My wife and I recently got back from a 2 week trip in Alaska. It was fantastic, and everything went perfectly, aside from this bit of drama.
Halfway through the trip we were in Seward, finishing up a 3-day stay. We had already gone on a boat cruise through the fjords and visited to the Alaska SeaLife Center. The final day was a helicopter ride up to a glacier, and then a guided hike over the glacier up to an ice fall. The sky was cloudy, but it was still relatively warm (mid-60s) and dry.
It actually turned out to be perfect weather for glacier viewing. In direct sun, the subtle colors of the glacier wash out into brilliant white. With the diffuse light, the varying shades of aqua blue highlighting the crevasses and other features of the glacial ice was gorgeous.
The helicopter dropped us at the base of the glacier. We put on crampons, grabbed hiking poles, and set out up the river of ice. Since it was only the two of us plus the guide, we made good time. Even with several stops to admire features and take pictures, it only took an hour or so to hike up to the ice falls.
The spires at the falls were magnificent. They shot up into the sky several stories above us. We were so intent on the sights of the glacier that we failed to notice the darkening sky. Not more than a few minutes after we got to the falls, the sky opened up and it began to rain heavily. The rain damped spirits pretty quickly. We decided to cut the trip short and head straight back down to the waiting helicopter.
We were double-timing it down the mountain, and through some combination of my fatigue, the rain, and the speed, I got sloppy. I misjudged a step over a small crevasse with my right foot, and the crampon teeth
caught in the ice short of where I intended. My balance wavered, and as I
was tipping forward I whipped my left foot around to catch myself.
Instead, it caught my right pant leg with the front tooth of the crampon. I fell front first onto the glacial ice. It was hard. Turns out several decades of pressure and gravity can do that to ice. It knocked the wind out of
me. I was gasping for breath. Both knees were throbbing, and there was a
sharp pain in my chest.
After I stood up and got myself together, I opened my jacket to assess
the damage. And that's when I saw the camera. I had put the camera inside my jacket to protect it from the weather on the descent. The camera
absorbed most of the impact of the fall. I could see the lens cracked open near the base, exposing the wires and circuitry inside.
It was still pouring rain, so there was nothing to be done about it out in the elements. I made sure I had no open wounds or broken bones, then zipped back up and descended the rest of the way, albeit more mindfully.
Back at the room out of the rain,we took off the broken lens and put
on the telephoto. After a couple of test pictures, we determined that the camera body still worked fine. But looking more closely at the wide-angle lens, it was clearly broken beyond repair.
Using my iPhone, I looked up all the camera shops between Seward and Denali. Only a couple in Anchorage were open on Sunday. I also checked CraigsList, but the few lenses listed were all high-end telephotos. On a whim I posted a "wanted to buy" ad asking for someone's unused kit lens.
The next morning we get an early start to give us time in Anchorage to look for a replacement lens. On the drive up I got an email from someone who saw my ad. He said he had a kit lens that he'd never used, and was willing to sell it. Promising, but of course many times these CraigsList emails don't pan out. I email working out the logistics of where and when to meet.
In Anchorage, we check out the camera stores. They have lenses, but not the one we want. And $500 is too much to spend on a temporary lens we would just use for 5 days. We do have a fall back, but it's not ideal. The DSLR can be dedicated to the telephoto lens, and we can conscript our crappy 8-year-old point and shoot for wide angle shots.
But just as we're wrapping up in Anchorage, I get an email from Jim. He's at work, but heading home at 3:30. And he lives in Peter's
Creek, which is North of Anchorage on the way to Denali. We finish up our grocery shopping and I email Jim to tell him we're on the way.
Half an hour later we arrive at Jim's house. He and his wife are super nice. While we try out the
lens on our camera, he tells us about his various cameras and lenses and shows off some pictures he's taken. The lens works great, as promised. I actually can't quite believe that it all worked out so well. I pay him $50 and after a stop of less than 10 minutes we're
back on the road. We used the lens extensively in Denali for capturing the sweeping landscapes and far-off mountain ranges (like the one shown here).
So here we are in the least densely populated state on a Sunday, and less than 24 hours after completely breaking a camera lens, we find a willing seller and get a replacement for significantly less than we could have from a camera store. Thanks again, Jim!
Here's another of those conversion tasks I need to do occasionally and I always forget how to do it. Documenting it here for my own reference, and hopefully others find it useful too. You'll need the Icon Composer app, which comes as part of the XCode tools installer.
Select the app or document who's icon you want
Get Info (Cmd+I)
Click the icon in the upper-left corner of the window to select it
Open Icon Composer; a new empty icon window will come up
Click in the 512×512 box (you can click in a different one, but I generally want the highest resolution)
Find the newly saved file in the Finder and double-click to open it in Preview