Death of a beautiful camera…

A very nice panoramic taken whilst timelapsing
All the gear I took out with me yesterday...

It is with great sadness that I have to announce the passing of my beloved GH2. She passed away in Sydney Australia, yesterday afternoon after a full day of 3D timelapse experiments. A freak gust of wind by the opera house whisked her, my Gitzo tripod, my 3d lens and my timer remote over a wall and deep into the murky harbour bay water.

They day had been great so far. It was my first time experimenting with the 3d lens, an interesting little lens, locked at F12, designed for stills use only but with a little bit of tape could be used with limited success in video mode. But what I wanted to do was see how 3D timelapse would work with it.

I went around to different spots taking a series of timelapse shots. The tripod I used was one of the superb little Gitzo tripods. Relatively lightweight but sturdy enough to take most DSLRs with lenses. My brand new timer remote that Eric Kessler sourced for me as it’s different to the gh1 version.

Happier times 3D timelapsing earlier in the day

Just before she went in...
Her last resting place...
I am NOT a happy bunny
GH2 marks the spot, just by the opera bar...

This is the first time I have lost a piece of camera gear. Back on December 31st 1999 whilst filming the millennium celebrations in Edinburgh, I was on a hill doing a live OB looking down on them, another massive gust of wind took me, my Vinten Vision 10 tripod, Betacam SX down the hill. That was not pleasant, the camera got damaged but it wasn’t lost. I have had many friends lose cameras at sea too…

I am always really careful, paranoid in fact about my gear. I thought it was safe there, there was no way it would fall in, it would have to lift 4 foot of the ground to get over the wall…it did. It happened in total slow motion. The freak gust of wind happened, I saw everything move in the bar, cushions, menus…went shit! turned to grab camera…too late by a split second…and there was no way I was going in after it. Too dangerous. Lots of shipping there, lots of wakes and a diver even lost a limb to a shark there last week I heard. BUT it is still there. It’s not that deep, the map above shows where it is. Sure the camera and lens and totally screwed now, the tripod too probably…but I wonder if all my hard days work is salvagable?  That memory card may be in intact and those last few frames will be epic…also how much longer did it function under water before it died. Well if you are a diver and in Sydney and you want to to see if you can get it let me know and I will show you exactly where it is…Probably not worth it though. I am just so utterly gutted. I adored that camera, that Gitzo tripod was my number one timelapse tripod and the 3D lens…i never saw it’s potential. Worst thing is i won’t be able to use the camera for my Oz workshops now or for the music video shoot I was going to do later this week in Byron Bay. Yes, everything is insured, but it’s getting replacements quickly is not easy for such a hard to get camera….

So let us take a moment and remember this lovely camera that served me well, even for such a brief time…and remember be paranoid, always watch that camera like a hawk in places like this and weigh them down if you can. I learnt an expensive lesson today. But it’s not the money. It’s that camera and all that work I did with it that day that are gone….at least I am lucky it was not my Voigtlander 25mm F0.95 that was on it and at least it wasn’t my Leica M9 either, that was around my neck…all this just to get a bloody timelapse of a P&O cruise liner leaving the harbour in 3d!! Maybe this is a higher power punishing me for even attempting to experiment in 3D??

Here are two of her finest moments…

Home Cooking…avec le GH2! from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

GH2: Movember Gala Party from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.


  1. My thoughts are with you and your loved ones Philip during what I am sure must be a very difficult time for you. GH2’s images will remain with us forever.

    Make sure you take the time to mourn his/her it’s passing.

  2. It’s the worst feeling a shooter can have, totally avoidable loss of gear. The feeling of guilt….. agh! Don’t want to dwell on it.

    The diver who lost an arm I think was a Navy Diver on exercise and I’m sure that was last year.

  3. Oh dear, RIP jewel of the Sydney harbour.

    I thought you were havin a larf at first… What a shame! I was looking forward to seeing more GH2 stuff from you. Maybe you could borrow somebody’s, or buy one on eBay and have it shipped to the hotel.

    These guys have one in Melbourne:

    Have you been out to the beach where they used to film Home & Away yet? Get the ferry out to Manly it’s very nice out there and it will cheer you up.

