Today the Indiana State Troopers searched a park, looking for my dead body.
Let me backtrack. The day started innocently enough. Innocently, that is, if you can call tornado like winds, horizontal rain, and consistent lightning and thunder "innocent".
Tyler and I woke early in Chicago to make the drive to Indiana Sand Dunes State Park. We had a few sessions today and were a teensie bit concerned about the inclement weather. We were booking it to Indiana as fast as possible in gale force winds and rain. Our tiny dodge rental car handled the storm like a pro.
We arrived at the state park, and rain still fell, but soon it stopped and we called our clients to come on over for their PhotoMotion shoot. I'd like to speak for everyone when I say we had a blast (don't correct me if I'm wrong, Malley family) and made a close new friendship.
Later in the day our last supercute family arrived. Unfortunately the weather turned from stormy and windy to BLAZING HOTBALLS and sweat was streaming from everywhere... I kept thinking, I wish I didn't have this stupid camera bag to lug around... tooooo heavy.
Seriously friends, I don't normally sweat. Now Tyler, he can work up a nice sweat with a bit of effort. I, on the other had, really need to either be in a sauna or apparently, be in Indiana on a hot, humid summer's day. It was a sweaty mess, this whole Blue Lily operation.
The shoot went on, we found a better, shadier, less sandy place and kept shooting.
This is where the story gets really stupid.
I took off my camera bag and set it on the ground. The relief from the heavy bag was instant. I kept shooting, Tyler kept shooting, and then:
I walked away. Ten minutes later, the shoot was over. We replenished the water bottles, hopped in the car, and drove back to Chicago.
It wasn't until I went to the trunk to retrieve my bag that I realized, hey, my bag isn't here.
*&&%$$#@ MY BAG IS NOT HERE. %&$@#%* (I spoke in symbols... I would never curse.)
Tyler and I stood there in awe. How could I be so... moronic? Stupid? COMPLETELY BRAINLESS?
In a nutshell, I had left nearly $7,000 of equipment in that bag, on the ground, in a state park. Where a gazillion and one people could find it. And take it.
Which is where my dead body gets an entrance in this story.
After we left, a ranger meandered by, saw the bag, peeked inside, and upon seeing the contents, immediately thought, "Nobody would leave a bag like this just sitting here unless they were attacked or had a heart attack or were really, really stupid."
With the conclusion that I must be dead from a violent attack, the bushes were searched. The park was searched. Nope, no dead Wendy body! (thank goodness?)
Only, I was dying in Chicago; dying from being a complete nincompoop. Can you understand how lame I felt? How scared and terrified and shocked at my utter baseness?
This story is getting long, and turns out it's not that entertaining. To wrap it up... I called all clients in a frenzy.
"Are you still at the Park? No? Oh crap."
"Are YOU still at the Park? YES???????? PLEASEGOFINDMYBAGPLEASEGOSEARCHFORIT!
The wonderful Malley family went, searched, talked with the rangers and recovered the bag. Nothing was missing, nothing stolen, everything in perfect condition.
It's an Indiana miracle, friends. A testament that this world is very full of good, honest people. Sure, our stuff is insured. But wow. What a nightmare.
Good, honest people. I am so thankful. So thankful. Hours later I'm still in shock at the turnout... what are the chances?
A few notes:
- Tyler was an angel through it. He could have lectured, yelled, pointed out my stupidity- but never did. He was calm and collected through it. Unlike me.
-How ironic that we would travel through the world, worrying constantly about our stuff getting stolen- for months- only for me to be a simpleton and leave it all on the ground in a park.
- Thank you to the Indiana State Troopers and Rangers who are honest, who had to have known the value of the contest of my bag, and still returned it to me. I am so grateful.
-Amazing how quickly one's emotions can go from "Ahh what a lovely day" to "MY WORLD IS OVER, I'M DEAD MEAT, AND THE LOWEST FORM OF LIFE ON EARTH."
-People are really really good at heart.
-And a huge thank you to the Malleys, who, with 4 tired kids, found my bag, brought it back with them to Chicago, and then spent a few hours with us showing us how hilario and adorable and genuine they are. I love them.
- To all photogs without insurance: get it NOW. I would really have had a MUCH FREAKIER afternoon if I had no backup plan. Backup/safety/insurance plans are smart, and necessary. It's not as expensive as you think, so just do it. (we have insurance through Hill & Usher.)
Photos from a hike I took in the Okutama Moutains just outside Tokyo. You are welcome for the blowy-haired glamour shot. :) Just a reminder that I will be back in Tokyo doing sessions the first weekend of September, email email@example.com to book a session.
BLUE LILY | Lifestyle Photographer | Salt Lake City, Utah