Be Careful Not to Get Robbed While Shooting
Yes, this did happen to me! Yes, I am typically very careful! I am writing this so that if anyone can learn from this and not have this happen to them, then that’s great! I hope that others can learn from my horrible experience.
I was at a well known park (which happens to be in an upper class neighborhood area), where many local photographers shoot, and I was working with a family of four. When I shoot at any non beach location, I carry my gear around in a black rolling camera bag/luggage. I typically keep my camera bag right by me most of the time, and if it’s not right by me then it’s where I can see it while shooting.
Well, here’s what happened… I was doing some shots where I was having the kids run toward the camera ( some cute action shots) and I was on a green grass hill. I had to move the spot that I was in to get the shots I wanted, and the kids were running around and I moved a little bit away from my camera. Well, I get done shooting that series of shots, and I turn around to grab my bag and it’s not where it was! I immediately get that horrible deep pit feeling in my stomach as I tell my client that my bag is gone and ask them if they see it anywhere. They were wonderful people and the husband was quickly running around to see if he could see anyone with it. Well, just then he sees a homeless man take off with my camera bag! This homeless man lives out of his truck, and he threw my camera bag in his truck and sped off. I filed a police report and they said they knew which homeless man I was talking about, but he was never caught.
So, the good news is that my camera body and main lens was with me, but I had extra lenses, my flash, memory cards, cell phone, car keys, etc, all in the bag. So I had to immediately go to the local camera store and replace all the gear that had been stolen. I did not have insurance on my camera gear. Here’s the good news: Three weeks after the incident, I get a call from a park ranger, telling me that she had found my camera bag buried in the bushes at a park. I was in complete shock, drove immediately there to pick it up, and then ended up selling most of that gear on bay (as I had already bought gear to replace it). So, even if you think you are in a safe place, always keep your eye on your bag, or maybe have an assistant with you to carry your bag around. I know some photographers use back packs or gear belts to carry their gear around in, but I personally cannot do that (and yes I have tried them all). I need to have full movement as I am always bending down, laying down, (and quickly!) to get the shots that I want.