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Breaking the MMA Lens: The Agony and the Ecstasy

Well, this column should actually be called the “Ecstasy and the Agony,” but we’ll see about that in a minute.

I am based in New York and was excited about recent photo trip. The trip would take me a few states away to Virginia. The object of my photo desires was college hockey. Now, I know this is a MMA column, but I think the story has a place here. What happened can occur any place, any time.

I went on the trip with a good friend. We going were going to shoot a hockey game on a Friday night, then another on Saturday afternoon. All went well. The Friday shoot was University Delaware vs Virginia Tech at a very nice arena. In fact the Virginia Squires of the old ABA used to play there. The lighting was good and the camera view points and angles were fine.

We stayed in a hotel, had a nice steak dinner and the next morning were off to the next venue. This would be a few hours away where Delaware would be playing Liberty College. The rink was perfectly lit, the site lines were very good and it was a pleasure to shoot there. I think I got some great shots.

This was the first time I was using my brand new and highly anticipated Canon 7D Mark II. I tried out the new faster focusing system and all the bells and whistles of this latest human imaging innovation.

The Canon EOS 7D.
The Canon EOS 7D.

It was also the first time I got to use my brand new Canon 70-200 2.8L lens. This is a great lens – clear and fast. It is perfect for the distance and fast hockey action.

Canon Lenses.

The action, the light, the colors, the arenas. I think I got some great shots of the two hockey games, but I’ll never know.

Now, comes the agony part.

We stopped at a hotel party in Atlantic City on the way back to New York. Let me be the first to say it: I am a dunce. I left my camera bags in the party hotel room and went downstairs to the casino. When we got back to the room, my camera and 35mm lens were gone. Taken out of the bag, along with a special strap and the memory cards with the hockey photos on them. I had the cards still in the camera. The good lenses were still there. The Canon 70-200 was still there, my Fuji camera was still there. But my brand new Canon 7D Mark II was gone. Crap! The problem was that there was no real way to tell who was in or out of the room.

Whose fault was it? Mine. I shouldn’t have left the equipment in that kind of situation.

I experienced all five stages of loss condensed over the next few hours – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. And my friend had to hear all of it.

Do you know why I am really a dunce? I didn’t have insurance. I take my cameras everywhere, into some not so great places and I shoot all kinds of things. All this said, I was asking for it. Now, I’m not forgiving the jackass that took it. That’s low and hopefully the camera will short out and explode in his face at some point.

But it was my fault in the end, it was my stuff.

Everything is a lesson. Always learn. What did I learn?

  • Be careful where you plop your stuff down.
  • Camera people – get insurance. It’s surprisingly affordable. I got the insurance and itemized everything I have.
  • If your camera is stolen or there is an incident, get a police report. You’ll need it for the insurance.
  • After an important shoot dump the cards into a lap top or at least take them out of the camera.

The ecstasy, the agony and the lessons that go along with them.

Joe LoBianco
Joe LoBianco
Joe LoBianco writes the photography column Breaking the MMA Lens for MMA Crossfire. New columns on the 1st and 15th of each month.

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