Stupid is as Stupid Does!

What’s the stupidest thing (or things) you’ve done relating to photography? This topic is just a bit of fun, so don’t be shy — we’ve all made stupid mistakes! :laughing:

I’ll start the ball roling: I once ‘cleaned’ my sensor with the tip of my finger and some Windex — yikes! :clown_face:

Now it’s your turn.


My last two days of walking around photos are jpegs because I some how managed to push the button and turn the mode dial off of M. :clown_face:

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I used flash for photos at a wedding. When I developed the film, only half of each negative was exposed because I had set the shutter speed at twice the correct sync speed. Oops.

I was photographing a pretty river with the camera on a tripod. The day was sunny but windy. Very windy. Camera and tripod tipped over and fell lens-first into the mud. Oops.


Years ago, I was backpacking around Europe, and I had a little Konica 35 mm that took surprisingly good photos. I checked into a bed and breakfast in Stratford, and when I opened my backpack I found that an egg I had in there had broken and gotten into the camera. I got away with cleaning the egg out in the sink, and the camera still worked fine for the rest of the trip, other than the viewfinder was messed up!


Left work on my lunch hour to get pictures of the removal of our park locomotive #168 to be transported to Antonito for refurbishment. Didn’t notice that I’d dialed the ISO to 25,000, shot the whole thing with that setting. I was a JPEG shooter back then, got a lot of crispy images…

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Went to a business trip in India in the early 2000s. Promised some kind of daily photo reports to the family… and forgot to take the (bog standard) USB cable for the camera. It turned out to be fairly complicated to get a USB cable even in the high-tech suburb of Delhi, because they would only sell me a cable from the same brand as a the camera (an Olympus) (and yes, what are standards for) and they didn’t have any. Eventually found some kind of Nokia upgrade kit that came with such a cable. Took me three days to send the first pics.

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Visited underground decommissioned quarry with damp stale air … changed lens at every corner to get the best of the visit …

That’s how I learnt to clean a sensor !


I’ve done this sort of thing way too many times.

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Been there, done that. Taking long exposure shots on the Wirral. The tide came in and washed the sand away from the front leg of the tripod…

So proud of my new easy access bag that I forgot to zip up the flap when I flung it around my back, and flung the camera onto concrete, snapping the bayonet of my standard zoom. Ouch

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Shot my daughter’s birthday party and was wondering why the automatic exposure was behaving weird.

Some days before I was bracketing with 5 exp., 2ev apart and forgot so it kept cycling through and before I figured it out I already messed up / missed some nice shots…

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Hmmmm… It did not happen to me, but to a colleague of mine in the mid 1960s.
Press job, some Rare Very Important University Professors met for half an hour and had
to be shot together. Easy task. My colleague rushed back to his lab and threw the film
into the fixing tank. Gulp. We had to spend the rest of the afternoon trying to chase the
RVIUPs all around the county, one by one…

We delivered the photos to the picture desk.
“Oh, you don’t have a group photo?”

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I once packed my favorite Nikon lenses with my favorite Canon camera.


Funny thread!

I did a shooting for two comedians to prepare their press kit for papers and other interested parties. Last part of their show was with small fireworks to be used in theatres, I had reserved my last roll of film for that.

When all the fireworks were gone in smoke and I wanted to rewind the film into the cassette, I noticed no tension at all – meaning the film hadn’t loaded… I remember the words I stumbled: “Tim, we’ve got a problem…” I never felt that stupid in my whole life as at that moment.

Thanksfully Tim was a man of the world, so he knew the expression Shit happens and we continued to work together afterwards…

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Another one of my stupid mishaps. I was in town taking some pictures in the market, when this guy approached me and explained he was an artist - he was travelling around from city to city, painting different scenes. He asked if I could take some shots of him working to put on his blog, so I obliged. Anyway, I managed to get two mediocore images and my battery just died. instead of coming clean, I panicked, and just carried on for a whole hour pretending to take the photos. When i’d finished, he gave me his card and asked if I’d email the images to him. Then he gave me the painting he was working as a thank you.

I felt - and still do feel - absolutely awful! I still have that painting hanging above my desk as a reminder to not to pull a stupid stunt like that one ever again!

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Now that you’re certain to have your batteries charged, you’ll need to drop something in this thread :grin:

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Mine: Took the exposed roll out of the camera - not fully rewound. Took the fresh roll and loaded it. You are right, after opening the development drum I got a nice clear strip of 35mm film and one with nice double exposures from the zoo.

Not mine: There was a photo competition here in Bremen, Fotogehn. The rules were simple. 300 people met before noon and each one got a marked 24 exposures roll of film. Exactly at noon one got a sheet of paper with 3 topics - and you had to shoot these images in the right order. At 3 pm you had to report at a checkpoint and got 3 new topics and a rubber stamp on your badge, same at 6 pm and 9 pm. And before midnight you had to turn in your roll with 24 images of 24 topics in the right order, get a beer and join the party.

At the start there was a guy at our table who looked full of pity at the cheap Olympus P&S of my wife and me, securing the back of my Nikon FE with Ducktape. Then he loaded his motorized professional SLR, mounted a professional wide angle lens and posed for the first shot - self image (including numbered badge). Nice, with dramatic architectural background. Clack, srrrs, clack, srrrs, clack and then he got the finger off the button. He tried to get a second roll, but no chance.

All the 12 hours I had such a trigger discipline … It was a lot of fun and a lot of stress. You are at the perfect location for #3 but still have to do #2, you have to be at the checkpoint in time, you have no idea how to interpret “Herrenessen” …

Just for fun, these were the topics: Selbstbild - Am Blauen Band - Dreiecksverhältnis - Kurzzeitige Schwerelosigkeit - Unbändige Lust - Bremen hat keine Berge - Eine Nasenlänge voraus - Kompass - Erdgebundene Experimente - Seltene Qualitäten - Darüber hinaus - Erdbebensofa - Kulinarische Offensive - Schön grün - Kalter Kaffee - Seine Schätze ausbreiten - Kontaktzone - Im Fluss - Liebeserklärung - Herrenessen - Ballsäle und Kronleuchter - Zollfrei - Mit Händen zu greifen - Träum weiter

Self-image - On the blue ribbon - Triangular relationship - Short-term weightlessness - Unbridled lust - Bremen has no mountains - A nose ahead - Compass - Earthbound experiments - Rare qualities - Beyond - Earthquake sofa - Culinary offensive - Nice and green - Cold coffee - Spreading its treasures - Contact zone - In the river - Declaration of love - Men’s food - Ballrooms and chandeliers - Duty free - With hands to grasp - Dream on

Translated with DeepL Translate: The world's most accurate translator (free version)


Not photography, but videography - somehow accidentally hit the REC button an extra time at a friend’s wedding, so all of my recordings were of times I wasn’t interested in, and missed all of the good stuff.

(I was NOT the primary photographer - I make a point of never being the primary photographer at a wedding, too much stress!)


I’ve been scrolling for ten minutes, and I still haven’t reached the end — man, that’s a loooong thread! When I finally get there, I’ll post some shots of the Wales v England rugby crowd I took a few days ago.

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