Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Photographers Go To Inhospitable Environments To Get the Shot

Cactus, Joshua Tree, California, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Lumix 20mm f1.7 Lens
iso 160, f4.5, 1/500 sec
National Geographic (and other) photographers regularly put themselves into inhospitable environments, and even harm's way, just to get the shot.
Most of us know of famous war photographers killed in action, including Robert Capa. (Click Here) for a list of ten famous photographers killed in action.
Not all of the dangers are that glamorous. I found this page on the Photo Society's website which lists the hazards that National Geographic photographers have experienced in their duties.
(Click Here) to read them on
Lots of amoebic dysentery, plenty of hypothermia (frostbite listed separately, which has happened 29 times, 23 for the same photographer). How about two attacks by a Florida Panther - that's two attacks on two different photographers on different assignments - same panther. Spitting cobra attack, anyone?
So why did I select the Joshua Tree picture for this post? I actually took a step off-trail into a ravine on this highly-traveled short loop trail and ended up miles off-course. By the time I crossed a road in the desert and convinced someone to pick me up (several drivers refused to even look at me as they drove past), I was on my last ~.25 liter of water. I don't think I would've died out there, so close to civilization and along a road. But, dry and sunburnt in just a couple of extra hours in the desert, it reminded me that the risks are real, especially if we do something dumb like go off-trail in the desert.