I’ve been trying to avoid this post for the last few days. This weekend I was shooting at the top of a waterfall, a virtually unknown one called Summit Creek Falls in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge. It’s rare you can get in a relatively safe position to shoot decent pictures at the lip of a falls. Most of them end up being disappointing because when you look down you lose the sense of depth in pictures.
Anyway, while I was there I momentarily broke one of my rules and didn’t have my neckstrap on. Only one other time did I do that in the past couple years, and that’s when the 5DII went in. Murphy’s Law is a vicious thing. Murph took over at that point and my tripod, Canon 5D III and an L lens went over. Amazingly it got caught about 10 feet down off the lip of the 100-foot falls, on a submerged log or rock.
After almost dying in a foolish attempt to climb down and get it (maybe a bit of subconscious suicidal thought going on there!), I stopped and caught my breath and thought about the certain consequence of going any further. I retreated back up, took off my bootlaces, rigged a slip knot and loop, tied off to a long stout stick I found, and went fishing. I was able to grab hold of a tripod leg.
It’s funny to think about, but if I still had my fancy Gitzo tripod (which has twist leg locks), I would have never recovered it. With my old trusty Manfrotto that has bulkier lever locks, I was able to grasp it with the loop. After a frantic wrestling match, fighting the implacable, uncaringly powerful spring snowmelt, I got it.
The gear had been pounded with tons of water for almost an hour. But my tripod and head (not like the camera but not inexpensive either) are fine. I just got off the phone with Canon and they can’t accept it for repair. They say if it’s repairable it would be almost the cost of a new camera. So it’s gone. My bad: no insurance!
My backup camera, a 5D II that had itself been repaired from a brief dip at the top of yet another waterfall, I sold a couple months ago to help pay off the bill from the 5D III more quickly. So I’m down to an older point and shoot, which means I’m down to snapshop/street photography only. I am in the worst financial shape of my adult life right now so can’t afford even a used cheaper DSLR. I will likely sell off the rest of my gear and give up the dream of going fully pro, at least for now.
I debated discontinuing this blog, but my interests are so varied, and I believe I have much to say. So I’ll keep at it and probably post Friday Foto Talks too, though perhaps not every Friday. One negative about this plan: I’ve been blogging for quite awhile now and I have included many images in my posts, believing that I will always be shooting new images; now that’s not the case, and so some of the example images will be reposts from my archive.
So that’s it. A sad week for me, and something big in my life has now gone. A big transition back to just observing light and nature instead of always wanting to capture its beauty. But it’s how I started out and how I came to be a decent photographer in the first place. Please don’t feel bad for me. It was a great run!
By the way, these images are from the last day shooting with my camera. CF memory cards are amazing!