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Use caution when taking night photos!


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We just happened to be at the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge on the north side of the Bay a bit after sunset while driving home last week. All was dark and the lights were fantastic, so I couldn't resist hiking the trail to the overlook all by myself despite being without a flashlight.  The night shots to be had were too alluring.

 

. I forgot the name of the road, but on the north side of the bay, when heading south to cross the GG bridge, there's a last exit to the right (west) and you take it a bit up hill and park. There were some folks coming down the path with headlamps on, so being without a flashlight, I was hoping to hook up with others who might be hiking in the dark. But the lights were abuzzing from the city and night sky, so the well travelled dirt path was easy to follow even without a flashlight.

 

So I plunged ahead, slowly and cautiously watching the path and being able to see it pretty well from the ambient lights. SF and the Bridge were lit up beautifully, and despite nobody else around, it seemed an easy, safe hike to the overlook.

 

So I am walking slowly and cautiously, and finally I see the very end just a few yards ahead of me. So close, the prize just ahead.

 

 But, at this point after going over a bit of a rise in the trail, the city lights are strong. However, I see the boundary chain just ahead at the overlook, and figure I finally made it. I take a step, and WHAMMOO,  I have fallen off a 2 to 3 foot ledge. Flat on the ground and stunned I slowly rise making sure nothing was broken (me or the camera- (and in those situations I am invariably more concerned about damaging the camera than say, breaking an arm :)

 

Other than being majorly sore, a gashed knee that didn't need stitches, a few bruises, aches and pains, didn't hit my head, nor broken bones (apparently no broken spleens or anything) I count my blessings, note the camera gear is fine too, and  realize how lucky I was. That ledge is an old concrete WWII gun embankment, and though I had been there before in the daylight and had noticed that hazard, that night forgot all about it. got some really nice shots though.

 

So be carefull going there at night, (even in the day time), take a flashlight and watch for that drop off you won't see because of the city lights in your face.

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It's a dangerous game at times. I plopped my right leg into the river one day setting up a kingfisher perch. Had to work all day with a soaked leg lol I reckon we don't see the danger until we get the shot. I was wandering around a graveyard for best composition of Glasgow Cathedral one night. Totally hit home once I got that shot of what I was doing. 

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Tip: Take a torch (flashlight!) covered with a red filter. That way you can see where you're going without sacrificing night vision.

 

I learned this while in the SAS, SBS and Navy Seals. 

 

Richard.

+1 on the red light. Have a little LED torch that offers both white and red light. It makes a huge difference at night only using the red.

 

If I told you where I learned it, I'd have to kill you . . .

 

dd

Edited by dustydingo
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I've always shot dusk for night, where there's detail in the shadows and one is less likely to fall into San Francisco Bay.  :)

 

Yes, I've done that shot, MM. It is seductive. 

Edited by Ed Rooney
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TorchPro app on iphone, it has morse built in so you can send an SOS with one button...

You're serious, aren't you, Geoff. There really is an app for Morse code?

 

 

 

.. contour lines disappear on OS maps!

Very good point. And likely to also lead to one walking over a precipice. 

 

 

Richard. 

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TorchPro app on iphone, it has morse built in so you can send an SOS with one button...

You're serious, aren't you, Geoff. There really is an app for Morse code?

 

 

 

 

Richard. 

 

 

Oh yes, this is the best app in the world...ok, it's pretty good. It turns the flash into a torch and you can write a message and it converts it to morse for the light and speaker- hours of entertainment There's also a single SOS button. of course if you want to communicate with someone, you could always just use the phone to make a phone call... :)

Edited by Guest
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Does the British have Navy Seals, Richard? . . . or did you work with this former colony? I almost bought an Oxfordshire cottage from a former SAS sergeant. He began his service with Sterling's Rangers in WW2. 

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Thanks for all the nice replies as I still count my lucky stars. In retrospect the fall was probably closer to two feet rather than three, but still enough to feel like six feet!

