A Balancing Act
See, people think that us shutter bugs are just walking around looking for flowers and bees… It’s not like that at all! We take up the gauntlet of pure stupidity, and traverse some very treacherous rocks, hills, riversides, and cliffs to get to that perfect ‘waterfall spot’… Don’t ask me why. It just seems we have to get pictures of all the waterfalls that we can. We should call it ‘shutter bug disease’ because all us nature buff fanatics, are nutty about them! Rapids are great for time lapse shots as well, but aren’t always easy to get to…
See, you’ve got to figure, more often than not, to get to your goal, you have to traverse a rocky shoreline, because the forest is to dense to wade through, plus you’re carrying maybe 50 lbs. of equipment on your back, and a 20 lb.tripod in one hand. That leaves you off balance, with only one hand free to catch yourself if you fall: hoping that your hiking boots with real tire tread soles, and the laces with genuine Saskatchewan, seal-skin bindings from Canadian Tire will help… Meanwhile, some of those rocks are very slippery, with green slime on them! Now if you have to step onto a curved one, you may do an Irish jig for a few moments, but you’re going in the drink, equipment, tripod, clothes, and all!
Or, you could be merrily winding your way down some trail, catch your foot on a root, and are suddenly grabbing for air with one hand, only to be caught twirling around trees until you do a ballerina dance, and involuntarily whip yourself into the drink anyway! You could land on your back, and be like a turtle what can’t get up! You could lay there for days, looking like a boxed lunch!
I’ve been literally teetering on the edge of dizzying heights, palms seating, heart pounding, knees knocking, only to back away from the tripod because I had to sneeze! See, it’s all that adventure, and risk taking, that keeps you alive, instead of just existing. Risking taking! It brings the best rewards, and always, but always sends you away more appreciative of the air you breathe, and the sights you see, than ever before!
So there I am at a lookout post that has a great view, looking through my view-finder, tweaking knobs, adjusting settings, making calculations in my head about exposure, composition, etc.. And suddenly, I hear: ‘Hi! That’s some camera you have there!’ So I look up, and there’s this guy in his mid 50’s maybe. He just snuck right up on me! Didn’t know him from Adam! I have thousands of dollars worth of equipment with me, and there’s just the two of us there! He could have thrown me over the cliff and took a picture of me on the way down for all I know! Then he starts asking me all these skill testing questions: ‘So what kind of camera is it? Do you get good shots? Ever run into any bears?’ Who cares! Now I’m loosing my cloud formations! I don’t know this guys intentions… Now he’s talking about how he likes to go swimming with his dog… So I just politely said: ‘Well, if you don’t mind, I really should get back to work here! You have yourself a great day…’
Another time, I encountered this stupid, frumpish old bag of wet laundry! I was taking a picture of a wooden gate with a rot iron filled hole in the middle. She didn’t even live there! She lived next-door… ‘What are you doing there?’ Well what does it look like I’m doing? Planning a bank robbery as a sleep over bandit? Then she starts going on about rot iron as a work of art, when suddenly a group of four teens encircled me with their bikes, calling me nasty names like: ‘Wahoo!’ And ‘Whippy!’ So I packed up, and moved on before I was mugged and talked to death, all in the same breath!
One time around 6am. I’m getting set up on top of a rock face, with about a 30 degree incline, putting me about 50 yards from the river. As always, I went to take the lens cap off my camera, only this time, it leaped from my hand, landed sideways, and rolled all the way down the rock face, bouncing up here and there, and <Ker plunk >, into the drink! I searched the muddy bottom, but do you think I could find the dang, blad thing? No sir/Mama! It was only by shear fortune, that I had another cap on my macro lens tubing that just fit my camera!
Another time, I was about the same distance up a rock face with about a 40 degree incline. I put my favorite, yet compact macro lens on the rock with a bit of a lean… I thought it not enough to tip it over, but I was wrong! It just took the right wind gust, and standing helplessly with my jaw dropped, I watched it tumble end over end, and into the drink it goes! I’m sure it was only the lens cap keeping the vibrations from cracking the lens. And at any time, it could have bounced on the opening clip, and flew off, but it didn’t: a strange twist of fate to be sure! This time, I found the lens half sunk, into the muddy bottom of the river. Some sand had gotten into the focusing mechanism, but a little machine oil washed it out nicely. The lens works fine to this day!
Another blogger shared with me how her lens got sucked down a whirl pool at a river side with rapids… So it was lost forever: sucked into an ever deepening vortex! Do you have any photography stories that don’t just concern taking pictures? If you do, then you have a blog to write! So the next time you think of Photography as smiling Aunts and Uncles, think again! There’s always a fumble or a spill, a knock or a bruise, a tussle or a knob! There’s always: ‘The Lighter Side of Photography!’