While my wife and I were enjoying the glow of Pixie Dust at Walt Disney World, we were keeping a mental list of things we wished we had brought as we encountered the need for the items. I originally thought the list would make a good blog post, but as you all know, I am not frugal with my words, so it could be easily split into multiple posts :)
So the first item on the list is:
And not just any kind of umbrella, but one that could easily be carried in one's backpack or stroller. The last thing you want is a gigantic golf umbrella to lug around the parks. I'm already having to heft a tripod around (seen over my shoulder in the attached picture).
We were good and remembered to bring raincoats. This time we went with quality raincoats to repeat the Spectromagic incident of the previous year where I still got soaked because the rain managed to leak through the seams of the coat.
I'm not a big fan of the poncho. I cannot help but feel like I'm wearing a plastic full body dress [ed. How do you know what a dress feels like?]. I'm more inclined to don a rain coat than throw a trash bag with a hole in it over my head.
Well, we each stored our raincoats in our backpacks. In fact, my wife's rain coat took up most of the room in her backpack, while mine compacted a bit more (I gave her the better constructed, yet bulkier, Bass Pro Shops coat).
It wasn't until I was trying to take pictures on the observation deck outside the California Grill, in a rainstorm, that I realized that a raincoat may keep me dry, but it does absolutely nothing to keep my not-so-cheap Nikon D80 dSLR camera dry.
It was at this point, my wife aptly pointed out that if we had an umbrella she could've used it to keep my camera dry.
Another time was during the torrential rainstorm that plagued our trip to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party. Once again, my coat kept me dry, but my lens kept getting wet as I was trying to take pictures of the fireworks display. In this instance, the umbrella would've served the purpose of keeping my camera dry and my wife and I as we moved around the park in the downpour. This was one of those times where the coat only kept your upper body dry and your lower body just got plain soaked. My wife was in a sundress so she was in a much worse predicament than I was. Granted I had my nice floppy hat on, but it eventually had the moisture content indicative of a dip in the pool.
This was just a couple of many rain-soaked moments that the desire for an umbrella was had.
You don't need rain to put an umbrella to good use.
It wasn't uncommon to see people walking around with their own personal and portable shade. An umbrella is a quick way to provide some respite from the sun. Granted, it can become quite obtrusive in crowds and poke an eye or two out if you aren't careful.
An umbrella can also be useful in shielding the lens of your camera from sun. I often used my hat for this feat, but my hat frequently ended up inadvertently becoming an unintended element of the shot, ala the thumb in the bottom corner.
For you see, when the sun is in the "wrong" location, you can get some interesting halo effects (not to be confused with the highly popular XBox video game). By shading the lens from the sun, the aberration goes away. My understanding is that this is caused by how the sun is refracted by the lens and is picked up by the sensor.
Despite the seemingly frequent desire to need an umbrella, the desire wasn't strong enough to warrant prying open the wallet to fork over Disney prices for one.
Next time one or two umbrellas will be in our luggage.