...and you know what the worst part is?
Hindsight is 20/20. I should've stayed home yesterday.
I had 2 1/2 hours wide open (read: child and spouse free) to spend as I chose, so naturally I thought I'd go take some nature shots at a nearby 'wetland'. OK, so it's really just a resevoir for excess water from a small Creek, naturally named Big Creek. Keep it light. Limited my equipment to camera on the tripod and a smalll bag for extra film and exp. meter & WA lens. Conditions are wet. We've had a lot of rain over the last day from tropical storm...something...so the knee high boots won't quite do the job. So my shorts'll get a little wet. I know the area a bit, and the first 20 yards is the only minor concern.
Correction: Thigh high water and...SLIPPERY...ARRGH. How wet's the camera? Did it go all the way under? No, but it sure got muddy on the other side of the trench while catching my balance and cursing. How 'bout the bag? Partial submersion, but quick - so I'm OK w/ equipment. I'm no longer clean and soaked to the armpits. Great. I see the cell phone's in the front pocket. Yup, wallets in the back. Ohhh, key's with electronic lock in the other front pocket. Nice touch. Trifecta. I'm across the trench now so might as well keep going and salvage a shot out of this fiasco. Wife's gonna laugh at me. Crack open the film holder, change film JUST in case there's a little water on the emulsion. Trudge on. Did I mention the thorny vines? Moving along I'm seeing a few opportunities... I'll set up on the way back if I have time. 2 hours to go and the bullfrogs just got my attention as to where I 'think' I want to be. One little deep stream to pass over and get through that thicket of vines (as previously mentioned).
Jackpot! Where to set up. Oh, and the sun's going to cooperate and reduce the contrast for me by going behind some clouds. Niiiice. If I don't screw this up I could even print this for my next 'print exchange'. 11x14 FB print...matted and framed...la di da...sugarplums dancing in my head. Tripods set up. Change for the WA lens and start my compsition. Reset the tripod. Hmmm, a little sprinkle. Hey. That might really add a great 'feel' to the image if I can tilt the back and get nice deep DOF. That'll be great foreground detail!
Did I mention the uncommon afternoon showers we're getting around here? AARRGGHHH. It's no longer a sprinkle, that's for sure. Maybe I can salvage a shot...raining harder...camera's gonna get soaked...panic...meter the scene...panic...set exp. on the lens...panic...%(#%&$% still gotta focus....too late. There's no way I'm getting this shot and I'm 2 1/4 seconds away from complete saturation. Nope. It only took 1 3/4. Did I mention I wear glasses? Could it rain ANY harder? I can't see jack!!!
It just went from bad to worse, with a 15 minute *minimum* to get back to the Jeep, over the streams (growing I might add) and a minefield of vines (did those thorns grow?) OUCH! Maybe 10 minutes as I can simply back-track instead of navigating the best course. Atleast I don't have to worry about getting wet any longer. Not so with the camera. Not enough room to stuff 'the beast' (did I mention I'm lugging a Mamiya Press around?) into the camera bag. Man, this things gettin' heavy...and wet. I'll just worry about the lens for now. Bodies are cheap. Hope the bags holdin' up with the other lens inside.
Should I worry about the little streams gettin big in this downpour? Ground is already saturated. How about navigating the Jeep up the steep incline (in reverse around a corner) now that it's wet where I parked? Yup, it can rain harder. Should've never asked that question earlier.
Almost there. One more obstacle. Well - the worst obstacle and my first nemesis on this outing. Hey, not bad, and it didn't rise (yet). Is the rain letting up? Sure enough. Almost there. Keys out of the photo bag. Hey, still working, same with the cell phone.
(sunshine)...SUNSHINE! SUNSHINE! (Tom Hanks is yelling in my head 'there's no crying in photography!') I just got to the car! Why do I KNOW that it'll rain if I dare go back. Doesn't matter. I don't have enough time now. Load up, strip down (no, just the shirt and boots, thanks. I'll keep the shorts on). Hey, one of the kids beach towels in the back. I can actually wipe my glasses down. Don't tell me you forgot I couldn't see since the first deluge way back when.
Start'r up, reverse. Well, I didn't honestly think I'd get out on my first time attempt. Even dry it takes a few good runs. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. and again, and again and again. Oh I hope I don't need a tow truck. One last option - if I don't get stuck turning around in the mud. Made it. Gun this puppy right out of the pit. Solid ground. Yay! I don't know whether to happy or mad. Really loud music will help though. That I know. and a fermented beverage...
...and you know what the worst part is? I have imbedded in my brain that 11x14 FB print with just the slightest sprinkle to add texture in the foreground water. Deep blacks, perfect highlights. You know the drill. This has an uncanny resemblence to my golf game. I gotta go back there again.
So you know you left the most important equipment at home-the umbrella? I'd like to figure a way to strap one on so I can work under it with impunity during a downpour. Might make for some interesting shots.
i have seen painters use such a setup. an umbrella secured to their easel, it was quite cool. my fear with it attached to the tripod is that as the umbrella moves from the wind so too will the camera.
You have my sympathy, or will have when I stop laughing!
One suggestion - a plastic bin bag / garden sack. Packs up really small and, in the event of a sudden downpour, very quickly goes over the camera and top of the tripod while you either wait for it to pass or leg it for cover.
It was proved quite thoroughly on the occasion that I went out at midnight to take shots of lightning by the side of a canal and came back looking like I'd fallen in the canal. My kit remained dry, whilst I did my world-renowned impression of a drowned rat...
The destination is important, but so is the journey
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Yeah, once I got home and settled in I thought about a baggie covering as well. Live and learn.
Umbrellas tied to tripods make dandy flying objects in small gusts of wind. I know at least one other person somewhere on this forum had the same experience as I did. DO NOT TIE AN UMBRELLA TO A TRIPOD. I caught mine just as it left the ground with a 4x5 on top. Nothing hurt but in that moment of panic my wallet's life flashed before my eyes. It was a thin and empty life too.
By the way the story made me about shoot Coke (cola) through my nose. Some days you are the windsheild, others the bug.
Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI
So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004
Here, this may make you feel better:
Went to take photos. Packed cameras in car. Weather changed, no photos.
Came home. End result:
$300 speeding ticket.
Should have stayed home.
What happened to your camera gear? Did it survive?