What Is The Oddest Or Dumbest Thing You've Ever Done To Get That Perfect Shot?
I was just getting ready to upload some photographs from a recent trip to the Florida Everglades and one of the pictures really jogged my memory. I saw this alligator, had to be 14 feet long, if it was a foot. I did not have anything with me but a small Nikon camera with no extra lenses. So what did I do? I got within three or four feet of this 'gator and I laid down on the ground and took my best shot!
Well, I sometimes hear people say that being a photographer is a "plush" gig! A photographer's job is to take the shots that other people never think about taking. I have an elk story, but I'll save that for another discussion.
but imagine the great picture he will have of the inside of his mouth when they fish the camera out of the gators stomach.
generally i get too close to stinging things when i do macro's.
but usually i'm the one directing people to sit on a hot bench for a photo (it wasn't intentional), i saw a guy wearing jeans sitting comfortably, and the person i directed sat on a metal sculpture that looks like a bench on a 90f day. and lets just say she didn't stay there for that long. never got the shot.
usually i'm draped over a wall or something to get a better angle. hanging a 5 pound weight off my arm for extended periods of time is hard.
i usually don't go out of my way for a shot, or if i did, i blocked it out of my mind very well. i typically trip over the hole, fall over something. i didn't want to slip on the wet stairs. instead i fell over a hole next to the stairs. or tripped off the side of a curb. or walked into a table.
I've gotten alot of weird looks when I've been photography outdoors. I shoot miniatures and because of the subject matter it involves alot of lying down on the ground to get the right shot. I've had people ask if I'm ok more than once. One time it was a cop that asked me.
For me I suppose it was taking this photo of a peregrine falcon chick. I was a lowly post doc doing geologic research up in the Canadian Arctic. We were seeing lots of nests. I saw this one and got within a few feet of the nest (I believe I only had a 35-70mm lens with me). All the while the mother was continually dive bombing me to leave (and those birds are fast).
At the Alligator Farm in Kissimmee FL they have a thing called the snake pit. It was full of diamondback rattlesnakes, water moccasins and coral snakes. All had been devenomized earlier in the day. I offered to photograph them for the zoo. I was a keeper at another zoo. I got on my belly point blank. Antivenin nearby, I took a few hundred slides. I sent them off to be special processed by Kodak in 2 batches, in case 1 got lost. I never got the photos back. I dealt with the lab all the time. I am sure they were stolen.
I had my tripod and camera set up off a trail and I was being super quiet so I wouldn't disturb the owl I was photographing in the woods. Heard a grunting sound and saw a big black bear headed downhill towards the trail. He kept coming closer and closer so I cleared my throat. He finally noticed me, stared awhile, and then what does he do? He walks horizontally until he's directly in front of me but still up the rise a little.
So the dumb part comes in when, instead of digging out my bear spray just in case, I turned my tripod around so the camera was facing him to try to get a shot. Unfortunately there was a small branch in front of his face so my camera wasn't focusing on the bear. After staring me down a little longer, he continued on his way to some nearby berry bushes.
He was so close I could smell him. And I didn't even get the shot.
I was 16 and didn't really know what I was doing. I was a hobby photographer trying to get material for a county fair contest. I happened to be in Casper, WY with a buddy of mine one June day to watch the Shrine Bowl, which is like an exhibition game for the states best high school football players playing each other to raise money for a charity or something.
Anyway, it had been hot and sunny all day but late afternoon, two supercell storms collided right over Casper causing four funnel clouds to form, one of which touched down. The sirens were going off and the game was called off. I happened to have me camera with me and thought driving up Casper Mountain to hopefully get lighting and funnel clouds over the city was a grand idea.
I drove up Casper Mountain Rd, which is a very steep, hairpin road that rises almost 4,000 feet in just a matter of miles. I tried to get the shot at a popular lookout about 3/4 of the way up but it started raining so hard I was worried my camera would short out. Didn't get the shot (hopefully that doesn't disqualify the story), and figured we better wait out the storm before trying to drive down the mountain. Usually, in Wyoming, weather is very fast moving and it might only rain for 10 minutes.
We sat in the idling car for a little while but it was just not letting up, and then I noticed a scary mass of water and mud and whatever start rolling down the slope of the mountains, so I figured I better get the hay outta there.
