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Have you ever been in a tricky photography situation whilst out and about?

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I'm a photographer, get me out of here!

 

We're putting a blog post together collating as many tales as we can of difficult situations photographers have found themselves in whilst out in the field.

 

Maybe you got caught out by an incoming tide and had to gather your gear before getting soaked?

 

Maybe you turned up to shoot a wedding and realised you didn't have any memory cards with you?

 

Have you ever climbed the top of a mountain to get the best viewpoint and then realised you'd bought the wrong lens with you?

 

Your stories can be funny, serious, silly or scary - if we like it we'll feature your story in the blog next week. Please try and keep the stories down to a single paragraph so we can feature as many as possible on the Alamy Blog.

 

Cheers!

 

Alamy

 

p.s - we're not looking for business / state of the industry / pricing stories for this one - we're interested in the practical side! :)

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About a year ago, I was covering a demonstration relating to police officers who shot and killed a wanted felon.  I arrived to the location of the demonstration early, so I decided to stay in my vehicle and wait until others arrived.  The start of the demonstration was delayed by at least an hour.  I had a "Press" credential placard on the dashboard of my car but despite that, another photographer decided to start photographing me, from across the street, as I was sitting in the vehicle.  I got out of the car with two camera bodies, one long lens, and one short lens.  I walked up to the group and the other photographer approached me and asked what I was doing.  I showed him my credential.  He apologized and said the rumor was, everyone thought I was an undercover police officer watching the crowd because I was in my vehicle, waiting for the event to begin.

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About a year ago, I was covering a demonstration relating to police officers who shot and killed a wanted felon.  I arrived to the location of the demonstration early, so I decided to stay in my vehicle and wait until others arrived.  The start of the demonstration was delayed by at least an hour.  I had a "Press" credential placard on the dashboard of my car but despite that, another photographer decided to start photographing me, from across the street, as I was sitting in the vehicle.  I got out of the car with two camera bodies, one long lens, and one short lens.  I walked up to the group and the other photographer approached me and asked what I was doing.  I showed him my credential.  He apologized and said the rumor was, everyone thought I was an undercover police officer watching the crowd because I was in my vehicle, waiting for the event to begin.

I don't know US law- was he not entitled to photograph you?

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humorous-view-of-eurasian-eagle-owl-bubo

I went to a raptor show inside a fairgrounds building. There was a beautiful Eagle Owl sitting on a perch. I sat on the dirty floor to shoot up for an unusual perspective. Then, because of a bad back, I couldn't get up. I wallowed around for a minute, trying. I had to ask a perfect stranger to please help me up. Rather embarrassing.

Edited by Betty LaRue

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I've been shot at, had my cameras stolen, been menaced by the Gendarmerie in a Paris riot, and almost went over the Iguazú Falls in Brazil.  

 

Edo

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A couple of years ago I was in North Wales aiming to photograph from the Nantille Ridge at dawn. On the way climbing alone in pitch dark I had to cross a boulder field which follows the ridge and is almost vertical on one side. The boulders were as slippy as ice and the climb became lethal. So, I started to move down lower on the safer side to a grassy area. I had a heavy pack on my back and as I made my way steeply downhill and very carefully due to the slippy nature I did indeed slip and fall forward. Putting my arm out in instinctive defence it went down a hole between the boulders and I went head over heels with my rucksack on my back and my elbow did not want to follow.

I yelled out in pain and then lay there clutching my elbow and wondering what I was goimng to do. My elbow was about 3 times larger than normal and my headtorch had catapulted off and lay down a hole.

After about 10 mins I managed to manouvre myself and retrieve the torch. Although I had plenty of survival equipment, it dawned on me that had I been more seriously injured I may have had difficulty getting it out of my pack and so could have been lying on it but unable to use it.

Anyway, eventually I managed to get myself up and had to continue down the slippery boulders, of course my confidence had gone now as I knew if I fell again it was really going to hurt. Eventually though I reached the grass.

