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

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Bird Photography - Misadventure #2

 

It is 4am. Hiking on a muddy and very steep slope in the Peruvian rainforest, I have to get to the lek before sunrise.

I am hoping to watch the cock-of-the-rock display.

 

As I settle down on a tiny wooden platform with my camera mounted on tripod, the rotten logs suddendly give way.

I have a split second to catch my tripod with my right hand and a branch with my left hand, leaving me dangling on a 45 degree slope in total darkness.

 

Gen

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Bird Photography - Misadventure #3

 

The Pantanal in Brazil, a swamp as big as Switzerland, is a bird paradise. Not so much for cars though.

There is a plethora of rickety wooden bridges to go over, most of them missing numerous planks.

They are designed for the cattle ranch trucks. My small car can only have two wheels on a plank.

 

I gingerly press the accelerator. A horrible crashing noise ensues underneath us, and the car partially falls through. We're suspended in mid-air.

 

Until just before midnight, we're busy repairing bridges as we go along, putting one plank before the wheels before proceeding.

In doing so, my torchlight catches the red eyes of hundred of caimans below.

 

Gen

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Bird Photography - Misadventure #3

 

The Pantanal in Brazil, a swamp as big as Switzerland, is a bird paradise. Not so much for cars though.

There is a plethora of rickety wooden bridges to go over, most of them missing numerous planks.

They are designed for the cattle ranch trucks. My small car can only have two wheels on a plank.

 

I gingerly press the accelerator. A horrible crashing noise ensues underneath us, and the car partially falls through. We're suspended in mid-air.

 

Until just before midnight, we're busy repairing bridges as we go along, putting one plank before the wheels before proceeding.

In doing so, my torchlight catches the red eyes of hundred of caimans below.

 

Gen

 

Be sure to go to the Pantanal during the dry season. Nothing is guaranteed, though. An unexpected rain turns the dirt road into very, very slick mud. I was lucky enough not to have to drive. We had a luxurious bus but it was big and kept needing a tow to get up onto the little bridges. Then when we no longer had our helping tow truck with us our Brazilian guide had to get out and push the bus back into a straight line after we slid sideways. This happened dozens of times. The driver was afraid to turn the wheel the direction the guide told him to because it looked to him like we would go down the embankment if he did. When our guide was screaming at him in Portuguese I felt like an actor in a foreign film. I wondered if the tourists in the film survived. When we were told to get out of the bus at a particularly dangerous point we were advised to take our passports with us "just in case". (I also took one camera with lens and the laptop that had my jaguar images). Happily, the worst that happened was that a three hour trip took nine hours and we had a story to tell. The Transpantaneira has 122 wooden bridges.

 

Paulette

Edited by NYCat

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A couple decades back, I was on a sponsored trip to China with another photographer. We arrived a day late to Beijing because of a mix-up in arrangements. I'd packed a couple of suits since there were dinners to attend, something I don't normally wear let alone stuff into luggage. I had a small travel iron to get out some wrinkles and, as I was hanging up a shirt, smelled something bad. The iron had tipped over and was scorching the rug. As I was stewing about this after an unsuccessful attempt to scuff the nap back up, I read material on the desk that said if you bring a heating or cooking appliance to the hotel and it starts a fire, you are guilty of arson.

 

Next day, photographing at Tiananmen Square, I heard what sounded like a shot from a low-caliber weapon. A few minutes later, there was another. I meandered over toward them till I got to a sign in Chinese, with "Keep Out" or words to that effect in English below it. My curiosity made the tour guide nervous and she went to make a phone call. She came back and said that the plane south, which had been a problem because of the earlier delay, was now suddenly available. But we had to hurry, only ten minutes to pack and exit the hotel, don't worry about check-out. I was quite relieved not to have to deal with the rug business.

 

While we sat waiting for a long time at the airport, a couple of tall and athletic looking Chinese men in business suits carefully went over our passports page by page, occasionally casting scowls in our direction. The other photographer was pissed at me for possibly screwing up the good relations he had till then with the Chinese government tourism folks.

 

When we got down to Guangxi Zhuang, the local tourism director set out five one-liter bottles of beer on a table, opened all of them and said, "You can relax, gentlemen, you're in southern China now."

Edited by DDoug

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I was recently at Canary Wharf in London, walking around with a couple of cameras. Out on the water two people in a boat approached and followed me at a distance, making calls on a walkie talkie. A couple of minutes later I heard someone calling me and turned to find two security guards. 

Canary Wharf, it turns out, is ALL private property. Photography for commercial purposes is not allowed anywhere there without a permit. If you go to their website, you can find that information. If you simply get off the tube and start walking, there is no way you would know - no warning signs, lists of rules or little camera symbols with a line through them. I suspect these security guards' only job is to stop people taking photos as it must be happening constantly.