  4. It’s the filmmakers god’s punishment for this 3D sh*t AND for lying to us last time with your timelapse in the storm that would have broke your camera !

    But film makers are sensitive too so I feel sorry for you Phil and for us who will never see a wonderful peace of work…

  5. Philip, one word. Bugger! I’m sure the loss of the frames are just as frustrating as loss of the rest of the kit. I’m no fisherman, but “the one that got away” springs to mind…

    Thanks for being the catalyst for many of us trying to break though.

    Regards from Florida,

  6. Philip,

    Not a fun day – I can imagine. Sorry to hear about your mishap. Kind of know what you feel like. I knocked over a DSRL that was on a 10′ tripod on a comercial shoot and my heart stopped until I saw that the tripod head had taken the brunt of the fall and everything still worked.

    Sad for your camera – RIP GH2.

  7. Sorry to see this happen.

    But I’ll be the one to say it -> I see the “just before she went in” photo and it makes me nervous. Very lightweight tripod, center column hiked all the way up, the ballhead/camera/lens combo making it top heavy (not at the legs but at the top of the column well above the legs.)

  8. I lost a GoPro on wednesday getting some snow footage. Was suctioned to the car door. Checked it 5 minutes before and it had been hanging on just fine. Noticed it was gone within a mile and went back. Someone had to have grabbed it =(

  9. Sorry that our weather pwned your camera Philip.
    If it makes you feel any better, a lot of infant trees died also from the wind.
    Let’s hope a diver can recover it so you can either keep it as a souvenir or give it a proper burial.

  10. Sorry to hear about the camera 🙁

    I just left Sydney to come back to Perth on sunday night after a week of work there! Still pretty devo your not coming over to the better state (imho) What do I have to do to get you over here? pay for flights?

  11. I don’t know if it would have helped, but when I put my tripod in potentially hazardous situations I point one leg towards danger and two away. That way two legs weigh it’s safety and the one leg blocks the danger (Sounds silly, but it has save my 5d’s life). I don’t know about this standing up to freak gusts of wind. Very unfortunate. 🙁 I’m going to look into getting some sandbags.

  12. Oh my, I couldn’t imagine that feeling of losing a prized gh2. When I was a kid I got my first pair of Revo sunglasses (expensive especially since I saved up for them), well I went tubing down the Connecticut River up in Hanover, NH and well I fell off the tube for some reason and in slow motion, watched my prized sunglasses slowly descent into the murk and weeds of the river…no way was I going to find them. Suddenly those $5 “turtle” sunglass savers seemed invaluable in hindsight. But never lost another pair to the water! At least so far.

  13. I know exactly how you feel. About 10 years ago I had a $40,000 dollar Betacam fall nearly 1,000 feet off the ledge of a cliff in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado. Woof! Thank goodness for insurance.

  14. Its hard to believe the wind could lift that over the wall. I think one of those mean old lady’s in the picture tossed it over when you weren’t looking. They look really scary to me in that picture.

  15. Hi Philip

    While you were shooting your cruise liner time lapse at Sydney Harbour, I was shooting the same event from across the quay. If you look closely at my time lapse, you can see a small group of people appear at the water’s edge near the white umbrellas (bottom right of Opera House). Was that when/where the dreaded wind gust event occurred?

  16. Yikes! I was filming up at Mt Kosciuszko with my Sony Z1U on a tripod and a gust of wind blew it over and it smacked down hard on the gravel – I thought it was a gonner but couldn’t even find a scratch – tough little unit!

  17. I feel for you Philip. It’s a loss, but at least all these things you can get again. Well except the footage…

    Had an old Canon F1 w/ FD 50mm 1.2, handed down from my father, it was taken by a sudden tidal wave… That hurt to watch that wave hit our picnic spot.

    Hope you were insured,,, Travel insurance pays off if you take all your gear… But maybe you travel too much to put insurance each time!

  18. So lucky you didn’t have great glass on there. Better to sink er in Sydney than send your broken bird (my GH-1) into panasonic for repairs, it’s the black hole that sucks em deeper than the Harbor.

    You’re lucky you do such good work, Panasonic will get you a new one while
    I wait and someday when the GH5 is available Panasonic may return my GH-1.