I slowly drove down the mountain with torrential rain, lightning, and ridiculously loud thunder. I had the windshield wipers on full speed. Them hail started pounding the car so hard that I had dents in my roof (fortunately no broken glass) but one exceptionally large hailstone hit the driver's side wiper right where it attaches to the arm, shattering it and sending the wiper flying (they were older and probably should have been replaced). I had to turn the wipers off to keep the bare metal arm from scraping the window. All the while it's raining and hailing so hard there's no visibility. I opened my door to be able to see the yellow line in the road to make sure I didn't drive off the mountain totally. I would have stopped and waited but at this point I was worried about mudslides and flash flooding and knew I needed to get to low ground ASAP. I remained totally calm and didn't say a word as the poor guy I was with was having a panic attack. I finally got us to the bottom of the mountain and found that Wyoming Blvd, the way I was going to take to get us on the interstate and out of town, was totally underwater. I called my mom and she ended up paying for us to just stay in a motel for the night, because everything was flooded.
As stupid as this all was, it didn't change my love for violent weather but did make me a lot more cautious. We hadn't eaten and ended up going to a McDonald's and scarfing down probably a total of 8 cheeseburgers. We drove home the next day in clear weather and were able to joke around about the nightmare drive down the mountain. Of course he said it was my fault for going up there in a super storm and I said it was his fault for wanting to go to Casper in the first place. Looking back it was entirely my fault. Lol.
For some reason I have an affinity for old abandoned buildings.
About four decades ago I used to pass by an old abandoned house in a field on the way to my parents house (see image below). One day I finally decided to explore it with my film camera at the time. Photography was just a hobby to me then and I'd been through other abandoned houses not really realizing the danger I had been putting myself in.
Notice in the image below on the right side - 2nd floor... an apparent expansion of a room with no supports. I explored the house alone, making it to that extension among other areas therein. Thinking about it later, I feel very fortunate that nothing gave way while I was walking inside.
There was also an old abandoned church on the same road not far away. (The church has it's own story). After having explored both these old buildings, a few weeks later while traveling to my parents again I noticed there were no signs of either of the buildings anymore.
I don't have the image I took on it handy, but once went out onto the rotten unmaintained rail bridge you can see in this image. I was trying to get a better angle of the stone bridge and the dam under it then you could get elsewhere.
Me and another photographer stopped out in the country to visit with this lovely abandoned farm house. Probably not the best idea to go inside of it but none the less was interesting seeing the inside as well as seeing that it appeared whom ever last lived in it just up and quickly moved out.
I have also gone to the not so nice parts of Nashville to get some photographic captures though admittedly during the day time.
Not odd but defiantly dumb, snuck onto an old abandoned Nike missile site that is supposedly "closed" to the public due to the continues presence nuclear waste. Pictures are cool but looking back maybe not the best idea. I believe the buildings have been destroyed since I went
The dumbest thing that I have photographic proof of is standing (and sitting in the other direction) on railroad tracks. Then there was the time I tried to trap and contain a humongous hornet. Failed. I did manage to bug a lot of photographers tho :x
Susan reminded me of something I did in Oct of last year. I walked through a railroad tunnel at Patapsco State Park in Ellicott City, MD.
I wasn't sure if the r/r was still in use but it turns out it was.
Except at the very ends of the tunnel I couldn't see anything. I walked between the rails and told myself I could jump off to the side if need be. I used the light from my camera when I occasionally pressed the shutter half way down to see for a second inside the tunnel.
Doing this walk-through was a stupid thing and should NEVER be attempted by anyone. I was fortunate I didn't meet a train in either direction!
Mike, Abbie, yes spagheeti junction tangle of roads, this one is not so bad, it goes circle above ground level, never crowd here, but yes, if you miss one turning no god could help you next hour to get off.
"I don't know if it was odd or dumb, but I climbed to the top of this microwave tower... "
Well, it is not recomanded to climb those towers without safety equipment, and company.. if something bad hapend someone to call, or provide help. Also, if those antenas were in working condition, most of them are not dangerous, but few of them are, it is not recomanded to spend long time next to them.
I think I've witness more dumb behavior in our National Parks then I've done. People climbing over barriers to get a bad picture of "look how deep this cliff is" and "look how close I can get to a bison with my point and shoot camera, oops the flash went off"
This train did feel mighty close as it went by. I think I was back far enough but it certainly felt close.