This Photographer Thought He Lost Everything in Iceland

In a previous blog, I talked at length about how I lost my photography gear to a waterfall in Iceland and how I had learned from that experience. Consider this blog an update to the last one, if you haven't read that blog go read it before proceeding further. It'll be worth it. 

What Happens in Iceland, Stays in Iceland?

It'd had been a month since coming back from Iceland and thought things weren't ideal, there were as good as they could be. Yes, I had lost my camera to the waterfall Kirkjufellsfoss and I had paid $1,000 to cover the cost of the lens upon arriving back. The new relationship that had started while coming back from Iceland was a highlight and everything had settled into a groove. Laurel was coming to visit me in Boulder and I was very excited to say the least. She had told me that she had a surprise for me and she had told a few people and they all reacted with tears or by saying it was the greatest surprise ever, apparently.  I couldn't even fathom a guess so I was thinking along the lines of a nice cast-iron skillet or hell, maybe a cat. After all, my favorite book is "The Cross Country Cat".

We had a great time during her trip out to Boulder, spent time with new friends, her family, hiking, talking, and laughing. It really was one of the best weekends in recent memory, and this was before the surprise. The surprise was coming and it was a doosy.

The Surprise

We get done eating a delicious meal complete with an Icelandic-style skyr cake and she asks if we can look through some of her photos from the trip. She has 30 photos loaded onto her SD card so we start going through her photos and there is a photo of her and her younger sister, Kate, while in Iceland. She is even holding her camera in the photo. I was confused by the photo but at the same time, we had three other photographers on the trip and it wouldn't be surprising that she would have a photo of her and Kate.

We look through the rest of the photos and the last one is a pretty good photo of Kirkjufellsfoss where I lost my camera. I tell her that I was impressed with the photo and that she did really well capturing that beautiful scene. She tells me that she didn't take the photo because she didn't have a wide-angle lens. While the photo was taken with a wide-angle lens, I tell her that nonetheless it's a good photo. She then says that she didn't take that photo. I ask "who did?".

"You did!"

I laugh and tell her that I didn't use her camera that day, that I was busy looking for my own camera at the bottom of the waterfall. She pulls out a 64GB CF card that was similar to the one that I had in my camera when it took it's faithful trip. I stare blankly at the CF card but cannot comprehend what is going on because it's impossible to retrieve my camera so surely that CF is brand new. She begins to recite the story that it took to get that CF card and I'm in stunned disbelief, in the video that is below I didn't know what to do with myself. Laurel tells most of the story of how that card got to where it is now, then I look over at her older sister and she pulls out a Canon 5D Mk. III with a 16-35mm f/4 lens attached to it with a 10x ND filter screwed onto the lens. It is the exact setup that I had when I last saw that camera going over the waterfall at Kirkjufellsfoss.

Below is a photo that I took one minute before the camera went over the edge and into the abyss. I knew I had taken a great photo and I was calling my friend Kate down to come check out the photo. Instead, she says "smile" and I pose for a picture. That picture is below too.

Click on the photo to purchase a print of this very special photo

Click on the photo to purchase a print of this very special photo

Me standing there unaware of what was about to happen.

Me standing there unaware of what was about to happen.

Of course, the camera and lens are inoperable but interestingly enough the 10x filter is in perfect condition without even a single scratch on the glass. The CF card works perfectly and I'm still using it to this day. It's a shame that Lexar stopped making CF cards because I tried to contact them about this story to see if they'd want to promote it (and by default, their cards) but they declined. This story ended up being on PetaPixel and even made the news in Iceland! Sadly, it wasn't meant to be with her and I as we parted ways many months later but I'll always remember this special gift as well as the trip that showed me how chaotic and beautiful life can be.