    Next time tie her down..sandbag or safety cord.


  19. Thank you for sharing an epic fail. I wish we shared these experiences more often so that we realize that we are all just human and not some sort of perfect creature. Also so that we can provide the kind of support that a community can provide during such occurrences. The kind that brings out the best in people. One day we will all do a “Share an Epic Fail” Thread.

  20. RIP poor lil’ GH…
    You will be beside my Fisheye in the “Camera’s Heaven” (Fisheye I left on a bench in the Daintree Rainforest @ Walu Wugirriga lookout) if someone found it I’ll will give you a reward for that ! ahaha)
    anyway mine didn’t passed away… I’m sure somebody in this world is using my fisheye ! Lucky YOu 🙂

  21. I’m sorry to read that.Its the nightmare of everybody. I had some problems because of the wind in past and now I always place a weight, a bag, a sandbag or a bottle of water attached under my tripods to resolve this risk.. Especially if it is a light tripod. A bottle of water is a good solution, we can find there everywhere without having to bring it and a simple net or a plastic bag or a rope allows to attach him it.

  22. Hi Philip sorry for your loss, that must have been painful,

    But here’s something that will cheer you up, I found this on E-bay the other day when looking for a new follow focus and in my opinion beats the Zacuto gear hands down,

    check it out man, somebody is actually selling a Follow focus made from lego parts and the description is serious as well.

    have a look I guarantee it will put a smile on your face.

  23. A couple of years ago I was snoozing on a beach in South Africa when a freak wave washed over me, taking my glasses and mobile phone out into the surf. Without the glasses I could barely see, but I scoured the beach religiously on my knees for hours. Since the glasses had photochromic lenses, they were completely black – almost impossible to find among a patch of several thousand black lens-shaped shells. The more I searched, the less optimistic I became. After a while I became disorientated and panicky – had no idea where I had started out. Began to make a plan: couldn’t drive without them. Travelling alone. Nearly all my cash in the hotel. Hardly anybody else around. Screwed. Just sat and stared at the sea for another hour. That was the plan.

    Feeling totally morose, I did one final sweep – and miraculously found them half-submered in the sand. Think I may have actually walked over them while looking the first time. Ingenious. Anyhow – so relieved. Sang all the way back to the hotel.

    Also recently lost an expensive hydrophone in a rocky crag in the North Sea!


  24. Sorry for your loss. What type of camera insurance would you recommend for individuals? I also thought a blog post on business insurance for an individual starting off with a new LLC might not be a bad idea. I didn’t know if there was anything on your site that covered these topics.

  25. That is terribly sad. Sorry about your dear camera. Reminds me of a local death reported by a friend of mine. After several hours of shooting video from a helicopter over Lake Tahoe he dropped his $90,000 rig right out the door of the heli and into the lake.

  26. Very unfortunate Phil, still better a Gitzo and gh2 than a Leica and a sachtler / miller !

    RIP – at least you have some nice photos for old memories.

  27. Sabar ya mas phillip, anda sedang di coba, semoga anda akan melewati cobaan ini.. dan kalau anda ikhlas anda akan di beri dengan yang lebih… amiinn..

    Success Mr. Philip

  28. Hi Phill, good to see you in land of Oz, i was at the workshop last night in sydney….i really enjoyed the content, and seeing more of your great work..
    however the ol butt cheeks will need to recover after 4hrs in those black plastic chairs 😉

    any plans for maybe some more longer workshops in sydney, but a bit more hands on???

  29. Can you elaborate more on using the 3d lens for video? Is it possible to shoot 3R video with the GH2? If so that would be fantastic. I’m working on a 3D surf film and would love to use my GH2.

    Thanks and sorry for your loss

      1. I managed to shoot 3D video with my GH2, edited it with the help of the new 3d converging tools from After Effects cs 5.5. It looks really good on a 3D telly but the aspect ratio is weird, the 1080 frame is split in half so u end up having half res footage. Ill try to post it in anaglyph on vimeo. Hope Panasonic will be releasing a firmware update letting you shoot native 3d video but I doubt it. They need to make the camera compatible with the MPO-video format like the Fujifilm W3.

        Philip, have you shot any vids with the Fujifilm W3? Is it any good?

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