Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Risking Life and Limb - or Maybe Not

Photographers are a nutty lot. All you have to do is go to Flickr or any of the photo sharing sites and you can find images where the photographer had to be in some very serious places. Today's image looks easy enough, it's actually right next to the road. Trouble is ... it's right next to the road. The car couldn't have been more than 25' away. The road in this case doesn't run beside the waterfall, the waterfall runs under the road at this point. My back was up against the wall of the bridge going over the water. The arched gap the water flows through is right on my right shoulder. The biggest problem is that the rocks were wet and slippery.

A couple things are apparent about the shot. The silkiness of the water says the shutter speed was slow enough that this wasn't taken handheld. So, add a tripod to the gear to haul down the wet, moss laden, non-trail. It's a rock scramble to get down to this point. The only thing keeping me upright was a few twigs I talked myself into believing were strong enough to save me if needed. Once in position the tripod legs were spread out to the maximum possible. In this case the max possible was about 6" . The camera had to be set low to get the right angle on the falls. That meant squatting down, which proved to be a problem in it's own rite. Every time I started the squat my butt would hit the rocks of the bridge and pitch me forward. The first time came as a surprise and almost launched me into the stream. I finally got a series of shots and that's when the fun began. Getting down the 15' or so from the road to the edge of the stream was tough, but getting back up proved to be an adventure of it's own.

The thin trees I relied on to get down were no match for putting weight on them for pulling myself back up. After ripping the first few out I determined they weren't going to be very helpful. So, now I have a camera, a tripod and no way to get out. The water flowing through the bridge opening was fast enough as to make going though to the other side another bad choice. I actually had to climb up the rocks on hands and knees, resting the gear on a rock and pulling myself up to match the height of the gear and repeating this several times. All this for a lousy 15'. You would have thought I was on Denali.

I'm sure very photographer reading this has similar stories to tell. Isn't it amazing what we'll do to get a shot. Just proves photography leads to some sort of mental illness. We all must be crazy.


Anonymous said...

I would have paid a small fortune to see this picture get taken!