What Happens When Plan B Fails?

Photographers tend to be organized creatures.

In part, this is necessary. If something exciting happens before our eyes, and our camera isn't where it's supposed to be, we miss the shot. Nothing makes a shooter more crazy.

But it doesn't stop there. What if I reach for my camera and it isn't working? Then I reach for my backup camera and still get the shot.

Ah Ha! Plan B: the photographer's best friend.

When I used to shoot weddings, I had two cameras, two flashes, two flash cables, and extra cards and batteries. I didn't want to be that photographer in a panic grabbing cameras from guests' hands because his went toes up. That's awkward.

But what happens when Plan B fails?

I still think of this special moment that I experienced at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. I had the entire place to myself. But the battery light on my camera began flashing. No problem. I had a backup set of cells.

What I failed to realize at the moment was that I had forgotten to charge my backup set, and they were drained also. Plan B failed.

This happens in life all the time. We try to cover all the details and devise alternatives for when things go wrong. And then those alternatives go wrong? There's no law that says having a backup plan will save you.

I didn't get any pictures that morning at the Lincoln Memorial. But I stayed for over an hour and was touched deeply. To this day I can still feel the moment.

When Plan B fails, we live with it. For reasons often unknown to us, some plans were never meant to be.

I know this now. Maybe if I had a working camera at the Lincoln Memorial, I would have missed the whole point of being there. I might not have read the entire Gettysburg Address or felt the coolness of the marble.

I might have come away with pictures, and nothing more. I learned an important lesson that day.

Never, ever, forget to charge your spare batteries.