Last Saturday, I had some errands to do not far from the beach. On a whim, I tossed my camera into the car prior to leaving. (And no, I don't normally take my camera with me on errands.)
We had a storm the night before, and I was hoping to catch some lingering clouds over the ocean. I love the ocean during a storm. I knew the waves would be big and the beach mostly deserted.
It was late afternoon when I pulled into the parking lot of one of my favorite beaches. The instant I stepped out of the car, I regretted not being better prepared. The wind was whipping furiously and bitter cold.
OK, so bitter cold for me means the temperature was in the 50's (13C). I know nothing about wind chill factors, but it felt like … FREEZING. I was wearing my usual legging type (skin-tight, no warmth to them) work out pants, a thin long sleeved t-shirt, and a flannel shirt tied around my waist. I wasn't dressed adequately.
Wind … really cold wind!
I eyed the clouds warily. It looked like the second wave of the storm was headed my way and I hadn't thought to bring the "rain gear" I have for my camera. I am, after all, from Southern California where it rarely rains. Yes, I have protective rain gear for my camera – but no, I've never once needed to use it.
The waves were in a fury and I felt exhilarated.
Angry waves, whipping wind, a chill that would wake up the dead ….
I couldn't wait!
I walked to the beach. As I walked, I assessed the light. To be honest, I was in a bit of a quandary. One moment the sun would be out and the clouds would part showing clear blue, sky. The next moment it would be dark from the storm clouds, with conditions rivaling night photography. I stood back, out of reach of the waves, and began moving camera dials.
It was a bit of a challenge.
I thought I had my settings correct but before I could snap a single photo, the lighting conditions vastly changed. I stared at my camera dials, hesitating.
All of a sudden, with no warning, I was flat on my ass in the freezing cold Pacific.
And oh yes, I did have my Canon 7D in my hands at the time.
"Shit!" I exclaimed as I hoisted my camera above my head.
Never mind getting soaked, never mind looking like an ocean novice, never mind the sand pouring into every crevice of my body …
Saving the camera was urgently important.
The wave began receding and I scrambled up, frantically drying my camera with my hair.
"Damn, damn, damn," I muttered to myself.
I know better.
You never turn your back on the ocean, especially in a storm. The ocean deserves your utmost respect. If you disrespect her, the error of your ways will be shown to you swiftly and forcefully.
I had been standing far out of the reach of the waves, or so I thought. Storm waves are not regular waves. A stormy ocean is an unpredictable one.
I know better, I know better, I know better!
Ahhh … and now I was beyond cold.
The wind whipped around my wet, chilled body.
My clothes were glued to me with nothing but salt and sand between the fabric and my skin. My teeth chattered, and my shoes squished out sea water with every step I took.
I glanced toward the parking lot.
Clearly, I needed to leave without taking a single shot.
I looked at my camera.
I brought it to my eye.
Would it still work?
Happily, the answer is yes.
© Twenty Four At Heart