Rain, Rain, Go Away…

Memorial Stadium in the pouring rain.  The Nebraska Huskers beat the Missouri Tigers in a last-minute comeback in the 4th quarter to win 27-12 on Thursday, October 8, 2009 in Columbia, Mo.

Memorial Stadium in the pouring rain. The Nebraska Huskers beat the Missouri Tigers in a last-minute comeback in the 4th quarter to win 27-12 on Thursday, October 8, 2009 in Columbia, Mo. / Canon 1D II N and 24-70mm f/2.8L lens @ 42mm; Exposed 1/60 sec. @ f/5.6, ISO 1600

This evening I spent a solid two hours in the pouring rain to photograph fans outside of Memorial Stadium before tonight’s football game.  In particular, my editors wanted a photo for Vox Magazine that would illustrate the tremendous amount of refuse and recycling generated by the tailgaters to football games.  Too bad that the assignment seems to have killed my 50mm f/1.4′s autofocus, and possibly my cell phone!

More after the jump

Amidst the tailgators in rain. Canon 1D II N and 50mm f/1.4 lens; exposed 1/125 sec. @ f/1.4, ISO 800.

Amidst the tailgators in rain. Canon 1D II N and 50mm f/1.4 lens; exposed 1/125 sec. @ f/1.4, ISO 800.

I believe this was one of the very last in-focus pictures made with my 50mm f/1.4.  That is, one of the last sharp pictures made using autofocus.  I had completely forgotten that this prime lens–one of my favorites, really–is not weather-sealed in any fashion.  That is lasted as long as it did in pouring rain (close to an hour) is somewhat miraculous.

While I had my 5D Mark II with my, there was no way that I was going to take it out of the bag in these conditions.  In fact, I regretted not leaving it in the trunk of my car.  Enough 5D II’s died in Antarctica with Michael Reichmann’s tour that I am wary to use it in any kind of precipitation.  It’s not a weather-sealed body.  That simple.  Oh, yes, and it’s $2,700.  Once upon a time, that would have bought almost TWO 1V bodies.  Moving on.

Exodus in the rain.  Canon 1D II N and 24-70mm f/2.8 L lens @ 32mm; exposed 1/60 sec. @ f/4, ISO 800.

Exodus in the rain. Canon 1D II N and 24-70mm f/2.8 L lens @ 32mm; exposed 1/60 sec. @ f/4, ISO 800.

After the premature death of an old friend, I switched to the 24-70, which I knew was weather-sealed, especially on the 1D II N.  I made the image above, which I actually thought the most successful of the evening: an empty tent in the parking lot by the Hearnes Center where the owners’ had abandoned their digs for their seats in the rain down on Faurot Field.  The stadium lights cast the shadows of passers-by on the plastic walls of the tent, including the shadows of these two people who were carrying their umbrellas.

Walking past the scene of incident.  Canon 1D II N and 24-70mm f/2.8 L @ 24mm; exposed 1/20 sec. @ f/2.8, ISO 1600.

Walking past the scene of the incident. Canon 1D II N and 24-70mm f/2.8 L @ 24mm; exposed 1/20 sec. @ f/2.8, ISO 1600.

Finally, I found a situation I thought illustrated the idea of trash / recylcing / messes post-tailgating.  I decided to have some fun with it, and switched to shutter priority to make some blurs of the people walking by to get to their seats at Memorial Stadium.  A lot of people called to me “great picture!” in jest, but I was happy because I had found the right situation that would let me go home!

A Canon 50mm f/1.4 coated in Riceland Rice.

A Canon 50mm f/1.4 coated in Riceland Rice inside a Ziploc container.

If L.D. Brantley ever reads this, I want him to know that I tried to revive my lens using his rice, farmed in my Dad’s home town of England, Ark.  It took care of the fogging just fine, but unfortunately the autofocus is still dead.  Off to Canon Professional Services it shall go in the morning!

UPDATE:

The rice “trick” worked well for my cell phone. I had to take it apart and expose pretty much all of its interior to the hydrophilic rice, but damn if it didn’t bring it back to life.

SECOND UPDATE:

My 50mm lens is now repaired, just one week later, for $60 plus the $15 to ship it FedEx 2Day to the Canon Jamesburg facility.  Glad to have it back!

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