Buy filters for your lenses.

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A few of you have heard me tell this story over beers, but the photo really drives it home.
 
Filters seem like a frivolous purchase, sometimes. I picked up a 24mm 1.4L before one of my cross-country road trips, for the express purpose of shooting starlight in the middle of Nebraska, on a well timed trip when I’d be crossing the prairies with no moon.
 
When I stopped for the night, on day two of a ten day trip, I got out and unloaded my gear to my hotel room. When checking my pouches to make sure everything was zipped up, I missed a canister, and when I slung my camera bag over my shoulder, my newest lens made a run for it.
 
Straight for the asphalt parking lot.
 
Bam.
 
Pop.
 
Tinkle tinkle tinkle.
 
I cried a little, I’m not gonna lie. No shame whatsoever. I thought it was toast. Historically, day two of any trip has always been hardest on my camera gear. In Cabo, I lost a whole camera to salt water. I’ve got a beauty dish with an interesting dent in it, too.
 
The cheap five-to-ten dollar 77mm UV filter took the hit. A stop at a camera shop in Denver got the bent ring unmounted, and the lens is still in perfect working order, four years later.