The Damage Waiver Bearly Covered This One

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A lot of photographers are glad they took out the damage waiver on equipment when accidents happen. While we hate losing equipment, I have to admit we sometimes enjoy reading about exactly how this lens or that camera returned in the shape it did. This weekend, though, we not only got one of the best stories of "how I broke your stuff", but the photographer, Andrew Kane, sent pictures of the actual event. How, you ask? Because Andrew, like the pro that he is, had a second camera and lens around his neck in case there was some close-up action while he was shooting wildlife with a Nikon D4 and 600 f/4 VR.

Here's the story in Andrew's words:

I recently rented a D4, Wimberly head, and 600VR from you, and the day
before yesterday, I had a little bit of an accident. I was photographing a
coyote here in Yellowstone and I followed it into the woods about 300yds
away from the road. As I am taking pictures of the coyote, I heard twigs
breaking behind me, and as I turned around I saw it was a grizzly bear. I
picked up the tripod with the D4 and 600 on it and slowly started to back
away. The bear got closer and closer as I tried to back up. When the bear
got to within 20 yds. of me, I bumped into a brush pile that I could not
lift the tripod over, so I had no choice but to leave the gear and continue
away from the bear.

And here's what happened next:

Courtesy Andrew Kane, moosephoto.smugmug.com


Courtesy Andrew Kane, moosephoto.smugmug.com


Not being willing to let things go with just a full pushover, the bear decided jumping up and down on the equipment would be a good idea too.


Courtesy Andrew Kane, moosephoto.smugmug.com


In a testament to the durability of the new D4, in Andrew's words "The D4 functions properly, but the lensmount is bent and the images are backfocused severely". In a testament to the wisdom of having the damage waiver, replacement equipment is already on it's way to Andrew. If he gets shots like these with his backup equipment in a situation where I would simply be concentrating on not soiling myself, I can't wait to see the shots he gets with the D4 and 600 VR in more stable conditions.

Addendum: Our friends Jody, Linda, and Anne sent us this "Bear's Perspective Flow Chart" to present the bear's point of view.

Bear's perspective flowchart, courtesy Anne Cavagnaro



59 Responses to “The Damage Waiver Bearly Covered This One”

Ron said:

LOL - Only a photographer would pick up another camera and turn around and start shooting pix. Everyone else would be running the other way as fast as they can!

Bill Verzal said:

Awesome! Sorry you guys lost to the bear. Glad he made it out. 2 days after I left Anchorage last week, a guy was mauled by a bear coming out of hibernation. He survived. It's not cool.

Rick Cross said:

I'm envious as hell. Not of the encounter, but the quality of the photo using the backup camera. That first photo is awesome. Composition, lighting, focus... I don't think a controlled shoot with a tame bear could be any better than this one.

Lee said:

When I first saw this on FM I wondered if it was your gear haha

Matt Dryden said:

My 9-5 is working for a TV station. We have transmitters on top of many mountaintops in the sierras. One, on top of a ski hill, had a bear break into the small building that houses the equipment at the base of the tower. He didn't do much, other than grab the power shutoff switch and pull it down, shutting off TV to many rural viewers. Bears are curious things, aren't they?

Jeff Maltzman said:

Agree with other posters. Amazing and frightening encounter. I've shot numerous grizzlies in GTNP and YNP, and it can sometimes be unnerving. This event was captured phenomenally well... I'm almost afraid to ask what the focal length was on the second camera.

Daniel Browning said:

Wow. Way to go, Andrew! I think the damage waiver should be renamed to bear attack waiver.

Terry said:

Was the tripod a rental? I hope it was covered as it's an expensive tripod and head.

Joshua Gonzalez said:

Bears, it would appear, prefer to shoot Canon.

Jeremy Smith said:

@Jeff Maltzman - The photog's backup was a D700 with a 70-300VR, so yeah, pretty close :-D
He's got a thread over at FM's Nikon board about it all.

Maji said:

From the fm website where the first post was made, the following jumps out, "I cleaned everything up, and apart from a tooth mark on the battery cover of the D4, a few scratches to the lens hoods, and the knobs chewed off of the wimberly, everything seemed ok... I took some test shots with the camera and lens and everything is still in perfect focus and calibration. I cannot belive after a hard fall, and a mauling by a 500lb grizly, that everything still works. "

That goes to show what kind of abuse professional equipment are designed to take. Maybe Nikon will be using it as an advertisement to their equipments' durability ;)

Dave Sucsy said:

Hey Roger,
Great stuff!
You can't plan or pay to get wonderfull press like this!

Brad Seaman said:

Is this the same guy or did he steal the story, some of his details aren't seeming to line up, like how he didn't recover the equipment. Was this actual LensRentals equipment?

Found via NikonRumors.com:

Just figured I'd let you guys know, since plagiarism of photos sucks....

