Neil Bennett’s Location Adventure

We’ve heard some pretty great stories from Sekonic users in the past, but this one definitely makes us smile. Here it is in the words and images of Neil Bennett, Wyoming photographer.

My name is Neil Bennett of Neilbennettphotography.com and Outdooroarphotography.com I currently live in Cody, Wyoming. I recently decided to move into portrait and wedding photography, having been a nature photographer for quite some time. My wife is a traveling physical therapist, so we move every three to six months to a new location, and I thought weddings and portraits photography would be a good fit me.

Being a lone shooter, I decided I needed a device that would meter light and control my off-camera flash without having to go into each individual light to change the control settings. Having just purchased the new PocketWizard setup for my Nikon D800, I selected the Sekonic Lightmaster Pro L478DR. With the Lightmaster Pro, I would be able to control my Nikon SB910s and Alienbee 1600 with ease from one place.

©Neil Bennett

Neil Bennett and his wayward L-478DR. ©Neil Bennett

Approximately three weeks after I bought the L-478DR, I was on location taking portraits of a client. After metering and adjusting my lights, I placed the light meter on the gutter below the windshield of my car where the windshield wipers rest. Even as I was placing it there I thought to myself, “I should use the included lanyard and put it around my neck,” but I was busy being creative and didn’t follow the voice in my head.

After the photo shoot, I hopped in the car and headed home on the highway and forgot all about my light meter. A few days later I needed my light meter for a shoot, but couldn’t find it. At first I thought I had just misplaced it then I remembered, “Ooooh, I left it on the windshield wiper of my car.”

I looked in the spot, but it wasn’t there any longer—go figure. I went back to where the original photo shoot was but couldn’t find it. I placed a sign on the road and even made a report at the local sheriff’s office in Cody as to my missing gem. I told all my photographer friends what had happened. I couldn’t believe I had done this!

©Neil Bennett

©Neil Bennett

A week went by, and I expected it was lost for good. There was powdered snow on the highway. But then, I received an email from one of my photographer friends. It said the Cody newspaper had an ad in the lost and found section. Someone had found a professional light meter. Oh, wow! Really?

After seeing the email, I called the number and a rancher said he was driving home on the highway late Friday night when he noticed a black item on the side of the highway not far from my house, ten miles from my original shoot. He pulled over, picked it up and took it home. Being an amateur photographer he knew it was a light meter. Being an honest man and seeing online how much it cost he decided to put an ad in the newspaper. When I called, he asked me to identify it by make and model, and, yes, indeed, it was my light meter. Sweet.

The next morning I picked it up from him and the only thing wrong with the meter was a scratch on one of the corners. Also, the lumisphere assembly – a white dome that protects the sensor, was missing. I asked the rancher to show me where he found the light meter. Just in case I couldn’t find it, I called a parts place and was advised the product was so new they did not have replacement parts for it yet.

©Neil Bennett

©Neil Bennett

I met the rancher at the location where he found it. As he drove off I looked at the ground, mostly white from recent snowfall. It was 19 degrees and with the wind chill, more like 10 degrees. I wondered how I was going to find a white ball in all this white snow! I pulled my coat closer to my body and started to look around. I walked no more than ten paces from my car, scanning the ground of white with some mixed dirt, and there it was easily seen against a dirt spot—my lumisphere, intact! I simply blew off the dust and popped it back on the meter and it worked perfectly. I was very impressed that, beside the one scratch, the device was undamaged, even after falling of my car at 60mph. I’m glad I put the included screen protector on it.

Thanks for sharing your story, Neil. You can see Neil Bennett’s photography at his site, OutdoorRoar, and Outdooroarphotography.com.

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