot some photos and worked our way out of sight my bag.

Here’s a rundown of what I had with me:

NIkon d3s
Nikon d700
70-200 2.8
24-70 2.8
35mm 1.4
zeiss 85mm 1.4
50mm 1.4
sb 26 flash
Nikon FM

I happened to have both camera bodies around my neck, one with the 70-200 on it and one with the 24-70. The FM was in the backpack with the 35mm 1.4 attached. And everything else listed was also in the backpack.

I present you with evidence image #1. There she is sitting on the snow cat track. Great spot for a camera bag right?

We were about 50 ft away from the Cat when we heard the beast start up and growl. It didn’t really grab my attention like it should have. There was some movement and then a sudden realization that my life was in that backpack sitting innocently on death’s doorstep. I screamed out…it was too late. The driver was not interested in my frantic waving. And in one split moment….the bag was buried. I rushed over the pried the bag out of the snow. I gave her a shake and heard what sounded like a paper bag full of glass shards.

All in all, I was really damn lucky. First off, having the 2 camera bodies (both of which were not mine) around my neck, really saved my ass. I don’t know how…but all the lenses were fine. The zeiss 85mm had a lens hood on it. The hood was wrapped around it like a wilted flower. the lens cover was smashed. Weird. But the lens was fine. The 35mm was attached to the FM. The FM was crushed, but the lens was fine. You could take it on and off the camera ok. All of filters were smashed. And thats pretty much it. I wondered what would have happened if I had the other 2 camera bodies in there with the lenses on them. Could have been ugly.

Lesson learned. Keep an eye on yo shit.