Unfortunately the grassy path I had seen was a dead end and was not followable. I had no choice to climb back up to the top of the ridge and then make a decision whether to continue or to retreat.

I think if it had been an easy return I would have gone back, but it was negligible which way was easier so I decided to continue and go down another way, besides sunrise was fast approaching and it seemed a shame to miss the shot. So I cautiously crossed the boulder ridge and onto the grassy top.

Getting in position I found removing the rucksack from my back and mounting camera on tripod quite difficult with one arm but did manage it.

I got several interesting shots of the sunrising and then headed back clutching my elbow.

 

The elbow turned out to be fractured and not broken. The good bit was I have sold one of the images twice, once in a magazie article I wrote and once through Alamy so I guess it was worthwhile. The next time I did this I camped up there to avoid the walk in the dark.

 

sunrise-over-cambrian-mountains-with-moe

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black-point-beach-niantic-east-lyme-conn

 

The day before Hurricane Sandy hit, we drove out to the beach in Connecticut to bring my mother home to a safer location. I went down to the beach to get some images before we headed back to New York, and was photographing the crashing waves when this one hit. It nearly knocked me down but I managed to keep my equipment dry other then some spray on the lens, however, despite having rolled up my jeans and being barefoot I got very wet, making for a soggy ride home. The photos I got were well worth it though, with a series of the waves building up being featured in a gallery show.

Edited by Marianne

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I remember a late September evening in the mid '90s, back in the days of film. My wife and I stood atop a cliff overlooking Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This is a place with about as stunning scenery as you're apt to fine in the midwestern United States. I had my Canon EOS A2E (EOS 5 elsewhere) on a tripod and as the golden hour gave way to blue, I decided to change lenses. A few seconds after removing the lens I had been using, a big honking moth flew into the mirror box. I had to shoo it out with a blower brush. Then I had to blow out the numerous wing scales it left spread all over the inside of the camera. It probably would have been funnier had I put the other lens on without noticing the moth. I would have had a startling sight through the viewfinder. I shudder to think what would have happened with a digital sensor behind the shutter.

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Close Call in Guatemala

 

Back in the 1990's, I was visiting Antigua, Guatemala, and decided to climb up to a well known viewpoint on Cerro de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross) to take some panoramic shots of this attractive Spanish colonial town and the surrounding volcanoes. On the way up the wooded hill, I was stopped twice by locals who told me to watch out for "malas personas" (bad people), but I continued on despite their warnings. When I got to the eerie lookout at the top, I found that it was totally deserted. I hurriedly snapped a few photos and took off back in the direction of town with my heart pounding. Two days later, an article on the front page of the local newspaper reported that a group of language students had been robbed at gunpoint the day before on Cerro de la Cruz. The thieves shot the class's unfortunate teacher point-blank. I couldn't help thinking that it could easily have been me.

 

P.S. The pictures turned out well, though.

 

overview-of-the-spanish-colonial-city-of

Edited by John Mitchell

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I was photographing in Cornwall recently.  I was on the far point of some rocks going into the sea. Typical Cornish rocks. Black. Jagged. Uneven and willing to twist ankles, rip clothing etc.

 

The sun had recently gone down and I was using the time after to take long exposures and capture the last light of day. Other people where walking on the coastal path above or had come to see sunset.

 

Finally it got to the point where I wanted to be able to make my way safely off the rocks. I had an LED headlamp and a powerful torch.

 

As soon as I started to make my way I was attacked by a giant insect. It seemed bigger than a bumble bee. Maybe it was a hornet. It was making repeated bombing runs at my head.

 

The result was a fully grown man hopping from rock to rock making karate style swiping motions and apparently doing Riverdance with his legs. 

 

When I reached the safety of the coastal path my first act was to try and see how many people had seen this spectacle. (None apparently) and then leave the area as quickly as possible.

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After leaving college in the mid 80's I worked as a freelance assistant.

The first time I worked with a still life photographer shooting 5x4 trannies I loaded the film back to front.

Fortunately a test shot came back with a rather unusual colour cast and alerted us to the problem before shooting the rest of the film!

