Shooting with a broken lens

The problem with taking you prized camera gear ‘on location’, is that sometimes, if you’re not careful (like me), you can do some serious damage to your ability to shoot. Last week I hit the slopes in the Austrian Alps, hoping to snap some photos of a friend snowboarding. Problem was, after 45 minutes in serious sub-zero, and having fallen over for the 20th time, my super-wide Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 started failing to acquire focus. In fact, the right side of the frame was blurred!! What do we do in these situations? If you have a second or third lens, move on and try your best with those. However, I did not, so I started shooting with post production in mind; what could I shoot with a 36MP camera and a knackered 14-24mm that would look respectable further down the line…

Shooting with a Nikon D800e allows me to consider cropping my images if I’m desperate, because its sensor is THREE times larger than my D4! I could quite easily shoot my subject matter in the very center of the frame, crop off 2/3 of the image in post, and then enlarge with Alienskin Blowup software if needed. In this case, I could happily ignore the blurred far right of the frame, center compose the forest scene (I needed to step back quite a way to get it all in) and then manually focus the broken lens. And the results speak for themselves 🙂

The lens didn’t fix itself either, so I was stuck with it for four days shooting before I had the chance to get to a Nikon Repair Centre :*(

Moral? Think outside the box, don’t be disheartened, and you’ll still get some great shots! Nikon D800e / Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 / Natural light

Portrait Shoot, Styria, Austria

Barnaby Jaco Skinner

Barnaby Jaco Skinner

Full time photographer & publications specialist

I'm a professional photographer and artist. I've worked and lived around the world, spending most of my adult life on the run from conformity and routine; it's a lifestyle that lends itself well to exploring this vast Earth we call home. This virtual place is home to some of my latest work and acts as a portal for business and workshop clients.

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