A few days ago I found out via MySpace that a band I love, The Hi-Nobles, was performing at Thee Parkside Thursday night. (Having never been to that venue, I thought "Thee" was a typo, but no, that's correct.) I had shot the band previously at my co-worker/friend Rich Trott's birthday bash, but decided to contact the band to see if they'd be willing to get me and boyziggy on the door list in exchange for some pix. Rich's friend Jeff, the band's keyboard player, responded in the affirmative, and so we headed to Potrero Hill last night.
The bar was small and dark, but had veggie burgers and was much more pleasant after the stagehand stopped using his flashlight as a poor man's laser pointer toy for the resident dog, and closed the door to keep out the cold air. We got there at 8:45 as I was thinking the bands started at 9, but they didn't go on till 10. I was generous and texted mike20 from the bar as I knew he loved this band also, and he actually managed to show up before they started.
I had no problem getting a good position in front of the stage, though I knew getting good shots would be a challenge with the low light and the lead singer and keyboard player's high-energy antics. (Scotty, the singer, actually knocked out one of the guitar player's pedals when leaping around the stage, grinding the show to a halt 30 seconds into the first song.) I still managed to get some OK shots, and then my camera started displaying Error 99. I'd seen this message before, and managed to get rid of it with some combination of reseating the lens, swapping the battery or memory card, but this time nothing worked. By the end of the set I had given up and decided to go home rather than sticking around for the other two bands. Good thing the band I came primarily to see and shoot went on first! As boyziggy pointed out, after he helpfully Googled the error from his Treo, if a camera disaster was going to happen during a shoot, this was a good time for it to occur.
However, I had another shoot lined up for Friday night. So I got online to continue reading about the dreaded Error 99, and to check to see if I could rent a 5D from Calumet for the weekend. After following much suggested advice for fixing the problem (including cleaning the lens contacts in addition to the things I'd already tried) and getting only more Error 99s, I decided I'd have no choice but to send the (out of warranty) camera in for servicing. By 1:30 p.m. today boyziggy had very helpfully packaged and Fedexed my 40D off to the Irvine repair center, while I was on the bus back from Calumet Photo (where gerardp and I bought camera cases together for our first dSLRs) testing out my 5D rental. They only had a first-gen available, sadly, but at least I've used this model before and I know it will work with my 50/1.4 and 85/1.8 primes. (I would have rented a 24-70mm f/2.8 also if they'd had one in stock.)
Looks like I might be upgrading to a 5D MkII sooner than I'd planned, though I'll wait for the repair estimate from Canon before planning my next move...