Home Cameras/Lenses Leica What a fool says he

What a fool says he

All the same flowers were in bloom. It's a pity the photographer wasn't in bloom as well

Yesterday I did something I don’t think I’ve ever done before and I feel like a fool. Indeed, I begin to think I am.

During the afternoon I mounted a 50mm Summilux-M (and adapter) on the Leica CL and went out to replicate the pictures I’d taken the previous day with the 7Artisans 55mm. A good wheeze, I thought.

All the same flowers were in bloom. It's a pity the photographer wasn't in bloom as well
All the same flowers were in bloom. It’s a pity the photographer wasn’t equally in flourish

The weather was similar, the same flowers were in bloom and all was well with the world.

I returned home, wrote a quick article and then set about packing gear for the weekend.

I checked over both the Q2 and CL, as is my habit before any trip, and fitted a full battery.

Fresh start

I then decided to reformat the SD cards in both cameras, just so I would have a fresh start for the weekend. Again, it’s something I’m used to doing.

It was only later, while relaxing with a ginger beer, that I remembered the afternoon’s adventures. I’d better process the images before going away for the weekend, I thought.

Yes, you’ve guessed it. No images, I had reformatted away all my afternoon’s work. I know you are going to tell me I could possibly recover the images since it wasn’t a deep format but, in this instance, it isn’t worth the time and effort.

How could I do such a daft thing? I haven’t made such an elementary mistake in all my years of digital photography.

What about you? What’s your silliest moment in photography? What has left you feeling extraordinarily ridiculous? I’ve bared my soul, so now it’s up to you.


  1. Are you sure it was a Ginger Beer, and nothing a little more stronger.

    Finger crossed I have not managed to do this yet (but you never know). I was so paranoid as a wedding photographer that I was often found sitting in the back of my car backing images up direct to my MacBook, and then duplicating to an external drive. I used to do this three times during a full day shoot, once after the main bit, after the meal and speeches, and before I left usually around midnight.

    However the one thing I still kick myself for, was during the use of the M10 last year, I left the ISO locked at 400 – instead of using a flexible bracket of say 100 to 1600, I only realised when I was writing the article thats on here, and might explains why one or two images were never seen from the day.

    Yes I felt dumb.

    • Yes, a most unusual tipple for me and that’s why I specifically remembered it. No doubt it was the ginger beer that was at fault. A stiff gin and tonic would have avoided catastrophe.

  2. Dear Mike,

    rest assured, you’re not alone. Last friday I let me be fooled by my Leica IIIf, but to be fair, it was my own fault.
    I was visiting Regensburg, a lovely town on the banks of the Danube, it was a sunny morning. I changed the film hastiliy in order to get a specific scene and omitted to check if the film (it’s end was already trimmed as ist needed for the Schraubleicas) did really catch the spool.
    I snapped happily away, only when the counter reached exposure 25 or so I realized with dreadful certainty the absence of any rewind-spool-motion. No film-transport – arrgh!
    You know I’m an experienced (analogue-)shooter and this is a rookie-mistake.
    I was devastated because I was sure to have bagged some serious good photos. The sun was gone now and with her the good light.
    But then – there are worse things (a lot!). I took it as a lesson to humbleness and to keep my hubris in check.

    • Absolutely right, Claus. It happens to all of us.

      I tend to put film into various cameras, take a few shots and then replace the camera on the shelf with all its brethren. A couple of years ago I picked up the MP which, I was convinced, contained a film. I thought I would “finish it off” before developing.

      So I took some nice shots, reached 38 and thought how frugal I was in my film management. Then tried to rewind and, of course, the cupboard was bare.

      It all sounds quite mad and it’s something even the rookie wouldn’t do. But I never cease to be surprised at our ability to convince ourself of something, even if it’s wrong.

  3. Okay here is mine! Working for a local newspaper doing carnival shoot. Big carnival, the plan is take photos of 5 floats as they line up before the off and jump in car and get away or I am stuck for about one hour waiting. I go to five floats chat to everyone get them to do a set up shot etc, takes me about 20 mins to do it. Back at the car I discover that the film has not taken up on the spool (film photographers have all done it ). I now have 5 mins to go back to every float I have visited, eat humble pie and tell each of them there was no film in the camera and can we do it again. I got back to the car with the photos this time and literally set off as the first vehicle of the carnival. Needless to say I decided to drive a little faster then the floats. Just a tad embarrassing but I never forgot to check for loaded film again !

  4. Haha! Too many to mention, unfortunately.

    Most recently, I took the Fuji X20 in my pocket and a couple of spare batteries away for a night.

    On going to use the camera, I find that it’s flat. No bother, I bought the spares. Only to discover that I’d brought along the battery for the similar, but not interchangeable, Fuji XQ1 !!

    No pics taken that weekend……

    • Don’t worry, Jason, I’ve done that too. The batteries for the D-Lux and CL are very similar unless you put them side by side. And, of course, I have picked up the wrong ones on occasion. And did I mention taking the wrong charger? That’s why I like in-camera charging. You can always go out and buy a USB lead if you forget that as well.

  5. Mike

    Let’s not forget the classic large format mistake. Pulling the dark slide from your film holder before you close the shutter. I must have done this at least once a year for a lot of years.


    • Mercifully this has never happened to me, but probably only because I never owned the gear. Give me to opportunity and I will do it.


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