Strangely he never employed me again :o

 

Phil

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In Barcelona a guy on a bicycle tried to snatch my camera  - but I held onto it. 

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I was photographing hotels in Barbados for a travel wholesaler.

 

At a down market hotel full of young single British tourists, I had trouble making my usual room shot. Just after lunch, many rooms were being put to good use by amorous Brits.

 

Knock, knock. "go away". Knock, knock. "We are busy". Knock, knock. "Come back in an hour". Knock, knock. "want to join us?".

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Back in September 1997 I got the earliest cable car up to the Aiguille de Midi. A47TDX.jpgThe conditions were perfect, but the downside was that I had no camera. Lenses - check. Filter - check. Spare film - plenty. Camera - nope. I had cleaned it the day before and had forgotten to put it back in my bag. This is what happens when you open the first beer before you have finished the last job of the day. To say I was annoyed is to miss my emotions by a wide margin, and my disappointment was intensified, as it always is, when you have no-one else to blame. 

 

 

On the upside though, I met a charming Quebecoise C0W07X.jpg  and we spent the day together. We walked along to the Mer de Glace and I showed her the sights of Chamonix. Awed no doubt by my film-star good-looks and urbane sophistication, at the end of the day we exchanged addresses and despite a quite disgraceful 13 years between us (if you can't grow old gracefully, then grow old disgracefully) we were soon an item C0EYH6.jpgand in 2002 I emigrated to BRB158.jpg Quebec City, and now we are parents of a son DG5A72.jpg and our daughter E6NBWD.jpg.

 

 

The Moral of the story - if you arse up your photo day, never mind and keep your eyes peeled for the silver lining. 

 

Colin

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Way back in 1998 I was working in Tajikistan when there was an attempted coup in the northern city of Khujand. I arrived as government troops began to take back control and started looting the place - their own country! Photographing around the city I came across a group of government troops who had just emerged from a shop loaded with looted vodka. Needless to say they had sampled their loot. I quickly shot a few frames and intended to get well away when one soldier,  whom I hadn't noticed, ordered me to HALT! They quickly surrounded me and, after checking my press credentials, ordered me to drink from a bottle of vodka. I took a few sips of the neat vodka in the sweltering heat and handed it back. They weren't impressed and several chambered rounds in their rifles and pointed them at me - drink, drink! they ordered. I was made to drink a good half litre before, roaring with laughter, they allowed me to go. I think I made it about twenty metres down the street before collapsing and spewing my guts up. The pictures were never published adding insult to injury.

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I was taking shots of Cautley Spout waterfall (it has a drop of 650 ft) working my way to the top. It falls over cliffs in a series of drops. I positioned myself on a ledge just below the highest section of the falls and started to take photos. Becoming engrossed I lost the sense of where I was and started to move backwards to get a wider view. Some survival mechanism must have kicked in because I instinctively stopped, right on the edge, and realized that I had been about to plunge backwards down the cascade. Scary.

On another occasion at the same waterfall I dropped a Canon L grade telephoto, and saw it roll towards the chasm below. Fortunately there was a single clump of grass in its path and it stopped.

Having used up two of my photographic lives there I'd best not return.

 

the-upper-reaches-of-cautley-spout-water

Edited by Bryan

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On one of the occasions I was asked to photograph Prince Charles he was opening a new library at a Welsh university. Due to my working for the university and having a high security clearance I had 'access all areas' and could wander where I wished away from the press corps who were herded and corralled about. I found an elevated vantage point which gave me good views of everything going on, meeting and greeting etc. A suited special branch guy with earpiece and ominous bulge under his jacket sidled up to me. "Hello Pete". He knew my name which I though was spooky. "No big problem" he said "but we have been asked to make sure no-one photographs the prince from above". "Why?" I said innocently. He smiled, winked and patted the top of his head. I looked down at Charles and could see that he was beginning to go thin on top! 

