The Lotheni Incident

35mm film camera being dunked in stream
The shocking moment of truth when a standard 35mm SLR is submerged in a chilly mountain stream at Lotheni camp in the Drakensberg.
Olympus OM1

Acommenter on my previous post (who am I kidding – the only commenter on my previous post) alluded to an incident that happened to me some years ago while on a brief holiday at Lotheni (pr. loo-teenie) camp in the Drakensberg mountains.

The commenter in question knows about this incident because he was there when it happened, although perhaps a bit too young to recall it in much detail. I was snapping shots of a stream and thought the middle of the rock-strewn waterway might present a more interesting aspect than that from the bank, so I set off to find out.

It wasn’t long, of course, before I lost my balance on the slippery rocks and stuck out my arm to prevent myself tumbling into the icy water. Unfortunately, at the end of that arm was my hand, firmly grasping my trusty Olympus OM1, which took an unceremonious dunking. Fortunately this was clean mountain water and some time in the sun with everything open that could be opened on the camera dried it out nicely and it was ready for action again the next day, seemingly none the worse for wear.

A few heart-stopping moments but no long-term damage, and I continued using that camera for years afterwards.

the film after a spill in the mountain stream
The film, however, didn’t fare as well as the camera and I had to write off some of the shots.
the river running through Lotheni
And this is the stream / river in question.

You can learn more about Lotheni here.

©2014. All images copyright Grahame Hall and may not be used without my written permission.
Please respect the rights of others.

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1 thought on “The Lotheni Incident”

  1. Aargh…please delete the previous incomplete reply….@#%$*?! iPads!

    Anyway as I was saying, these images have so much “feel” to them. In absolute terms the image quality is worse than almost any digital camera, but the combination of light and subject matter more than trumps that. Just goes to reinforce our recent discussions on the insignificance of the gear in making a worthwhile shot.

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