My face is six inches from the tide pool and all I can see through flecks of wind-driven foam is algae and anemonies. Which is a shame because somewhere down there in that watery world are my 2- and 3-stop gnd filters, pulled out of my pocket by a gust of wind and sent skittering into the deep.
I knew the wind was going to be a problem as soon as I got the beach. Curtains of ocean spray were being drawn through the air while bursts of wind threatened to topple both me and my tripod. But I'd fought the wind many times before and I wasn't too worried. I turned my back to it, thinking that simple step would be enough to make for an easy shoot. But the wind had other plans and sent a surprise gust that nearly wrenched my filters out of my hand and sent my backpack tumbling into a nearby tide pool.
Seeing it was going to be a struggle no matter what, I decided to get aggressive. I turned head-on into the wind and brandished my lens wipes like a shield, deflecting and repelling the torrents of salt spray headed my way. It was a hard-fought battle but I managed to keep my filters clean long enough to grab this photo as lightbeams shot up from the clouds and roaring waves sent cascades of water to swirl around my legs.
Thinking I had conquered the elements I stuffed my filters in my pocket and tromped off to find another composition. Then, sticking my hand into my pocket to grab the filters back out, all I felt was air. Some nitrogen, some oxygen, maybe a little pocket lint. But absolutely no filters. Yes, the wind had had its last laugh: taking my filters from me and depositing them somewhere in a thousand square feet of tide pool.
I looked and looked, hunched over and squinting. Peering into the pool from half a foot up I scoured every inch of that tide pool. Nothing. I got out my headlamp and shined it into the shadows. Nothing. The rising tide and relentless wind made it impossible to see into the water for more than a few seconds at a time. My frustrations were mounting and my curses getting louder. But then an abrupt realization: those filters are gone, man. Gone. A peace came over me and I went home, windburned but victorious.