Brad Seaman said:

Scratch that, just found his name, looks legit. Same guy :D

Tim Harris said:

Oh this is definitely being re-blogged on our site and Tumblr! LensRentals.com RULES but Grizzly Bears OVERRULE!

Thanks for sharing guys!

Rick Ernst said:

As much as I love Pelican cases, they don't cover bear attacks... :)

Insurance is so much cheaper than the equipment. I haven't had anything happen, yet, but that's not going to stop me from insuring rentals. Roger and the LR guys are awesome.

John Taylor said:

These would seem great for the "items for sale" section.
Condition "Bearly used".
With appropriate tooth and claw mark photos.

Joey said:

If this was my picture, the background would depict a desperate photographer crying while simultaneously throwing rocks at the bear in an effort to try and save the rental equipment that he didn't have accidental coverage on..

Jim Lawrence said:

Clarification please, which lens mount(s) got bent, the D4, the lens, or both?
Glad it was rented gear and not you.

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

The lens is fine, but the lens mount on the camera was bent, and the Wimberley head lost a knob.

Pat Eglinton said:

I guess he couldn't bear the fact you were using Nikon equipment!! (Lol)

Dan Wells said:

In the first shot, it looks like the bear is attempting to take a picture? Maybe the coyote that both Andrew and the bear were trying to photograph (the bear using a borrowed camera) got away, with the bear only getting one shot of its tail? Bears blame their equipment more than the rest of us do, so, unsatisfied with the shot he got, the bear does his best to ruin the camera.

Brian Drourr said:

The rules for being in bear county are very similar to those that govern scuba diving in shark infested waters. You dont have to be the fastest runner/swimmer in your group just dont be the slowest and above all dont do either alone!

max katz said:

pfft- the bear is obviously a cannon photographer :P :D

Joe Sankey said:

This. Is. Awesome.

David said:

These comments have bearly scratched the surface of potential bad puns.

Peter said:

Does a bear shoot in the woods?

Now we know the answer.

Jon said:

My question is how tall is this Andrew Kane, if a standing grizzly bear isn't tall enough to see through the viewfinder of the tripod-mounted camera???

James Carlson said:

Someone needs to tell Stephen Colbert. If this doesn't make it to number 1 on the Threat Down, I don't know what will.

Alan Smallbone said:

He did the right thing and it was probably good that is was a small bear, a full size one might have done a lot more damage.

Steven Sax said:

The bear definitely prefers Nikon, however this clearly demonstrate that the D4's ergonomics are flawed; clearly it needs an additional battery grip for those of us with unusually large paws (I mean fingers)....

Steven Christenson said:

Do you suppose the bear would have treated Canon equipment a little better? :-)

Jim Thomson said:

There's always something interesting posted on this site.

Jim Ewing said:

That is most likely the same lens I rented from you guys for my Everglades trip in Florida a couple of weeks ago. The lens was also attacked when I was using it. Granted, it was attacked by mosquitoes and black flies, but they still hurt. Where do I post images?

Don Cooper said:

Photos all look a little blue, should have had the bear hold a gray card.

TimR said:

where are the photos of it stomping and chewing on the camera?
I can see Nikon's next addy... 'bear tested and bear tough' lol

TimR said:

it came out of hibernation to see Nikon's latest and greatest, took a sniff and a taste, and thought, bloody hell it looks and tastes same as that old D3s, angrily stomped the heck out of it, and took off to hibernate another 4 more years in anticipation for the next D5 lol :-)

TimR said:

Jon said:

My question is how tall is this Andrew Kane, if a standing grizzly bear isn’t tall enough to see through the viewfinder of the tripod-mounted camera???

Andrew probably wanted a high angle shot and firing it by remote

K D Sandmann said:

So the bear was obviously insulted that inferior equipment was being used.
Such a diva!

Brettr said:

"As I am taking pictures of the coyote..."

As I was taking pictures

Can't anyone get tense right these days????

Craig Stull said:

Nikon D4, takes a lickin' and keeps on clickin'!!

Gary Miller said:

So that brush pile you couldn't get around is those two logs that are maybe a few feet high? Then when you couldn't get past this obstacle you set the tripod back up and then ran? Gotta call BS on the story. Funny pics though

Mandeno Moments said:

Evidently bears get grizzly when they see a paparazzi.

W Scott said:

I don't mean to panda to the lowest common denominator, but the bear photos give me paws to reflect on what could have been a more grizzly outcome. I appreciate the koala-ty photos and the koala-ty support of lens rentals. I don't believe the bear is a photographer, though. He appears to be a cub reporter. Thankfully, the Canon-Nikon debtate has not produced buy polar effects.

Mandeno Moments said:

If you find some bear dung how can you tell if it's from a black bear or a grizzly bear?

Grizzly bear dung has bells in it and smells like bear spray.

Terry said:

I would have been more impressed if those pictures had been taken with a 12mm wideangle :-)

oriniangomy said:

Who and where to edit this summer on holiday, share your information.

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