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Thread: How musk risk / danger have you taken for a photograph or access to shoot?

  1. #1

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    Aug 2010
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    How musk risk / danger have you taken for a photograph or access to shoot?

    This may have been asked before, but what's the riskiest, or most dangerous situation you've encountered, or would be willing to encounter in order to make a special photograph?

    For example, trespassing, heights, alligators and snakes, "faking it" i.e., fake press passes or other docs to gain access.

    When I was a big 35mm shooter I had a fake press pass (and 2 Pro looking Nikon F100s with big lenses) and successfully gained unique access to rodeos, circuses and some other events. I never used it at a big news event where there were other bona-fide press photogs, but several 'informal', plausible events such as above. Fortunately I never got caught doing this, I'm not sure what the penalty would have been if I had.

    Once, at a big Hispanic Dance Festival, I even planned ahead and had a fake "assignment spec sheet" and shot list in addition to my press pass and got some wonderful photos. These were among the small batch that were destroyed in a flood - I guess that's what I get for that!

    I've climbed on top of a billboard once and also stopped on a busy freeway overpass for a cityscape - probabl the most dangerous thing I ever did!

    I also risked MANY alligators once, to climb aboard a derelict shrimp boat in S. Louisiana. I think the boat was more dangerous than the 'gators!

    I haven't done much stuff like this with LF as it's obviously too slow and conspicuous by nature and I dont think anyone would ever believe you were on some "official business" with a big wood feld camera! I have done a little "mild trespassing" however, for a good shot. I guess in W. Texas and New Mexico, there's sme danger of buckshot, but I've been pretty careful not to go places where that would be likely.

    What's the most risk you would take, or have taken for a unique or unusual photograph?

  2. #2
    (Shrek)
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    Montreal
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    Re: How musk risk / danger have you taken for a photograph or access to shoot?

    I spent weeks in New Orleans, post-Katrina, early hours of the morning in cemeteries and the Lower 9th Ward. Alone and unarmed. I've also tried to get Cree guides to take me to an island in Hudson Bay to photograph polar bears, but they refused. As did the helicopter pilot. Probably just as well. But my single most dangerous exploit was photographing from a car window in Kinshasa, Zaire (Congo). If I'd been caught, a mob would have pulled me from the car and beaten me to death.

  3. #3
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
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    Re: How musk risk / danger have you taken for a photograph or access to shoot?

    Me, I’ve put life & limb at risk w/o a corresponding challenge to my soul.

    Other shots have tried my soul, but presented no physical danger.

    I’ve come to learn that if only I could see better, exceptional shots w/o physical risk are everywhere.

  4. #4

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    Leeds, Maryland
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    Re: How musk risk / danger have you taken for a photograph or access to shoot?

    I used to use Metol, does that count?
    one does not photograph something simply for “what it is”, but “for what else it is”. Minor White

    http://gerrymeekins.com

  5. #5

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    Re: How musk risk / danger have you taken for a photograph or access to shoot?

    I have photographed hanging over the edge of the roof of the 99th floor of Willis Tower in Chicago. Although I was wearing a safety harness and if I had fallen I wouldn't have dropped more than about 15 feet (which would have been more than enough!)

  6. #6
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: How musk risk / danger have you taken for a photograph or access to shoot?

    I have set up in some interesting and risky places in the landscape -- edge of cliffs, etc. Usually more of a risk getting to those places than taking the actual image. But it is all about risk-management. I have been a lot of places where it would have been easy to break a leg or fall and get a head injury -- and no one knew where I was nor would there be anyone passing by in the next few weeks...sort of makes one 'be here now' which I enjoy and learn from.

    I set up on a rock on a slope looking over Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand once (1987). It was in an area relatively recently uncovered by the retreat of the glacier, so the slope was not very stable. I kept an ear open for the sound of rocks coming down the slope. But I got the image -- a nice one -- and then moved laterally and down to the side of the glacier. Heard some noise and looked up to see a couple nice sized rocks coming down the slope and right over the rock I had been set-up on. So I escaped serious injury and/or death by about 15 minutes.

  7. #7
    C. D. Keth's Avatar
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    Re: How musk risk / danger have you taken for a photograph or access to shoot?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry Meekins View Post
    I used to use Metol, does that count?
    Don't lots of PMK users still do that regularly?


    My most dangerous moment was dangling several meters down on an improvised rope harness into the caldera of a live, currently erupting volcano. Below me was a hundred foot drop into a boiling slurry of ash and hydrochloric acid.

  8. #8

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    Re: How musk risk / danger have you taken for a photograph or access to shoot?

    Quote Originally Posted by christopher d. Keth View Post
    don't lots of pmk users still do that regularly?


    My most dangerous moment was dangling several meters down on an improvised rope harness into the caldera of a live, currently erupting volcano. Below me was a hundred foot drop into a boiling slurry of ash and hydrochloric acid.
    winner!
    Real cameras are measured in inches...
    Not pixels.

    www.photocollective.org

  9. #9
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: How musk risk / danger have you taken for a photograph or access to shoot?

    Quote Originally Posted by dsphotog View Post
    winner!
    Only if he was using LF!

  10. #10
    lenser's Avatar
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    Re: How musk risk / danger have you taken for a photograph or access to shoot?

    Two come to mind, both involving trains. When I was in my late teens, I climbed down a small cliff on the Mississippi River to shoot close ups of some rock formations alongside a train track. This was on a strong curve so the track was tilted and the noise of the oncoming train was muted by the curved rock face. Suddenly, me, the Calumet CC-400 and the big Quick Set tripod were literally overhung by the leaning train as it passed only a couple of feet behind me.

    The second occurred about 25 years ago when a historian friend and I were out shooting images on the 100 plus year old Thebes, Ill. railroad bridge. We were about 1/2 mile out on the two track bridge when we saw one train approaching from the Illinois side and realized there was no room to stand between the two sets of tracks if one also came from Missouri. There was a nearby very spindly escape platform that we were able to get on, but the next five minutes or so were spent sitting about three feet away from the passing cars being shaken like crazy on the 100 foot high platform and watching the completely loose rail joint in front of us slam up and down each time a wheel passed.
    "One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude." Carl Sandburg

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