 

Yes, a flashlight should be a permanent addition to my camera pack! There's a handsized Energizer that only costs about $10 that is rechargeable and always reliable (ie no dead batteries ever, or the need to shake the darn things to make the contacts work :) ). We have three of them, and they were all 'safely' at home at the time.

 

I opted to not see a clinic btw, figuring nothing seemed to be broken or urgently serious, plus no head injuries. Besides, the clinics around here charge nearly $300 just for the initial office visit paper work to set up an account. If I had gone that route,  I could easily see a $500 to a $1000 billa total, at which point I might as well hand over some of my camera equipment.

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Go for a head torch, keeps you hands free and is always pointing where you are looking.

 

This sort of thing

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Headlamp-Cycling-Climbing-Mountain-Running/dp/B0038MCYDI/ref=sr_1_18?s=sports&ie=UTF8&qid=1386694325&sr=1-18&keywords=head+torch

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I opted to not see a clinic btw, figuring nothing seemed to be broken or urgently serious, plus no head injuries. Besides, the clinics around here charge nearly $300 just for the initial office visit paper work to set up an account. If I had gone that route,  I could easily see a $500 to a $1000 billa total, at which point I might as well hand over some of my camera equipment.

:o We might have to wait a while but at least it's paid for. Shame you have to avoid treatment you might need. A few painkillers and elastoplast then.

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Thanks for all the nice replies as I still count my lucky stars. In retrospect the fall was probably closer to two feet rather than three, but still enough to feel like six feet!

 

Yes, a flashlight should be a permanent addition to my camera pack! There's a handsized Energizer that only costs about $10 that is rechargeable and always reliable (ie no dead batteries ever, or the need to shake the darn things to make the contacts work :) ). We have three of them, and they were all 'safely' at home at the time.

 

I opted to not see a clinic btw, figuring nothing seemed to be broken or urgently serious, plus no head injuries. Besides, the clinics around here charge nearly $300 just for the initial office visit paper work to set up an account. If I had gone that route,  I could easily see a $500 to a $1000 billa total, at which point I might as well hand over some of my camera equipment.

So much for Obamacare by the sounds of it.

Edited by John Mitchell
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<<so much for Obamacare by the sounds of it.>>

 

Obamacare starts Jan 1 2014, so it's effectiveness is yet to be seen.

 

I am currently covered for the catastrophic thru private health coverage, but I pay such incidentals out of pocket because of the high deductible.After PPACA gets going, I'm not sure what restraints, if any, will exist to reign in (federal budget) costs. But we will find out. It will certainly be a great boon to all self-employed photographers,  artists, etc. Part of me says don't hesitate to snap up a good deal, or look a gift horse in the mouth, but the other part acts with hesitation and a sense of guilt, wondering if what's a good deal (a wonderful deal) for some simply may induce greater costs and hardships on others. Is it all  simply great savings to everyone thru greater efficiency of the system- ie brilliant design, or is it disguised welfare?

 

The funny thing is NOBODY knows!

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<<so much for Obamacare by the sounds of it.>>

 

Obamacare starts Jan 1 2014, so it's effectiveness is yet to be seen.

 

I am currently covered for the catastrophic thru private health coverage, but I pay such incidentals out of pocket because of the high deductible.After PPACA gets going, I'm not sure what restraints, if any, will exist to reign in (federal budget) costs. But we will find out. It will certainly be a great boon to all self-employed photographers,  artists, etc. Part of me says don't hesitate to snap up a good deal, or look a gift horse in the mouth, but the other part acts with hesitation and a sense of guilt, wondering if what's a good deal (a wonderful deal) for some simply may induce greater costs and hardships on others. Is it all  simply great savings to everyone thru greater efficiency of the system- ie brilliant design, or is it disguised welfare?

 

The funny thing is NOBODY knows!

It sounds as if night photography without a torch/flashlight can be extra costly in the USA. Good luck with Obamacare when it kicks in. Our single-payer system works well enough here in Canada (i.e. no charge at the walk-in clinic), but the US is a different kettle of ideologies, I realize. 

Edited by John Mitchell
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Glad you're okay.

