A Tale of Snow and a Lost Tripod

Winter finally came to Nebraska and in my excitement, I grabbed my gear and headed to the nearest park, Chalco Hills. I hadn’t had my camera out for landscape work in quite a while, so I was eager to get started. Unfortunately, the roads were not the best so the park attendants told me I would have to park and hike if I wanted to stay. No problem, I had donned my warmest stuff and I headed down the first trail I found. As the cold snow came all around I happily snapped photos here and there of trees and bushes all adorned with an outline of white. After a couple of hours I finally felt I had enough, besides I had a driveway to clear. I one last photo (above), went back to the car, hurriedly put everything in and took off for home.

After shoveling the driveway, I began to unpack my gear and to my dismay my recently purchased Gitzo Tripod was missing! I quickly realized that in my hurried and tired state I had forgotten to put it in the car. As a matter of fact, I think I had forgotten it when I took my last shot!

I drove back to the park as fast as the conditions would allow, skidded into a parking space and ran down the hill to the last place I knew I had my tripod. Frantically, I look all over and started to uncover the snow. As I dug my loud cursing broke through the quiet solitude of the park.

Breathing heavily, I stopped for a minute and realized that my tracks were not the only ones there. Just ahead were snowshoe tracks that stopped where I believe I had left the tripod bag and then continued down the hill. I began a quick jog following the tracks all over the park. I continued to holler out for the owner of the tracks, but my yelps were only answer with a stiff, cold wind and blowing snow.

Begrudgingly, I went back to my car. I started the engine and decided to drive around a little to clear my mind. As if on autopilot, I guided the car down the only road that was still open. About a half mile away, I could see a pickup truck coming the other way. I slowed down as I approached him, cracked the window and before I could say anything he spoke, “Did you lose a tripod?”

I felt relief and excitement, “Yes, yes, yes, thank you so much!”

“Well, I didn’t know what to do with it and the center was closed. I would have found a way to get it back to you.” he replied as he handed it me.

I asked him his name, quickly shook his hand and thanked him again. We were both backing up traffic at this point so we parted ways. I was gratified to find an honest person that day. Brian, if you ever read this, thank you for helping me out that day! You continue to fuel my faith in humanity.

Technical Details:
Canon 5D Mark II, 70-200 f/4l @ f/9, 1/800 sec.
Chalco Hills Recreation Area, Nebraska

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