THE GREAT BROWN DUNDERHEAD by Dave Gigliotti

(Original Post 2017) I admit it – I am a leaf peeper, and foliage fanatic. Camera in hand, I will search for fiery seasonal spices like cayenne red and saffron yellow to add to my color palette. Usually, the dangers faced in these pursuits are limited to the occasional acorn falling on my head, or missing dinner and the last hunk of pumpkin pie. Darn!

Last fall, things got scarier. It was a sunny morning with a cool breeze. Needing some shots, and being afflicted with autumn wanderlust, I donned my brown fleece jacket, grabbed my D90, and headed to a new shoot location. Once there, I spied good vantage points downstream. All I had to do was walk a path that turned to jungle, scooch and butt-slide over big boulders, watch out for copperheads, and not fall in. What could go wrong?

Those of you who have traipsed through the woods with me know that I will blaze my own trail. Some might say I don’t even follow a trail, but just blunder like a graceless wildebeest through muck, briars, and all manner of obstacles. I neither confirm nor deny those claims, but in the story I impart to you now, they seem more true than false.

I made it but realized the view would be better from the middle of the river. Thus, began the leapfrogging. Still, all went well. I got the shots and began heading to shore. Somehow, the trip back suddenly looked more dangerous. I must have jinxed myself with those thoughts because on the next jump I hit a slick rock and fell backward into the cold torrent.

I won’t call what I did next swimming because it wasn’t that pretty, but I did manage to heave my bruised carcass onto a big rock and catch my breath. Eventually, I made my way to the car, but I learned a valuable lesson – D90s can’t swim! After a few weeks of drying out, it came back to life – kind of. Like its owner, it has its share of odd quirks.

That led me to another valuable lesson – if you ever need a new camera, just accidentally “fall” into the next body of water you come across. Your wife will be so happy that you’re okay, that she’ll let you get a new camera. (Assuming she doesn’t read this story!) I went with the D750. The subject photo always reminds me that anyone who saw me slosh out of the river that day probably recalls their encounter with the great brown dunderhead and his leaky camera. It was a soggy memory; a story caught in time.

About MSST

Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Grandfather,Teacher, Counselor, Photographer and married to Sylvia since 1963.
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