Credit where credit is due

This has been a heck of a few weeks. First, while on a recent canoe trip/photo shoot in the St. Regis area of the northern Adirondacks, all of a sudden my 12-24 mm lens stopped auto focusing. The next week, somehow a new Phottix Aion Wireless Timer and Shutter Release broke loose from the hot shoe on my Nikon D700, to the extent that I couldn’t repair it.  Then, while photographing some wood working for a friend on my back deck, I was careless and my tripod toppled destroying my VU filter holder with an polarizer filter in it. The polarizer was toast, too. Finally, after just shooting the falls at Havana Glen, south of Watkins Glen last week, I made the short walk back to my truck from the falls with my 70-200 mm atop my tripod. As I prepared to stow my gear, I reached to pick up my tripod. Grabbing it by the quick release of the Kirk BH-3 ball head Suddenly the quick release broke loose in my hand.

The quick release broken off of my ballhead.

Okay, I had a clean slate for many months so perhaps I was due for a rash of these kinds of events. But, that’s not the story worth telling. As embarrassing as it is to admit that I’m not all that gentle with my equipment it’s nice to be able to report that these experiences produced some positives, too. Positives from the perspective of how vendors I rely on responded. Certainly some of these events were my fault.  Others, not so much.

Let’s take one at a time. The failure of the auto focus may have beeb something I caused simply by long term use of the lens. In other words wear and tear. I sent it to Authorized Photo Service in Morton Grove, IL, who specialize in Nikon repair. Despite the fact they had to wait on parts from Nikon, I had the lens back in service in less than three weeks. My $1,200 lens was good as new for a little over $300. Great service. Good price.  Six month repair warranty. This and other experiences with APS make them my go-to repair facility.

My Phottix Aion Wireless Timer and Shutter Release is an even better story. As most of you probably realize I’m a big fan of Hunt’s Photo & Video in Melrose, MA. Gary Farber and his team provide great service. I work with Alan

My new Kirk BH-1 ballhead

Samiljan (1-800-924-8682) whose years of experience often accrue to my benefit whether in selecting new equipment or accessories or in situation like my broken remote shutter release. The important point here is that Alan was able to help me return my broken release and replace it in only three days . . . no cost to me. At the same time, I mentioned to Alan that I needed a new screw eyelet for my Induro tripod and he got the manufacturer to ship one to me at no charge.

The filter system was another situation all together. Clearly, my klutziness was the issue here. Still, I was without a filter holder and polarizer filter. That’s a big deal to me. A quick call to Alan, and he had replacement pieces in my hands in just three days, a my cost appropriately. Fast service is important though.

Finally, being without your go-to ball head is not fun. I called Kirk Photo the day after my quick release broke off its ball head, a ball head that was at least 7 or 8 years old, and shipped the broken pieces to Kirk in Angola, IN. I shipped it on July 26th, had a call from Kirk by the 31st (there was a weekend in between)

The eyelet for my Induro tripod, free courtesy of Hunt’s Photo and Induro.

explaining the extent and cost of the repair work needed. At their suggestion I decided to purchase the heftier Kirk BH-1 ball head They were able to offer me a “slightly blemished” BH-1 at almost a 25% discount off a new one. For the life of me I can’t find a blemish on my “new” ball head

I just thought it would be a good thing to let everyone know about vendors in the photo industry do provide great service.