What Would You Do for the Shot?

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I’ve seen some pictures out there that HAD to have put the photographer in a pretty precarious position in order to get the shot. I’ve seen cars rigged with all sorts of miscellaneous structural devices that place the camera outside of the car with the passenger holding a remote shutter release from the inside. I’ve seen footage of people hanging out of the open door of an airplane or helicopter, who would have fallen completely out if it weren’t for a safety harness or grasping hands holding them back.

I’ve heard of photographers spending days in transit, crossing thousands of miles, just to spend ONE HOUR photographing their subject. I know of other photographers who set up their gear and waited for hours and days, for the conditions to be just right for the shot they were looking for. There are photojournalists out there who constantly put themselves in harm’s way – be it from wildlife, war-torn countries, or other dangerous conditions – just to bring those aspects of life and reality back to us.

For me, I’ve traveled quite far in order to photograph things. Last summer my husband and I went on a road trip that lasted eleven days and three thousand miles, during which I got to photograph things I’ve always wanted – buffalo, the Grand Teton Mountains, Yellowstone National Park, the Aspen trees of Colorado. We never had to place ourselves in a particularly precarious manner – we pulled off the side of the road a few times to get a shot, and I wrangled with the tripod while cars went zipping past. In a couple of circumstances we were also quite close to the wildlife – a buffalo crossed the road very near to us, other buffalo herds grazed placidly alongside the roads, and a male and female moose grazed near a bridge. According to park rules and our own desire to let the creatures be, we NEVER pursued the animals or tried to get closer. Fortunately, that’s why God created telephoto lenses!

So, my question to our readers is this: what is the most extreme thing you’ve ever done to get the photo you desired? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!

Photo credits (in order of appearance):
- “Photographer by Photos8.com” by Photos8 on Flickr Creative Commons.
- “On the Rocks” by Kugelfish on Flickr Creative Commons.
- “Working Dolphin, K-Dog a Bottle Nose Dolphin leaps out of the water” by Beverly & Pack on Flickr Creative Commons.

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  • http://www.whatsgottastay.com/ Jeremy Hall

    I've done a few fun things, but I thought I'd pass along some good behind-the-scenes of my friend Rich Legg doing some precarious rock climbing to get “the” shot.

    http://leggnet.com/2009/07/behind-scenes-active

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=733262402 facebook-733262402

    I love the ocean (handy to live next to it!) so I get wet a lot. More than once I have been hit by waves – thank you for weather sealing Pentax! The scariest recently was when I was shooting waves and sea life in tide pools off Big Sur.

    <img src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4021/4261727228_b2a8fe422c_b.jpg” width=”1024″ height=”686″ alt=”one wave to many” />

    I waited one wave too many and ended up in water over my shoes. No big deal – except my path back to shore was covered in waits deep, 50 F water and even bigger waves were on the way. I managed to get out just before the spot I was shooting went underwater for good.

    Im also VERY afraid of heights and to get this one I was right on the edge of a 50 foot drop off down to freezing water crashing around some serious rocks. Add to that I was one rogue wave away from being knocked off the ledge I was on.

    <img src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4017/4260944767_23a6325269_b.jpg” width=”685″ height=”1024″ alt=”almost reached me” />

    I got hit by one of those rogue waves yesterday shooting waves and got soaked. Insult to injury, I missed the shot :(

  • http://jpbrandanophoto.com/ Jim Brandano

    We traveled to Alaska and took a plane ride( with a quide) out to see the grizzlies
    We were across a river from them about 90 feet. At one point one of them was on our side and walked up to us gettting about 10 feet away before it crossed over to the other side. Really great seeing them that close and realizing that they were allowing us to be there.

  • Debbie Cooper

    It depends what you call extreme..I've hung out of helicopters and planes with no doors, flying in 'dead man's zone' (very VERY low) and been up really close to wildlife (buffalo, rhino..) but that's fairly routine for our type of lifestyle which is conservation and game capture in South African game reserves. I personally found it a lot more hectic and gruelling as a former news reporter, covering grisly road accident scenes..Oh and I once climbed a tall building in the rain (in a tightly-fitted dress!) to get an elevated shot. Not DANGEROUS but rather bizarre and I suppose I'd have looked silly if I'd slipped off

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