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Excellent so far! Keep them coming :)

 

Alamy

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Back in the 90s during the Northern Ireland troubles I was working for a national newspaper, and with a reporter knocked on a senior UK government minister's front door at his country estate, having arrived in a battered and ancient Ford Escort. We were arrested at gunpoint and held under anti-terror laws until we'd been checked out and cleared.

 

We were detained on the garden terrace with lovely views and given a pot of good tea and some very nice biscuits, so one of my better arrests at work.

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My experience, fortunately without problems at the end in Bolivia.

 

While my wife was at a seminar in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, in 2002, I decided to spend the day and go see the Jesuit missions of Concepción and San Javier, for which via a travel agency I organized the trip by renting a car and guide.

After an hour's journey we pass a bridge and saw people washing in the river I asked to stop to take some pictures from the bridge that it was in the middle of nowhere and just without passing cars.

Returning to the car a man came out from the bushes to ask if we could take him for a lift. The driver said no, so the man pulled a gun and asking us to get out of the car. At that time appeared another colleague of him.

While I was leaving the car I forgot to take my dear Billingham bag with my camera and lens.

A car was approaching in the distance and the thieves command we stand on the other side of the road without doing nothing to the car that was coming. When the car passed and the thieves were starting the car to leave us I went near them, maybe a little reckless on my part, to ask for the Fuji films with the pictures that I took previously. We know that the cameras can be purchased again but the pictures taken are impossible to repeat. To my surprise the thieves gave me the whole bag.

The guide ask me if after the incidence I want to return to Santa Cruz to which I replied that I had the camera I wanted to continue the trip. He sought another taxi to the nearest town with the only mishap of a flat tire and gives us a little moment of panic to stop in the middle of nowhere to change the wheel in that country, beautiful but insecure in those years.

The robbers, who had escaped from prison the previous day, left the car at about 100 km undamaged and fortunately they did not ask for my wallet and my cell phone. I was really lucky

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I have a few more experiences from my travels on my blog: http://peteslandscape.blogspot.co.uk

 

See entries for 24th. February 2014 'Be Prepared', 11th. February 2014 'More Bullets' and 10th. February 2014 'Of Moose and Men'. 

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A few years ago I was walking in the Angus glens doing landscapes. This involved a lot of walking and this particular time I was descending by the Water Of Lee towards Glen Esk and got to the point where the Water had to be crossed only to discover that the bridge had disappeared. The only option was to cross on foot. I was in full walking gear with backpack and choose a suitable place and right in the middle I lost my footing and literally sat in the water. I remained there for what seemed an age just to make sure I wasn't injured. It was early spring and the water was quite cold. I had to walk about three miles back to the car and, still being wet, my companion produced a tartan blanket which I changed into for the journey back to base. A decision was made to stop off for fish and chips in Aberdeen on the way back and I got some strange looks but at least I guess it was passable for a kilt up there! The fish and chips were nice though!

 

Jim.  :)

Edited by Broad Norfolk

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Photographing in rural Cumbria shouldn’t be too traumatic, in theory; in practice my preoccupations often attracted the attention of the police, especially those whose job it was to safeguard the nuclear power station at Sellafield and the Barrow shipyard, where nuclear submarines were built. And these police weren’t the regular ‘bobbies’; they were unsmiling, fully armed and didn’t mess about. When they said “jump!”, I asked “how high?”

So I used to get regular follow-up visits from the local constabularly, checking up that I lived where I said I was living, and that I was a professional photographer rather than a danger to national security. When I got yet another knock on the door, and saw a familiar PC standing outside, I extended my hands for his handcuffs. “No, no”, he said, “there’s nothing wrong this time. My wife gave me one of your books, and I wondered if you’d sign it”…

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Bird Photography - Misadventure #1

 

Deep in a forest in Finland at sub-zero temperatures, it's a pre-dawn trek to the bird hide through the deep snow.

The cramped hide is "heated" by a small naked flame.

 

After several hours of waiting, a female goshawk finally lands.

This is when from the corner of my eye, I spot my sleeping bag on fire.

 

Gen

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