So I'm out doing a little location portraiture and there's very little wind and I'm doing a large group so the 60" umbrella will be far away with 3 flashes adding a little fill on a bright day. Why lug out a heavy sandbag...what can go wrong (I had to park quite a ways away due to all the family vehicles taking up all the close parking). Well, for one your umbrella can catch a gust from nowhere and now won't close all the way due to the bent spines. Ironically, the brand name on the side of that particular umbrella was Impact...
Fortunately, no one was nearby and my strobes and wireless remotes are no worse for wear. The price for not throwing a sandbag over my shoulder is a functional, yet unprofessional looking modifier. I had an empty sandbag in my camera bag, but alas you can't always expect to find a pile of sand, a conveniently shaped rock or a travel dumbbell kit when out in the field (unless you're doing a beach shoot!).
Lesson learned, if I don't have a VAL (Voice Activated Lightstand), then sweat it out and carry the sand bag!! 'nuff said!
On a side note, I actually ended up taking the umbrella off the stand and putting it on the ground in front of me, making a parabolic reflector and leaving the flashes bare. I was shooting Aperture Priority with the flashes on ETTL since the clouds were moving and the sun kept going into hiding. The client wanted the house in the scene, so I couldn't look for a better lighting scenario. And I had a 10 minute window to get the shots done. So I guess I should also give props to my Pixel King wireless flash triggers. The lighting on the images came out very consistent even though the light was changing from one click to the next.