 

Thankfully one of the guards was very friendly and reasonable, and we had a chat about it and I assured him I would not use any of the photos commercially without getting a permit first (!). Unfortunately the other guard was less user-friendly and quite confrontational. If he had been on his own I'm not sure the situation would have passed so amicably.

Why they don't put up a few signs is beyond me. Perhaps it's a job-creation scheme.

 

(Try a search for Canary Wharf and see how many results come up)

Edited by Phil Robinson

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In September 1974 I was at the Press Day at the Farnborough International Air Show, and it turned out to be quite a day.  I turned up with a Mamiya C3 6x6 with tele lenses, and a 35mm for pictures for myself.  There were quite a few photographers in the Press Enclosure with 6x6 cameras, commissioned by manufacturers, etc., with Fleet Street guys using 35mm, and film crews, including one from the BBC.  The weather started fine with sunny intervals, but soon deteriorated markedly, and before long we were all wet through whilst trying to keep our cameras dry.  The flying display continued, and suddenly it was evident that a Sikorsky Blackhawk (not the current Blackhawk) was flying at too low a height, and most photographers stopped shooting – they seemed to be willing the helicopter to pull out of the roll safely – I know I was.  Tragically it crashed in front of the Press Enclosure, killing both crew members.  I only saw a few newspapers the following day, and only one had a pic to accompany the front page article, and that was a cine film still.  

Although my Mamiya and lenses were wet through (I had put my less robust 35mm away), after an hour or so in the oven at the lowest setting, with the door slightly open, all was well.  

Here is a Kodachrome II from the shoot, a pre-production version of Concorde:

 

concorde-plane-pre-production-version-in

Edited by Graham Morley

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Went to my first Ultra-Light airplane fly-in. Had shot my fill of action games and flight maneuvers and the candy drop for the kids. The day was getting pretty hot. I thought I would make one more pass down the short flight line before hitting the air conditioning of the car. I ended up chatting up a pilot, for a long time, which ended up in an invitation to go for a ride in his 2 seater Ultra-Light just before dusk. At the appointed time I arrived, put on the safety gear and helmet. Left the camera bag and extra gear with my wife. I got a picture of my wife standing in the grass praying hard as we left the ground. A few photos to the right. A few photos to the left. I was having a bit of trouble with the camera and helmet interference but worked around it. Then "MEMORY CARD FULL". Argh! Rookie mistake!

Edited by StanRohrer

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Kumar,

 

I noticed that you sold this image yesterday, did you have any problem taking it base on the face of the "amigo" approaching? :)

 

 african-fishermen-bringing-in-their-catc

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I do not recollect have any awkward or tricky moments while taking photos. Boring aren't I?

 

Perhaps if I was to out myself in some kind of danger I would get more interesting photos.

 

Allan

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:D  Which hand do I hold the camera with?

 

On second thoughts it looks a tad too dangerous for someone approaching their 70th birthday.

 

Try again with something a bit easier please.

 

Allan

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I had gotten a press pass thanks to Alamy News to shoot OpSail 2012 and was invited aboard one of the beautiful old wooden sailboats for the Parade of Sail from Niantic Connecticut to New London, CT. Got to the harbor before sunrise and was taken by Zero about a hour and a half later out to the sloop. After about an hour more of sitting out in the blazing sun on a rocking boat on a day that would eventually approach 100 degrees, we heard that the anchor of the lead ship, the Coast Guard barque Eagle, was fouled so we could not get underway until they could start. A total of three hours passed on board the rocking ship before we even began our journey, at which point I was lying with my head over the side incredibly seasick. Spent several more hours on the ship as we eventually sailed to New London, taking turns between taking photos and being ill. The crew and my fellow shipmates were great and I got some beautiful shots despite it all. Haven't licensed any of those photos here but I've exhibited quite a few and have sold prints, including one to a woman who told me her husband used to climb the Eagle's rigging as a young USCG cadet. 

 

the-honorable-heather-somer-mayor-of-gro

 

 

new-london-connecticut-usa-july-7-2012-t

Edited by Marianne

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Two photographer friends and I were chased out of Dasuq, an agricultural town in Egypt's Nile Delta region.

 

We were trying to experience the Moulid of Ibrahim al-Dusuqi, a sort of mystical Islamic ceremony mixed with a carnival, where all sorts of interesting characters would congregate.

But us three western men stood out like an iceberg in the desert. At night walking pass the beggars, the snake charmers, the cripples, the people in a trance, pass the big mosque and up and down the narrow alleyways, it was obvious that we weren't welcome, by all the evil stares and hissing that was directed at us. Gradually a large build up of smiling men with big eyes and chanting 'go home' were following us, turning in to a frenzied mob. Our hearts were pounding.

