Oh yes I can, oh no you can't!

Now, this is a story all about how, my lens got flipped-turned upside down, and I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there, I'll tell you about how I threw my Sigma lens up in the air.

So there I was, a couple of weeks back now, strolling around Lower Thames street. I found a stairwell up to a walkway which led to a balcony in front of the river. Looking to the right I noticed the tide was out. I have wanted to try to get the the river bank while the tide was out but time and tide was against me each time.

This time however I noticed there was someone digging a hole in the north bank. I headed in that direction to try to see where he got down from. I couldn't find a route at all so I was tempted to lean over the railing and asked if he jumped?

I found the stairs down a few yards away between a pub and a swimming pool complex at the lower end of Cousin Lane. Aha! Time for some wide angle shots with stubby.

Moving west along the river bank, which was covered in stones, broken pottery and a remarkable amount of bones.. I came across a pair of rusting container ships. I have wanted to see the effect of Stubby (Sigma 10-20mm) when close up to a subject. So far I had only employed stubby to take landscape shots. The image below is a hand held H.D.R composited shot.

Stubby did this.

Moving further down the river bank I passed the man digging a hole though bone and shattered pottery and walked under Southwark Bridge. I looked back at the Shard and took this shot.

Stubby also did this.

You can see the two rusty container ships in the bottom left. Lots of bones on the bottom right. I do not know what the line of rotted wood stumps are, perhaps the original bank markers?

Anyway I turned from that scene and continued along the bank until I came to a concrete over hang. This has many pillars supporting it and part of the Thames was still flowing underneath it. Looks OK to walk across I thought. I got half way under the structure and took this shot.

Five shot panoramic under the 'concrete trap of doom'

You cannot tell from the photo above if the floor I was standing on was wet or dry. I thought it was dry. I turned and walk a few yards away from this point.

Wack! One second I was looking west, the next second I was looking up at the sky. My back and both elbows took the brunt of the impact, Stubby and the Canon 550d went on a whirlwind tour of open air flying while I was sliding down towards the beckoning Thames.

What had looked like concrete was in fact a thin layer of dry mud with soft wet slippery mud underneath. The North bank of the River Thames had disguised it self as a Crème Brûlée.

Digging my hands in to arrest my slide, I came to a wet stop and assessed my situation. My shirt was covered a thin layer of dry and wet mud, my camera bag was covered in a thin layer of dry and wet mud. Everything around me was in fact covered in a thin layer of dry and wet mud.

Looking around I located Stubby and was amazed it had survived the fall. The lens was not damage nor had any mud on it at all. He was lucky. Once I had squelched back to the safety of the solid pottery and bone I sat down and took stock of my kit.

Stubby was fine, the Canon was fine but both looked like they had been in a war zone. Mud splattered all around. I cleaned it off as much as possible, luckily the mud wasn't too bad and didn't get into the camera parts.

However the fatality was the Sigma 70-200mm. This too had taken the brunt of the impact and the lens cap was broken along with the auto and manual focus. I could hear the motors trying to focus but I think it had come loose from the focus ring. I packed up the gear and squelched home.

Today I was ready to pack up the Sigma 70-200mm and send it off for repair. I had contacted Sigma UK and was told it could probably be fixed but would cost £130. I know I got this cheap from Amazon a while back and was very lucky with the purchase but that still stung.

I thought I would try it one last time. Still did not want to focus. So I employed seldom used method of 'Heavy sighing and switching every damn button it has'

Bloody Hell it worked! I have no idea what was wrong for me to fix it by exhaling loudly and random button pressing. It could have been stuck on the Optical Stabilisation settings and moving it back and forth corrected the fault.

Bit lucky!

Don't go walking on the banks of the River Thames, it has been there for a lot longer than you, it is covered in the remains of many a brave pottery jar who had delusions that it too could stroll along without harm.

LITF