This goes out to my fellow photographers (and those who follow them), the ones who do anything for the shot they want, and the pain and suffering that comes with..... The Shot.
As many photographers know, some of us go to great lengths to create our vision, but do most non-photographers? To make a shot reality, one that's been in our head ever since we saw a crappy iPhone photo of a location on Facebook or google, we ask: "What can I do to really show off this location?" "How can I make this unique?" "Where can I add the human element?" Just 3 of the many questions that most photographers ask every time we leave home to shoot.
I want to share a few of my favorite moments, and the dumb risks I took to make the shot as close to my vision as I was able (without falling off something high..... really, really high).
One of my most recent, had to be the incredible Salt Creek Falls. As I arrived in the fog, with a light off and on rain with no idea what I was in for. You see, this was a fall that I hadn't planned on visiting, but realized I'd be driving by... so obviously I would have to make the stop. Now typically, I like to do my research before venturing to locations, especially ones that are usually shot from a high (very high) vantage point like Salt Creek.
I grabbed my gear, added a little extra rain protection, and made my way down the trail. Rain, rain, and just a wee bit more rain, and I made it to what I thought was the trail end...
There was an odd platform below me, but with a large section missing, which I then realized was a massive washout. After taking a few minutes to survey, I didn't like any of the comps from this location, so obviously I would have to make my way down the slide. As I scouted tripod spots, carefully judging wind, mist, leg placement, I realized this wasn't going to be easy. When I finally decided on the best spot, placed my tripod, and started to set up my shot, I noticed the ground was soft, and the wind was high. Luckily, the mist was low, but protecting my camera was my priority.
I looked down, thought to myself, "I have twine.... right?" Turns out I did not. So now what? I wasn't leaving without an attempt. Again I looked down, and said to myself.... "I don't really need that do I?" Without hesitation, I pulled a boot string out and tied my tripod to the small tree trunk behind me. Nice! All set. I wiped my lens down, set my remote, and carefully made my way down the slide to the massive trunk below. After a few close calls falling off the trunk, I had a successful shot. No mist, no movement, just pure amazing 286ft. worth of milky waterfall. After a few slips getting back up to my camera, I finally made it back up to the trail, body and camera safe and untouched.
It took me getting into photography to overcome so many things, but the one thing, my worst fear, was my fear of heights. Putting myself in extreme locations, pushing that fear till it became second nature to stand a thousand feet above the ground was the only way. On so many of my trips, I have had to put my fear behind me to make the shots I've always wanted happen.
3000' above Yosemite Valley. One of the first times I've been able to stand for any period of time without losing my mind. When I got to this point, I moved my gear down to a ledge equally as tiny, and set up my camera. Wavering on the tip of a rock, three legs all at different lengths, and my bag attached to weigh it down. As I perfected the focus, I started my short jog around the fissures to the tip of that rock, and stood... very, very, still. With all of Yosemite below me, I soaked it all in, and that feeling is incredible.
Taking this photo was one of my first attempts at pushing my fear down, and maybe the most memorable. My buddy Peter and I hiked high above Vik and Reynisdrangar. Zig zagging back and forth finally making it to the top. Along the way we met sheep, looked deep into the eastern part of Iceland, and became increasingly excited as Reynisfjara Beach started to come into view. As we finally made it to the cliffs above, my stomach shifted, as did my balance. Roughly 1000' above the beach, we had to strain our eyes to see people walking below. Throwing up was definitely not out of the question, but this is what I had wanted, what I had dragged Peter to do, and I was going to make the most of it. I moved Peter to where I wanted him, planted my ass on the side of the cliff, legs over the edge, camera in front. *Click*
All in all, I still have my fears, and I still take calculated risk to make that shot happen. But that's the best part right? What have you done to overcome your fears? How are you going to change your life?