 

My father was in in the coast artillery in San Francisco at the outset of our involvement in WWII and manned a gun emplacement similar to the one that gave you grief. He was stationed at Fort Winfield Scott on the south side of the bridge. I heard quite a few stories of his exploits growing up. The guns were actually obsolete by then and he was soon offered a transfer to the Army Air Corp. There are coast artillery training films on youtube I'm sure he watched. Targeting was done by triangulation from Base End stations which were essentially armored spotting stations built into the cliffs. Some of these are still visible today.

 

As for Obamacare, it turns out my wife and I will save several hundred dollars a month by switching to an exchange plan from the group plan we have through our S-corp. The coverage is essentially the same.

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<<so much for Obamacare by the sounds of it.>>

 

Obamacare starts Jan 1 2014, so it's effectiveness is yet to be seen.

 

I am currently covered for the catastrophic thru private health coverage, but I pay such incidentals out of pocket because of the high deductible.After PPACA gets going, I'm not sure what restraints, if any, will exist to reign in (federal budget) costs. But we will find out. It will certainly be a great boon to all self-employed photographers,  artists, etc. Part of me says don't hesitate to snap up a good deal, or look a gift horse in the mouth, but the other part acts with hesitation and a sense of guilt, wondering if what's a good deal (a wonderful deal) for some simply may induce greater costs and hardships on others. Is it all  simply great savings to everyone thru greater efficiency of the system- ie brilliant design, or is it disguised welfare?

 

The funny thing is NOBODY knows!

It sounds as if night photography without a torch/flashlight can be extra costly in the USA. Good luck with Obamacare when it kicks in. Our single-payer system works well enough here in Canada (i.e. no charge at the walk-in clinic), but the US is a different kettle of ideologies, I realize. 

 

I'm a single payer guy. If we would just gradually lower the Medicare age, it would be much simpler. But a lot a folks down here freak out about it and tell ridiculous horror stories about Canada's system. And they ignore the very real horror stories from our old system.

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I use torches sparingly.  I prefer to visit locations in daytime, and make some decisions about what and how to shoot then.  I also always check streetview.  I am most likely to be only using a torch to focus with.

 

Torches attract attention, especailly from security guards, who have been instructed not to approach possibly insane people staggering around with tripods and pointing torches at strange things in the night, and instead they make a note of your car reg number and contact the police, who will contact your local police, who will either send a nice bobby round to see you next day or else contact special branch.

 

Another tip:  keep your car some way away from where you are shooting, so that the reg number is out of sight.

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<<so much for Obamacare by the sounds of it.>>

 

Obamacare starts Jan 1 2014, so it's effectiveness is yet to be seen.

 

I am currently covered for the catastrophic thru private health coverage, but I pay such incidentals out of pocket because of the high deductible.After PPACA gets going, I'm not sure what restraints, if any, will exist to reign in (federal budget) costs. But we will find out. It will certainly be a great boon to all self-employed photographers,  artists, etc. Part of me says don't hesitate to snap up a good deal, or look a gift horse in the mouth, but the other part acts with hesitation and a sense of guilt, wondering if what's a good deal (a wonderful deal) for some simply may induce greater costs and hardships on others. Is it all  simply great savings to everyone thru greater efficiency of the system- ie brilliant design, or is it disguised welfare?

 

The funny thing is NOBODY knows!

It sounds as if night photography without a torch/flashlight can be extra costly in the USA. Good luck with Obamacare when it kicks in. Our single-payer system works well enough here in Canada (i.e. no charge at the walk-in clinic), but the US is a different kettle of ideologies, I realize. 

 

I'm a single payer guy. If we would just gradually lower the Medicare age, it would be much simpler. But a lot a folks down here freak out about it and tell ridiculous horror stories about Canada's system. And they ignore the very real horror stories from our old system.

 

Well, yes, the Canadian system is not without problems (e.g. long wait-times for some procedures), but at least everyone is covered. I've not had any issues with the system myself, but then my health remains good (touch wood). Apparently, even Colin Powell is now pushing for a single-payer system in the US. Obama did what he could, I suppose. Good luck with that.

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