I spent last weekend in the mountains. Before you start wondering, I didn’t ski. I’m what you call an anti-talent. I tried to learn for the past 3 years but failed every time. So on this trip I decided to spend my time enjoying the mountains, sitting in the sun, breathing the fresh air, tasting delicious Austrian dishes, reading a good book and making some nice photographs.
I packed my camera with all the rest of the equipment I have. I took my tripod, after I eventually found it in a dark corner in the cellar forgotten for the last months. My new remote release I’ve ordered a few days before the trip arrived just in time before heading out. So I was good to go.
On the way there I read the book I wanted to read for so long, the first volume of Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography Book. It’s an excellent way to learn a few new tricks and I recognized several mistakes I was doing previously. I’m planning to read the next two volumes as well but, since Scott recommends Rick Sammon’s Complete Guide to Digital Photography 2.0, I decided to give it a second try. I say, a second try because I already browsed through it once but put it down without finishing it.
On the Friday evening after we arrived, the first thing was to unpack the tripod and set it up to make a few test shots. I tried several suggestions Scott gave in his book and, even though it was difficult to see on the camera’s small LCD screen how good the pictures are, I was quite happy with the result. I memorized a few settings he suggested to use for landscape photos, which I needed for the next day.
As Saturday arrived, I was glad to see the weather was as amazing as the forecast promised it will be. It was sunny all day but unfortunately very cold. When I got to the top of the glacier, I think it was like –20 or –30 degrees Celsius and a really strong wind was blowing from all sides. Not the best conditions for a photo shoot.
I took Scott’s advice to verify the area first to find the best location for taking the pictures. I didn’t spend much time on that though, it was freezing cold! I don’t think Scott’s rule applies under these circumstances. So I quickly set up the tripod and camera on the panorama terrace but my hands were shaking badly (I had to take my gloves down to be able to operate the tripod, the camera and the remote) and my face was so frozen from the cold that it hurt. I couldn’t really move because of the wind, I expected to be blown away every second. Nevertheless I gathered my strength to make one last effort in the name of photography and managed somehow to make a few shots on both sides of the terrace. By the time I finished, I was so frozen that I didn’t even pull the tripod together, I just took it as it was and ran down the stairs directly to the gondola lift. I was just happy to be alive!
I was hoping that it will be warmer on the lower level, which it was… “only” –15 degrees Celsius. I went around the restaurant’s terrace until I found a nice view. Since I pulled the tripod together in the lift, I had to set it up yet again. I also packed the camera back in the bag so I had to unpack that as well. Then I attached the camera on the tripod making sure it’s stable and it will not fall down because of the wind. Even like that I had to catch the tripod a couple of times, otherwise the wind would have pushed it to the ground. With one hand holding the tripod, I took the remote release out from my bag with my other hand but, as I was connecting it to the camera, I was shocked to notice that the lens cap was missing. You know, that small black cover which is supposed to protect the lens? It wasn’t there! But I was absolutely sure that I put it back on before packing the camera back in the bag. 100% sure! I always put the cap back. This was so incredible that I had to look three times to make sure that I’m not crazy. Anyhow, when I knew for certain that it’s not on, I searched for it around the tripod three times, then in my bag three times emptying it from all the content on the snow and eventually I even looked down the terrace thinking that the wind blew it off. I only saw snow everywhere, but the cap was nowhere to be found.
Around this time my boyfriend arrived, we were supposed to have lunch together but I spent all that time whining about loosing the lens cap. He tried to console me that I should feel lucky that I didn’t loose the camera, that it’s only an object and I shouldn’t get so attached to it, that I still had the filter which would protect the lens itself and he promised as soon as we get back we can order another one. But I had none then and there during our trip! We were staying one and a half days more and my camera had no lens cap! I was acting pretty childish, I know.
For the remaining Saturday, I figured that I couldn’t walk around with the camera out in the open, because it was cold, windy and snowing, plus people in a hurry were pushing me around and I was afraid that it will get broken. So I naturally put the camera in the small bag to protect it. As I pulled it out again, the filter on the lens was all smudged. So now every time I wanted to take a picture, I had to wipe the lens with a tissue?!?!?! Argh!
The next day I packed the tripod away thinking that I will not do any big photography sessions anyhow. It was very cloudy so I had no good light and I couldn’t go up to the top of the glacier because of the snow alert and the wind which was blowing stronger than ever. Besides the camera had no the lens cap and I needed to wipe the filter every time I took it out from the bag. So annoying!
Anyhow, I made a few shots on the road to the gondola lift (wiping the filter with a tissue before using it, of course), and considered not to go up with the lift at all. I could see from down that the visibility was low on the mountain because it was very foggy. But in the last minute I decided otherwise and went up to the second level.
It was warmer than in the previous day so it was pleasant to stay outside and look at the people skiing and snowboarding. I was trying to hide my smile as people were falling down but then I remembered that it happened to me lots of times too. The only difference was that those people were still on the slope, standing up after a fall and not giving up to learn and I was too chicken to do the same.
As I was walking on the terrace around the restaurant, I almost reached the place where the lens cap incident happened. The view was wonderful, despite the clouds and the thick fog, so I thought to make a few more shots, even though the tripod was already packed in the car. I figured that I could just hold the camera in my hand and place my elbows on the banister for support. It wasn’t as stable as using the tripod but better than nothing. As I approached “the scene of the crime”, I noticed that the snow has partially melted and I caught a small glimpse of something black sticking out from the snow. I couldn’t believe my eyes! Could it really be? Could I be so lucky? Is it really possible?
Considering in the end that I didn’t want to go up on the mountain that day but I did and I coincidentally walked to the same place where I’ve lost the lens cap to find it again at that same spot, I could say that it was a good day, a nice weekend and a great trip. All’s well that ends well, right?