March 22nd, 2014
It was a pretty normal day on the beach, except for the amazing waves and the light. Surf warnings they call it here on southern most edge of the Oregon coast. Was working on what I was learning at the “Best of the Northwest” Wild Rivers Photo workshop. Sure I had heard the warning, but I was maybe 20 feet from the highest wave line and I was paying attention. At least until the wave hit me. It swept be back like a piece of driftwood. All I could think of was years of camera equipment as I rolled up the beach. The sound was loud and was like an amplified version putting your ear to a shell. As one of those guys who lifts his camera over his head and just gets wet. I fought to stay some what up upright, but tumbled and rolled anyway. I rolled maybe 40 feet straight up the beach, almost to the edge of the rising rock cliffs.
Then it was over, just that quick. Soaked to my core. I did a quick inventory, my bag was over one shoulder and was still there, but open, and it was now a pool of sea water. My zoom was resting quietly in a briny puddle. Strangely my second camera was not in the case. My tripod and main camera were still in my hand, but drenched.
A little shockey I scanned the horizon for my camera. Nothing, the waves had gone back to normal and I went way down to the shore. Nothing but more wet sand. Poseidon had taken another sacrifice. My camera was sleeping with the fishes.
Did you know you can’t turn off a wet phone if you are wet? As I write this the phone is making a sound like death, the raspy wheeze of its last electronic breath. A death rattle. Whoever is calling is likely getting a cheery message. Sorry I didn’t pick up.
The good news is I popped right up, just wet a as a drowned cat, but fine. A ways down the beach I found Shari and her husband Gordon from class and they calmed me and I headed back to the hotel to dry off.
Found out later that Gordon kindly spent a 1/2 hour looking for my lost equipment to no avail.
Back at the hotel, I wiped the lenses and remaining camera off. Did the same for myself and got into new duds. I headed to the store and bought a couple big bags of rice and buried all my equipment in it.
Swung by the afternoon session of the workshop to embarrassingly tell my story and went back to camera triage.
Sadly the whole camera kit is toast, or maybe a soup sandwich. The 70-200, worked at 1st, but now the auto focus is out. The 24-105 grinds loudly and I can here the stabilizer clunking. The 7d, never showed any life at all. Miscellaneous hard drives, cable releases, and the like all gone. The only piece of electronics working is my key fob! I was able to salvage the tripod and the filters by letting them soak in the tub. A week later, I am finding sand in my wallet and jacket.
Skipped the afternoon session of the workshop to get a handle of the situation. It was pretty bad, no working camera in the middle of a camera workshop!
Thankfully, when I went back to say good by, instructor Sean Bagshaw was kind enough to lend me a camera and a tripod for the last two session. You can learn a lot about your shooting style my being in a beautiful setting with a camera you know nothing about.
Finished up well, packed up and decided to head home. Got to Bend and decided to power on through. Almost made it to. All was well till I hit the deer 60 miles out of Ontario. That is story for another blog.
How about some images from the trip.