Mere days before a scheduled shoot for opening day of waterfowl season, my old trusted friend , my back up, my cropped sensor extra reach camera bit the dust. I depend heavily on two cameras with a third for those just in case moments. I don't like to be swapping lenses in the field - way too much dirt and debris can get in the delicate electronic parts of my digital SLRS. My primary camera is a canon 5D and my back ups were Canon Rebel Xti's. Yes WERE. Last Wednesday morning I was happily banging off shot after shot of incoming snow geese when there was a bad noise.. a very bad noise..a heart stopping, stomach churning noise - and then nothing. No amount of fiddling, coaxing, battery changing could breathe an ounce of life into the my camera. I like the cropped sensor at times better than the full frame because it gives me that little bit of extra reach with my 400mm lens. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth and many phone calls to Canon and various service partners it was determined that my faithful Xti had died an ugly death. "Lady - you just wore it out plain and simple" said the Canon rep.
Great!!! My stomach was in knots - waterfowl season opener is Saturday morning and I'm down one camera, and raggedy old third backup camera! This is not going to work so I hurriedly replaced it with the new version of the Canon Rebel the T1i.
Ahhh.. back in business. I mounted up the 400 and aimed back at the sky - once again to capture the snow geese floating down into the field near Baldwin Lake. instead of the gentle soft whir of the auto focus motor on my Sigma EX 400MM there was a terrible grinding shrieking sound.. the auto focus motor on the 400 was shooting craps! More wailing and gnashing of teeth more hysterical phone calls.
" You have to understand " I wailed to the Sigma service department " I shoot with this lens DAILY! It's Waterfowl Season, I have assignments, This cannot be happening right now!"
The Sigma service department was outstanding, assigned me a specific tech, who murmured kind , compassionate reassurances that she would personally expedite the warranty repairs on the lens. It was almost as if she was patting my hand and saying, " there, there, it will be okay.."
After determining exactly when I absolutely had to have it back we formed a plan and the lens is currently in her capable hands. Sigma's service and warranty department have always been outstanding and responsive. The four year warranty that comes with the EX series of lenses is a life saver for pro shooters such as myself who tend to really put the lenses through their paces on a daily basis.
I was crushed that I wouldn't have my good dependable, 400 that was fast, gave me great image quality, and really reached out there , but I knew I could limp through with my 300mm lens in the coming days. Nestled in the blinds and pits I would have a ring side seat and hopefully I wouldn't miss that extra 100mm of reach.
Once my initial horror wore off my spirit was lightened by this poem written by a fellow TEAM SILO member "Big Foot" .
I incorporated it into a scrapbook page memorializing the Xti that served me so well for so long.
RIP Old Friend.