Dead EOS 30D IMG_1641 posterizedDateline: San Luis Potosí

My trusty Canon 30D died a sudden death Sunday in the Plaza Grande of Pátzcuaro. He was eight years old and had taken 11,621 shots before he gave up the ghost. His sudden death came with little apparent warning, though with the benefit of hindsight, there were a few telltale signs of strain. The auto-focus had started to “hunt” a bit, not fixing quickly or firmly on a spot. The shutter release button took increasing force to activate, and the shutter lag lengthened. And just before he passed away, a bevy of “Error 99s” showed up on his screen, warning me that “It is not possible to take pictures at this time. Turn the camera off, or remove the battery, and try again.”

The exact moment of death came at approximately 6:30 PM, Sunday May 25th as I was trying to shoot a couple of young lovers against the smaller fountain, with the towers of the cathedral poking up behind the buildings lining the plaza. The stricken 30D emitted one last “Error 99” and then began a series of whirring sounds deep within his innards until I finally removed the battery for the last time in order to end his suffering.

The death was confirmed Monday morning via a conversation with a camera repairman in High Point, NC. When I described the symptoms, he said it was almost certainly a failed shutter block, basically my 30D’s heart. “You’re talking about a two or three hundred dollar repair,” he stated matter-of-factly. “The camera isn’t worth that much. Besides, it’s obsolete. For a bit more you could get a Rebel 5Ti, which will run circles around that camera in terms of image quality, ISO, and noise performance.” With sadness, I accepted this blow of fate, and knew that I’d have to move on.

My 30D was born and raised in Oita, Japan some time in 2006, learned English in his youth, and emigrated to the US shortly thereafter, and was brought lovingly into my home in November of that year by a devoted agent of UPS. There he replaced a Canon 20D (god rest his soul) which disappeared under suspicious (and tragic) circumstances during a trip to Rome, Italy in October of the same year. While 30D and I were together, I showered him with attention, upgrading his kit lens to a 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM lens, buying him a sporty, German polarizing filter, and stylish split neutral density filter. He was always coddled in a soft case, and over the years, I’ve also treated him to bigger and faster CF cards to store images. Nothing was too good for my 30D, and I have no regrets.

This trusty friend has been my tireless companion all over the world, from Boston to London, Toronto, San Francisco, all over Mexico, New York, Florida, and elsewhere. When no one else would go, 30D was always there. He has shot at least three weddings, many parties, many trips, and many, many buildings and plazas. Until his last moments, he faithfully snapped pictures whenever I wanted them, produced beautiful results, and never once complained until that final day in Pátzcuaro. Did it hurt to suffer an “Error 99?” Let’s all hope that the answer is no.

Upon return to Boston, a private interment cermony will be held in my back yard. May 30D forever rest in peace.

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Though it’s sad that my trusty 30D has died, it’s uncanny how he managed to hold out until the end of my trip, and I think that speaks to both the devotion that camera showed me, and to my incredibly good luck on this entire trip. Since I left Boston, I have taken approximately 2,100 shots, and this trip would have been much poorer (and the blog more boring) had the camera died sooner. I do have a few new shots stuck on the CF card of Tehuacán, Morelia, and Pátzcuaro (now unretrievable until I buy a card reader), but I have plenty of shots both of Morelia and Pátzcuaro from my trip there in 2007. So I can (and likely will) write blog posts about them with photos. It’s odd, this is kind of bad luck, but I feel very fortunate that the camera held out as long as he did. That said, the only new pictures on the blog for a while will be from my cell phone.

* * *

As I write this, I’m in San Luis Potosí. I arrived Monday night after an approximately six-hour drive from Pátzcuaro.

View From My Hotel Window, San Luis Potosí

View From My Hotel Window, San Luis Potosí

Because I’m supposed to shoot a friend’s wedding on Saturday June 7th, I’ve done little beyond wandering the plazas a bit and madly researching replacements for 30D. I’ll be here for another night yet. Then Thursday I’ll drive to Monterrey to hang out with Tino and Rodolfo in the evening. Friday finds me in Laredo, storing the truck, and getting ready to fly back to Boston on Saturday. Hopefully I’ll manage at least one more interesting post before I leave Mexico. In any case, I have more tales to tell of this trip, even though I’ll be back in Boston. Adios for now! Saludos!

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