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  1. #1

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    Dying to photograph

    Has anyone almost died because they had to get a certain photograph? I have, twice. I took a class to Big Bend Texas. Mountains, deserts hot, 120 degrees. Not exaggerating! On the first day I decided to take a casual hike down one of the easiest trails. Only 2 miles. No sweat. In my lack of mindfulness I decided to take EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF 8x10 EQUIPMENT I owned.Got about a mile and a half and realized I was in trouble. Guess what I did not bring. WATER. I began dragging everything back but had to stop. Fifty yards to my right was a black bear. So not only was I going to die from exposure to the elements but a bear waould then eat my remains. I did get one photo during this trial. I unloaded everything and made an exposure of a cactus.If I was going to die I was going to get a picture. Pretty mundane picture but today it is very valuable to me. Eventually I got back to the camp and rehydrated and recovered. This happened after I spent a goodly amount of time warning students to be very careful and aware of their surroundings. DO AS I SAY NOT AS I DO.
    Next months topic"The tyranny of tripods"
    Jack

  2. #2
    Andy K's Avatar
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    Very interesting story Jack. Any chance of seeing that cactus in your personal gallery?

    My main problem is forgetting that traffic has the right of way on roads when I'm trying to get the best angle....


    -----------My Flickr-----------
    Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.

  3. #3
    blaze-on's Avatar
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    Well a few years back I was on a train viaduct photographing down into a ravine. Concentration was pretty intense and as I stood when finished I was about a foot from the tracks. I looked to my right and a train was maybe 50 yards off heading my way and I had about 3 seconds to flatten myself to the rail. Only 3 feet between rail and first track.

    I still shudder at the thought of that. Almost worse was that the images truly sucked...
    Matt's Photo Site
    "I invent nothing, I rediscover". Auguste Rodin

  4. #4
    billschwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by severian
    Has anyone almost died because they had to get a certain photograph? ...
    The photographer's name escapes me, but I read several years back about a shooter who stepped on a skylight covered in Pidgeon droppings, fell through and died.

    There was also the man who burried his film under him to protect it from the thermal blast of Mount St. Helens that killed him. I'm sure you've seen the image, but he only saw it through his viewfinder. THAT"S some serious stuff.

    B.

  5. #5
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Well now,

    A few years ago, I was out in late April shooting Mountain Blue Birds about 20 miles from where I live, had got the tripod and everything set up and looked up to see a large Grizzly bear snapping and popping here jaws at me, she charged me several times and I had to deploy bear spray(pepper spray) to stop her charges, only after spraying and she turned and ran away, did I find out she had a cub with her and I was in her territory!!! quite a fright to say the least, I almost because bear fodder as her last charge was stopped about 10 feet away from me!!!...

    Dave

  6. #6

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    Dave, I've had a few close encounters with bears but never have been charged, not something I am looking forward to. Glad to hear that the pepper spray works, I carry it but always have some doubts about it.

    When I first started shooting landscape I was a total tenderfoot, being a city boy and all. It is amazing that i have survived my own stupidity and ignorance about the wild as i have had many hazardous experiences. I can laugh at them now, and they make for good stories when I give lectures, but they aren't fun at the time.

    At this point I have gotten more knowledgeable and have put myself in danger less often. However one of the cardinal rules of the outdoors is one that I always break, as I am sure many here do. I hike alone. I really don't see a way around this and I take as many precautions as possible, but it seriously increases the risk involved, especially of animal encounters.

  7. #7
    MurrayMinchin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satinsnow
    ...her last charge was stopped about 10 feet away from me!!!...
    (Note to self: Take spare underwear on next hike).

    Six months by sea kayak on BC's coast...two months in the winter...two months in the spring...and two months in the fall. I paddled a double with our "campfire tent" and my 4x5 gear in the front cockpit, and my wife paddled a single. This was about fifteen years ago, before GPS and cheap sattelite phones. We navigated by charts and compass, and had a small hand held radio that was only good for line of sight communication. Sometimes we wouldn't see another boat of any kind for weeks at a time during winter on the north coast.

    No life threatening animal problems, but we learned not to trust chart accuracy about beach composition. We risked outrunning an approaching storm once because the chart indicated a gradual sandy beach. We rounded the headland on Hecate Strait as the storm hit to find a beach with dumping surf littered with rocks the size of Volkswagon Beetles. Oh, and the weather can change for the worst at the most inappropriate times.

    Murray
    _________________________________________
    Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.

  8. #8

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    nothing as grizzly as that sort of stuff -

    when i was in grad school i did an "industrial archaeology" type paper on the coal-gas industry in boston --- the "gas wars of the 1870s" processes, gas holders &C. i used the roxbury gas-light company as a microcosim of the boston gas industry, and documented the last standing gas holder in boston (now a hotel) inside and out.

    i took a "bird's eye view" of the gas holder by going on the roof of a tall building in the area. i got permission and one of the custodians took me up. there was a 10 foot parapet that i had to get above, so he gestured ( he didn't speak english i didn't speak his mother tongue ) to the ladder that was secured to the hvac system with a coat hanger. i climbed the ladder about 20 feet, and went to take the photographs lying on my belly on top of the fan housing. i was about 20 - 25 storys up, 2 feet from the edge --- it was about 25ºF and the wind was howling ... after i realized what the heck i was doing, i went back down the ladder as the hvac system turned on (scaring the daylights out of me ) ...

    aside from seeing my life pass before my eyes, it was kind of fun



 

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