A local shopkeeper who had taken us under his wing earlier in the day (and gave us space for sleeping) realised that he'd better get us out of there, managed to attract the attention of the local police, who used their whips to disperse the baying mob. As this happened, like something from an Indiana Jones film, a horse and cart turned up ! .........so we all jumped on and as the cart gathered speed the crowd of chanting men tried to run after us, but couldn't keep up as we raced away.

We eventually made it back to the shopkeeper's place for safety, where shortly after our return the police turned up. Who were we, what were we doing, why? etc.   Phew, lucky escape. Knew we should have taken the advice in Cairo from the Egyptians......Don't go there.

Sadly didn't really get any photographs, too busy holding on to each other for our dear lives !

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Two photographer friends and I were chased out of Dasuq, an agricultural town in Egypt's Nile Delta region.

 

We were trying to experience the Moulid of Ibrahim al-Dusuqi, a sort of mystical Islamic ceremony mixed with a carnival, where all sorts of interesting characters would congregate.

But us three western men stood out like an iceberg in the desert. At night walking pass the beggars, the snake charmers, the cripples, the people in a trance, pass the big mosque and up and down the narrow alleyways, it was obvious that we weren't welcome, by all the evil stares and hissing that was directed at us. Gradually a large build up of smiling men with big eyes and chanting 'go home' were following us, turning in to a frenzied mob. Our hearts were pounding.

A local shopkeeper who had taken us under his wing earlier in the day (and gave us space for sleeping) realised that he'd better get us out of there, managed to attract the attention of the local police, who used their whips to disperse the baying mob. As this happened, like something from an Indiana Jones film, a horse and cart turned up ! .........so we all jumped on and as the cart gathered speed the crowd of chanting men tried to run after us, but couldn't keep up as we raced away.

We eventually made it back to the shopkeeper's place for safety, where shortly after our return the police turned up. Who were we, what were we doing, why? etc.   Phew, lucky escape. Knew we should have taken the advice in Cairo from the Egyptians......Don't go there.

Sadly didn't really get any photographs, too busy holding on to each other for our dear lives !

How long ago was this?

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Two photographer friends and I were chased out of Dasuq, an agricultural town in Egypt's Nile Delta region.

 

We were trying to experience the Moulid of Ibrahim al-Dusuqi, a sort of mystical Islamic ceremony mixed with a carnival, where all sorts of interesting characters would congregate.

But us three western men stood out like an iceberg in the desert. At night walking pass the beggars, the snake charmers, the cripples, the people in a trance, pass the big mosque and up and down the narrow alleyways, it was obvious that we weren't welcome, by all the evil stares and hissing that was directed at us. Gradually a large build up of smiling men with big eyes and chanting 'go home' were following us, turning in to a frenzied mob. Our hearts were pounding.

A local shopkeeper who had taken us under his wing earlier in the day (and gave us space for sleeping) realised that he'd better get us out of there, managed to attract the attention of the local police, who used their whips to disperse the baying mob. As this happened, like something from an Indiana Jones film, a horse and cart turned up ! .........so we all jumped on and as the cart gathered speed the crowd of chanting men tried to run after us, but couldn't keep up as we raced away.

We eventually made it back to the shopkeeper's place for safety, where shortly after our return the police turned up. Who were we, what were we doing, why? etc.   Phew, lucky escape. Knew we should have taken the advice in Cairo from the Egyptians......Don't go there.

Sadly didn't really get any photographs, too busy holding on to each other for our dear lives !

How long ago was this?

 

 year 2003.

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Thanks for all your stories! 

 

We'll be picking our favourites and posting them on the blog today. We'll share a link when it's ready.

 

Cheers

 

Alamy

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Looks good. Thanks for including me.

 

I would have believed Jeff's story if it weren't for the lions having Scottish accents (but I'm not calling him a lair).

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Round the back of the airport I was wandering and looking for photo opportunities. A 4x4 came to an abrupt halt on the other side of the road and the guy shouted me over. "Is that your silver car down the farm road by the airport?" he says. "Yes mate it is" I said. "Well the cops are about to tow it away, jump in." We spun round and he raced me back to my car. Sure enough there were the cops on their radios. What I hadn't noticed when parking at the edge of the single track farm road was a sign on the airfield perimeter fence warning that no parking was allowed next to the fence. Apparently though if I had parked on the opposite side, (single track remember) a mere 12 feet or so I would have been perfectly legal. I made my apologies and gave my thanks to the friendly driver who saved me from a long walk and an impounded car. As it turned out the 4x4 driver was the farmer of the adjacent land and he said it happened frequently and if I was ever back that way I was to park up at his farm house. I think I owe him. On the plus side I did get a sale from the resultant pictures. :)

Edited by Sultanpepa

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