Thank you all for the great feedback on last month’s Lehman’s Terms. Clearly many of you are concerned about the preservation of film-era images in a digital age. I received a lot of thanks yous and some great ideas as I move forward on digitizing.

A few days ago, I had an incident that stopped my heart for a instant and then set it racing for many more — $2,000 worth of glass falling to the pavement!

I was heading into a Walla Walla Sweets game looking forward to a great evening of weather, peanuts and shooting. I had just put my Nikon D850 around my neck when the lens, a AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 ED VR II, simply fell off the front of the camera. As my heart stopped, the world went all slo-mo as I watched it plummet to the pavement. I instinctively put a foot out to break the momentum, but the subsequent impact with the ground sent the lens hood flying and the lens rolling.

I wonder how long I stood staring with bad words lingering on my lips, but I recall the utter disbelief. I’ve spent nearly four decades walking this earth with thousands of dollars hanging from my shoulders and have never had a lens detach from the camera. I’ve banged gear against door frames — car and home — and dropped lens filters and lens hoods, etc, but never a camera or lens.

And I recall the dread.

I was sure I was looking at a very costly repair bill and a few weeks without a favorite piece of gear.

Fortunately, all was well. Kicking my foot out did indeed break the fall, and the only damage was a cracked lens hood (above) and a few small scratches on the lens.

Thus this column in praise of lens hoods.

Use them, my friends.

Virtually, every lens produced comes with one, and their primary purpose is for image quality. They block sun from striking the front glass element of the lens, eliminating lens flare. But they also offer protection. When the lens is attached to the camera, it is pretty vulnerable. Even the shortest of my primary lenses, a 24-70mm, sticks out about six inches, making at susceptible to getting bumped and banged on things. The plastic lens hood takes those bumps in stride.

In the case of my fallen lens, it landed on that hood, cracking it instead of the lens itself. So for $40-50, I can buy a replacement. A far better option than many hundreds of dollars for a professional repair job!

I still don’t know how the lens came loose. My best guess is that when I picked the camera up, a finger pressed the button near the mount that unlocks the camera from the lens. A lesson learned.

Learn from my mistake, and make sure that hood is attached to your lens. Your shots into the sun will be better, and your investment will be more protected. It’s worth it.

If you have comments, questions or ideas for future columns, please contact me at