If you follow Invisible Green on Facebook, you may have seen this post on Saturday:
The photography gods demanded a sacrifice today, and humbled me sufficiently when I tried to take back the tribute they required.
I had intended to write a blog post immediately after that, but I didn’t and now it’s Tuesday and people are still wondering what happened. So here goes.
On Saturday morning, I got up bright and early to go hiking with my buddy Steve. He broke his leg last year and just recently got cleared to walk on it again, so he was eager to get out. I’ve been bogged down lately with projects, I was eager to get out as well, so we planned a day hike up Blood Mountain. The weather was perfect: 70 degrees and barely a cloud in the sky.
We walked slowly up the trail, resting often to soak in the sun, and just enjoy being outside. In the shade, there were traces of the recent snow, but most of that had already melted. Near the summit, we pulled up on a rock, ate lunch, lounged around, and enjoyed the views from one of the highest mountains in Georgia. After lunch, we were going to hike over the summit and back down the north side of the mountain to make a nice loop.
So we hiked to the top, where we discovered the north side of the mountain still had plenty of ice and snow. The trail around the AT Shelter was covered in ice and snow, but the snow was packed down from all of the hikers. There’s a boulder outside the shelter, that if you climb up has some incredible views. So we climbed up, and hung out for a bit taking pictures and enjoying some mountain views. It was here, that the photo gods seemed to decide, I owed them a tribute, though I didn’t know it.
Hiking down the icy path on the north side of the mountain, we soon realized the trail was too treacherous to pass with the gear we had. We could have made it safely, but it would have been slow going, and involved more scooting and scrambling than hiking, so we turned back. This would be an in and out trip, rather than a loop.
As we made our way back around the shelter, one of the guys hanging out there, stuck his head out the window and told me I had dropped my tripod. A gorillapod really, but I had dropped it nonetheless. Or based on where they said I dropped it, it had fallen out of my pack as I scrambled down from the boulder. Thankfully, we had turned around or I would have left in on the trail.
So, Steve and I hike back down, still slow and still enjoying the way-to-early spring weather, without incident.
After the hike, Steve was ready to head home, but we still had a few hours of daylight left, so I figured I’d head out to shoot a waterfall or two. It was almost the golden hour, and there are at least a dozen waterfalls within a 20 miles of Blood Mountain, so I set out to find some falling water to shoot. I should have just gone home.
I’ve photographed Dick’s Creek Falls, several times in the past. It’s an easy waterfall to access, but the light is tricky there, so I still don’t have a shot that I love. I was hoping I got there early enough to get some decent light, and by all accounts it looked like I might have. Unfortunately, the photography gods were still eager to have their tribute.
As I was setting up for my first shot, my circular polarizer fell in the river. I didn’t see or hear it fall off. One moment, it was there on the on my lens, the next moment it wasn’t there for me to rotate to cut reflections. I searched all over for it, and then realized it was in the water. About five feet from the edge and in about two and half feet of very cold water.
So, I am sitting on the rocky bank of the river, trying to decide whether going in after it is worth getting that cold and wet. Figuring I should at least try to fish it out, I looked for a stick to see if I could at least move it closer. I find a suitable instrument, and begin trying to nudge it closer to the edge of the water, without scratching it it up. Well, the photography gods were none to pleased with my effort to take back their prize. They gave me a little nudge, and I slipped into the water.
Now, I’m standing in 40 degree water, up to about mid thigh, and thinking, well, I’m already wet. So, I reached down and grabbed the polarizer. It wasn’t scratched, and except for being wet and completely fogged up, it was fine. I on the other hand had a badly bruised ego, was completely soaked, and, as the sun had dipped behind the mountains, was getting cold.
At this point, I should have just cut my losses, but I wanted to at least try to get a photo to show for my efforts. Tempting fate, I walked around to a different section of the waterfall, and setup a shot. With my tripod set, composition just where I wanted it, I reached to twist my circular polarizer, and plink…plink…plink…plop. It fell out of the filter holder, bounced down the rock, and splashed right into the water. This time, it went right into the main part of a hydraulic, and there was no way I’d be able to content with the force of the water. So I had a good laugh. Folded up my tripod, and walked back to the car, to change out of my wet clothes, and make the drive back home. The photography gods had their prize, and had sufficiently humbled me for twice trying to take it back from them.