It was clear and reasonably warm last night, and there was a reasonable chance of getting some aurora Borealis, so I headed to my usual spot about fifteen minutes out of town. I got my tripod set up, and retired to the warmth of the car—the temperature was only ‑10°C or so, but the windchill was significant, a south wind howling along at what felt like about 40–50 km/h—and listened to music for a while.
After about ten or fifteen minutes, I noticed that I couldn’t see the little red light on my camera anymore. I briefly wondered if maybe the battery had died, but then I realized that I also couldn’t see the thin dark lines of the tripod.
Sure enough, the wind had tipped it over into the snow. See the photo below, which is the ten-second window when it actually fell.
I cleaned the lens off as best I could, then packed it all up and headed home, where I gave the lens a more thorough cleaning and then set it aside to dry. This morning it looks OK, so I think I got away lucky.