I apparently don’t always have the best relationship with my equipment. Recently while setting up for an early morning outdoor shoot, I was reminded that you get what you pay for with a swift blow to my man-parts. 'Eff you light stand!
I’ll sadly admit that this isn’t the first time this has happened to me, adding one strike against my typical “I’m a fast learner” spiel. I often find myself working in harsh conditions. Insane temperatures, dirt, moisture, creepy-crawly critters; it’s usually all a factor involved in my shoots. Since my light stands are often placed in water, mud, sand, cow shit, you name it, I’ve never found much reason to invest in expensive light stands. The downside to this is that I don’t always get to enjoy the benefits of quality materials, air or even spring cushioning, or any of the other benefits associated with higher quality light stands. As a result, fingers occasionally get pinched and things often seize up, usually at the most inopportune times.
While preparing for a recent shoot scheduled for 6am, I quickly gathered the gear I had set aside the day before, tossed it into the back of my Jeep, and headed out on location. Upon arriving, my clients were already there. I pulled in next to them, said my hellos, and began setting up what I’d need for the first set by attempting to expand the legs on a particularly temperamental light stand of mine. Not wanting anyone to see my struggles with this stupid light stand, I moved to the other side of my Jeep and continued my fight with the stand. I gave it “the look” and with one more determined (and forceful) effort, the legs decided to expand like they had been lubricated with unicorn snot or something. Suddenly I was reminded how much force I had applied as the legs expanded, one of which, directly between my legs and in to my much appreciated and typically far more protected man-parts. It hurt. Bad. I let out a sharp F bomb and quickly glanced over at my clients. They didn’t notice a thing. I was still good in terms of saving face, but holy crap was I in pain. In fear of speaking several octaves higher than before, I quietly and awkwardly limped around to the front of my Jeep with what I can only imagine was the most fake smile ever and began directing my subject to capture the first set of images.
I got through the set just fine I guess, but I’ll be inspecting my light stands soon and replacing a few of them. As for the cruel, nut punching ninja of a light stand mentioned above, well, it was cleaned and is ready for the next fight. Do you have any stories of your equipment striking back? Share in the comments below.