We recently interviewed LensRentals and asked them about humorous (or rather, sad) situations in which gear came back totally destroyed or rendered otherwise unusable. Turns out nothing could have prepared anyone at LensRentals for what happened this week in Yellowstone when a bear commandeered a Nikon 600 and D4.
Nature and wildlife photographer Andrew Kane(who's work is well worth checking out, I might add) rented the doomed combo for a trip to Yellowstone, and this is how it went down:
"I was hiking back into the woods after a coyote when I heard some teeth popping, and a growl. A grizzly stepped out of the brush about 35 feet from me. I started backing up with the tripod and camera over my shoulder as the bear continued to walk towards me. I got to a pile of logs that I was afraid I would trip over if I tried to lift the tripod over it. I thought to myself, screw it, the gear is insured and it's not worth dying for. I left the gear and backed up to about 75 yds. when the bear stopped to sniff the tripod. I had my D700 and 70-300VR over my shoulder so I started to shoot. What I saw before me made me want to cry. The bear stood up, pushed the tripod over with one paw, then proceeded to gnaw on it and jump up and down on it. I left the area, went back to my car, waited an hour, then hiked back into the woods to retrieve what was left.
I got there and the gear was covered in mud, and slobber. The hoods were off of the 600, the padding on the tripod was ripped to shreds. I couldn't see if there was any damage to the gear, because it was so muddy. When I got back to the apartment, I looked at the front element and there was a perfect nose print on it. I cleaned everything up, and apart from a tooth mark on the battery cover of the D4, a few scratches to the lens hoods, and the knobs chewed off of the Wimberly, everything seemed ok. The tripod, was not so lucky. I am not sure if it was a result of chewing, or stomping, but the carbon fiber was splintered and broken. I cannot believe after a hard fall, and a mauling by a 500lb grizzly, that everything still works.
The good thing was that I was ok, got out of there safe, and even though I had bear spray, I think I made the right decision to leave the gear instead of risking trying to haul it out with me and fall down crossing logs."
In all of the chaos that ensued, Andrew managed to use his second camera with a 70-300 on it to catch all of the action. And here's what went down:
All images ©Andrew Kane
Upon further inspection back at Lens Rentals, it seems that a mount or two is bent and there seems to be some backfocus. Not bad, when all is said and done.
And for the record, Andrew did in fact purchase the damage waiver.
Via LensRentals Blog, who I also have to thank for the title - my brain is bearly functioning today. Ok, I can't bear the puns anymore. Really.