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21 Favorite Photos And The Stories Behind Them
I thought it might be fun to share (5) five of my favorite photographs and accompanying stories. Stories that until now have been shared with only a few close friends. In the same vein as many reality shows depicting dangerous or unwise situations I’ll begin with a disclaimer:
“The following photographs were taken after careful planning enabling me to barely avoid inclusion in the Darwin Awards, completely losing my gear or putting important relationships in jeopardy. If interested in a long career of photography one should avoid repeating the following circumstances no matter how well the end result turned out… unless you’re like me and absolutely can’t resist getting that magical photo.”
#5: Full Moon Over San Francisco
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What could be so risky about taking a photo of San Francisco? Looking past my rapid exit from the freeway, upon seeing the biggest moon I’ve yet to see rising over the city… I was returning home after picking up my girlfriend from her job. My girlfriend had made it known that she really had to go to the bathroom. An extremely good sport she put up with my “quick” detour, which wasn’t so quick. Pulling up to a lookout I unloaded my camera gear, set up my tripod, secured my camera, attached my cable release and fired away. What I only thought was a few minutes turned into 20 or 30. Fortunately no accidents happened, the girlfriend didn’t get too mad, and after another few years of torment my girlfriend became my wife. If I had been any slower finishing up my shoot… on the other hand I don’t want to think about it. 😀
#4: Turning Tide
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Some might say the adventure making it out to this spot is walking through Baker Beach, a notorious spot for mostly male nudists. If you can keep your focus and stay the course at the end of the beach you’ll need to do some small time rock climbing hopping from one cove to another. Before heading out on this day I checked the tide to make sure that it would be receding. The last thing I wanted was to get stuck due to an in coming tide. Even still photography along the coast can be dangerous due to an ever present risk of rogue waves.
Hiked up 3 feet in the air, nearly doing the splits with a precariously stretched out tripod, between two fins of protruding rock I was able to fire off some dramatic landscape photos. The normal challenges of ocean spray on my filters, bracing myself, not losing my camera backpack, manually holding up more filters as necessary, and keeping my tripod steady were more than enough to worry about. None-the-less in the back of my mind I kept worrying about a rogue wave and would keep one eye on the scene being photographed and another out to sea.
Fortunately there were no rogue waves while shooting, but just as I was heading back in… one rolled through as I was running up the rocks to get out of a cove. My waterproof camera bag took the brunt of the splash (along with the back of my pants) and my camera still on a tripod slung over my shoulder miraculously avoided getting very wet.
It should go with out saying one always has to respect the power of the ocean.
#3: Crater Lake Reflection
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During my visit to Crater Lake National Park the best was saved for last. After trekking through the park along the Pacific Crest Trail for 30+ miles I spent my last day exploring the crater rim. Extremely sore, later to be diagnosed with tendonitis in my ankle and put in a cast, I hiked down dozens of switchbacks… the equivalent of 60 or 70 flights of stairs. Although a very painful hike it was all worth it.
When I reached the waters edge it was late morning and the lighting was perfect for capturing the stillness of the lake and it’s deep blue reflecting face. On the far side of this photo is Wizard Island and the colorful face of the crater rim, one of the geologically oldest parts of the crater. A very memorable morning for more than one reason.
#2: White Sands Yardang
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One thing that I really enjoy about landscape photography is the adventure of hiking out to find new locations. Very enthusiastic about exploring White Sands New Mexico I hiked out with my photo gear, some water and a GPS unit. Since it was late fall and all weather conditions looked favorable I trekked out for an all day hike.
Very caught up and excited about the photo opportunities time flew by. Before I knew it the storm passing through in the morning cleared by afternoon. Out from nearly sunrise to sunset I got back to my hotel room tired, dehydrated and still quite excited. After dinner, rehydrating and checking my digital images (note this photo “White Sands Yardang” was a slide film shot) I decided to hit the sack for another day out at White Sands National Monument.
Come morning I woke up and noticed that I was pretty sunburned. Storm, late fall, hat… it didn’t matter. I was a very crispy photographer. The other item of note on this morning. I didn’t have to go to the bathroom. That kind of alarmed me. In 34 years up to this point part of the morning ritual was to evacuate my bladder, but I was so dehydrated there was nothing to evacuate. Before heading out I made sure that I had even more water on hand to avoid a repeat of this. It just goes to show that you always have to be prepared, do ample research before heading out on adventurous shoots and to pay attention to what your body is telling you. Fortunately for others I often talk about other facets of the trip than this. Consider yourself part of a lucky… errrr unlucky few.
#1: Celestial Wind
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Timing was everything for this photo. I had to plan ahead for the right conditions and time of year to get this shot. After all I wanted the North Star in the right place in relation to the wind turbines and I needed there to be a gentle enough breeze to keep the blades of the wind turbines spinning. Not living in the area, you never know what conditions will be like even after researching and making an educated guess on whether to make the trip out or not. As a result it’s hit or miss to know when conditions will be optimal. Sometime the winds cooperate and sometimes they don’t.
Anyhow after making it out and finding conditions were good I became extremely focused on the project at hand. Quickly though I noticed that my allergies were kicking in. It just so happens that grass pollen is not my friend.
Not too far into the shoot I had a tough time being able to see through the view finder. The cold was hardly noticeable as my focus quickly became not tearing up and breathing. After putting up with my deteriorating allergies for 45-60 minutes I packed up my gear and headed home. By the time I got home, my eyes were nearly swollen shut and my lungs were giving off a loud wheeze. A Benadryl or two later and after a good night sleep I woke up feeling a bit better. The only lasting effect was some mild puffiness around my eyes and very bloodshot eyes. A few days later when I got my film back it became clear putting up with my extreme case of allergies was all worthwhile.
[tags]nature, landscape, cityscape, photography, top 5, story, stories, photograph, photo, favorite, background story[/tags]