Research psychiatrists have recently identified a severe form of psychosis common only to photographers. It is called “photogramania” (fohtah-grah-mey-nee-uh).
Symptoms of photogramania include but are not limited to extreme agitation, outbursts of rage, schizophrenia and homicidal tendencies.
Sadly, I’m a sufferer.
This acute form of mental illness can be brought on by a wide variety of genetic and environmental causes.
One of the most common environmental causes is losing a lens cap.
This twisted tale of joy and pain in one such outburst of photogramania began innocently enough a couple days ago while photographing a serene landscape near Fort Rock, OR.
Most episodic triggers of photogramania, like this one, begin unexpectedly.
I’d been taking panoramic views with my favorite 16-35mm super-wide when a surprise discovery appeared at my feet; this tiny Leucocrinum montanum.
It is commonly called a starlily, sand lily or mountain lily. These pretty little white wildflowers are found mostly in the sandy soils of sagebrush country.
In my exuberance I rushed back to the nearby vehicle to switch to the 100mm macro for some close-ups to document the exciting discovery.
I was very pleased to capture such a nice, unexpected find while out walking in the refreshing crisp morning air of central Oregon’s high desert country.
Then Tragedy Strikes
However, after walking back to the my vehicle I discovered, to my great horror, as has happened so many times before, that once again the lens cap to my 16-35mm super-wide was missing!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to search for that particular lens cap.
I’ve dug it out of the middle of scrub brush, retrieved it after it fell off cliffs and even had to fish it out of a boiling hot springs one time.
Another time it took almost an hour to relocate this black lens cap in plain sight on pure white snow covered ground in Death Valley!
Why This Particular Lens Cap?
A common problem facing landscape photographers using super-wide lenses and polarizer filters is that most polarizers are so thick that they will block light to the corners of a camera’s sensor or film causing vignetting when wide open. That renders the outer frame unusable.
Landscape photographers hate vignetting unless, of course, we introduce it ourselves for artistic purposes. 🙂
For super-wides you need an extra-thin polarizer filter to prevent vignetting.
My most expensive filter, a 82mm B+W Schneider Optics slim mount circular polarizer, was bought special for that purpose.
Its circular motion turns smoother than a baby’s behind! Its my favorite polarizer.
And therein lies the problem… that expensive filter must be protected from scratches!
Normal filters have an outside thread that normal lens caps use to grip to the lens and hold on without falling off. Slim filters don’t have outer threads. That is how they are made thin.
Therefore, normal lens caps cannot be used on them. Dang!
How to Prevent Losing a Normal Lens Cap
There is a simple solution to prevent a normal lens cap from getting lost.
You can buy it in any camera store.
Its an elastic band that stretches around the lens that has a sticky surface affixed to the cap itself that keeps it attached to the lens at all times.
Bad Lens Cap Design
Unfortunately, some idiot at Schneider Optics thought it would be stylish to add a rough surface to their lens cap and that stupid, ignoramus decision keeps the “normal” solution for preventing lens cap loss from working.
I know, I’ve tried it.
I’ve even tried using gorilla glue with the sticky thingy to attach the elastic band to the lens cap using the “normal” solution. Gorilla glue works on everything but it DOESN’T work on Schneider lens caps!!
The problem is exasperated by the fact that the Schneider lens cap simply falls off in warm temperatures. Its famous for that, I’m told. Mine’s been in warm temperatures so much that it has expanded and falls off even in cool temperatures!
The Duct Tape Solution
So I resorted to the repairman’s last line of defense – duct tape!
As you can see in the pictures above, that is the solution employed at the time of the lost lens cap event.
After being untapped and re-tapped a number of times duct tape loses it’s stick-um and I had left the latest batch on to long. 😦
Photogramania Sets In
After losing the lens cap I retraced my steps back and forth, searching in every sage brush for 100 yards and everywhere in between.
That triggered a photogramania episode.
How bad? Lets just say its a good thing small, sensitive children or expensive crystal glassware weren’t close by.
The cap was finally relocated and the psychotic episode waned.
I don’t wanna brag, but despite fighting off temporary insanity, I drew from my considerable detective skills and vast experience and with mathematical precision found the lens cap. (I spotted it fallen between the buckets seats in the car after giving up searching)
The Final Solution
Undaunted, I’ve created a new, fail-safe method to prevent lens cap loss in the future.
Will it work? Stay tuned for a future article titled, “The Lost Lens Cap: Return of Photogramania!”