March 23, 2018
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Photographer’s lost becomes found

By Dave Small, Special to the BDN

It all started three years ago when I decided, that in order to succeed at photographing goldeneye ducks on the Penobscot River, I’d need camo. Dick’s Sporting goods came to the rescue. It was sale priced, then 50 percent off that price, and another 50 percent off that, for a whopping $9.98 plus tax. How could I resist?

I’m not usually a camo guy, and Deb said “Okay, but don’t wear it in public when I’m with you,” but it worked, it was comfortable, it’s warm and I like it. Deb was just getting used to it when I decided I needed a compass and whistle on the coat, just like the ones on my hunting vest … you know, a whistle to blow when the search party is looking for you because you didn’t use the compass when you went off trail! You need a separate whistle and compass for each outdoor outfit you might get lost in, because you’ll never remember to switch them when considering your next adventure.

Enough of that. Off to Walmart and success. I was able to purchase a florescent orange whistle and a round liquid filled compass. I attached them to my camo coat and was now confidently all set for photographic journeys off trail or otherwise.

While getting ready for an outing to Bar Harbor the next day, Deb, in a horrified sounding voice said “You’re not wearing that orange whistle thing around, are you?”

I replied “Why not? I need it in case I forget to use my compass and get lost.” I won’t go into the discussion we had next about how the sidewalks in Bar Harbor are not trails vs. my sense of adventure.

Four weeks ago, I lost the florescent whistle and liquid-filled round compass. While I was worried sick about where

it could be, Deb was having difficulty hiding her relief and extreme pleasure at my misfortune. I was chasing ducks, grebes and loons in Manset when I realized the pair was missing. I’d been carrying two cameras and thought that, maybe one of the camera straps had knocked them off my coat. It’s possible, only the week before I lost my camo shooting mitten/gloves.

Anyway, Friday last, I took an early morning hike on the

Sewall Road in the University Forest and thought, as I frequently do while in the woods lately, “I need to replace that compass, maybe not a florescent whistle though … a regular color might do fine. The rescue folks wouldn’t see it and the air search crew couldn’t see it from that far away, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard of someone not being shot in the woods because they were wearing an orange whistle.”

That settled it. No more orange whistle. Deb would be so glad. Ten minutes farther down the trail I looked up from the road and some tracks I had been scrutinizing and there, hanging from a small alder branch, wait for it, was an exact duplicate (see photo) of my round liquid-filled compass and florescent orange whistle. Could it be? Yes,it was. The lost had been found.

And only a little more than 100 miles from where I thought I’d lost it. Good people on Maine trails often hang apparently lost items on tree branches beside trails where they found them. If the person who found my round liquid- filled compass and florescent orange whistle is reading this, thank you for your kindness. If I ever find out who you are … I’ll never tell Deb! Therein lies another situation … how am I going to tell her that the lost has been found?

Last week a trip to Southwest Harbor gave me an opportunity to photograph some long-tail ducks and loons with a late-day sun giving some nice reflections and interesting natural lighting on some extraordinary subjects.

I can only encourage you to explore the many facets of the wonderful Maine outdoors. you never know what is just around the next bend! Enjoy.




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