The hazards in the life of a naturephotographer

Amateur or professional alike – naturephotographers sometimes need to make choices like “it’s the image worth the risk“. Well, yesterday I had a really nice image in view… all I needed to do was to take an extra step out on the ice of the rapid/creek…

Cold water

Cold water

Maybe this is what’s seperates the professional from the amateur – the pro realizes there will come more opportunites and makes the safe choice, the amateur thought is “what the hell, let’s do it“. Or is it a distinction between techphotograper (expensive camera) or retrophotographer (with manual cheap lenses, like myself) – I can risk the gear without financial ruin in sight. Whatever the reasons, I decided to take the chance when I stood there besides the creek. Mantra: “The snow and ice will hold my weight. The snow and ice will hold my weight [...]

Icefester

Icefester

As you might have guessed by now the snow and ice did NOT hold my weight. The flowing, icecold water was filling my pants up to the waist. Panic. “Quick, get up, take another step!“. The snow and ice dont hold the weight of the next step either. Eventually I ofcourse get up on the side. Just to realize I’m on the wrong side of the creek and there’s no way out (impossible cliffs and forest). WTF. Nothing else to do, I need to get in the water again and wade over to the right side.

Time to wade

Time to wade

Just a note: It is still wintertime where I live in Sweden. The ground is covered in snow. Paths and roads is covered with ice. I don’t have a drivers license. I have a bicycle. Which is ok in the wilderness, unless you are wet and it’s below freezing temperature. The road is downhill and covered with ice… where cars have made tracks. Bicyclewheels get stuck in tracks and throw you out in the ditch sometimes. Oh, and it’s getting dark. No battery in the headlight.

Well, I’m going to stop there. Lets just say my saturday was eventfull, haha! ;)

Learning from the trip:

  • Not to step on snow if your’e not sure whats beneath (on the other hand I already knew this ;) ).
  • Bring dry pants… and underwear… maybe even shoes.
  • Bring a polarizer when shooting a creek sourrounded by snow.
  • The Pentacon 50mm/1.8 is underestimated.
  • Spring will be nice… come dear spring, come.

4 Responses in “The hazards in the life of a naturephotographer”

  1. I think that you have been quite lucky to be able to get back to home safe.

    New time you could bring a monopod or tripod, and use it as an “arm extender”, holding it as horizontal as you can.
    Holding it steady will be relatively difficult, and focusing will be tricky (options: select a wide enough DOF or if your camera is able to, you might want to use focus trap), and you’ll have to find a way to fire the camera (remote, wired remote, self timer).

    Anyhow, even if this might be hard for “horizontal extension” this would have been perfectly safe. “Vertical extension” is easier to hold, and sometimes provides some interesting shooting angles.

  2. Mattias says:

    Thanks for the tip, however I needed the angle from the other side of the river and my tripod wasn’t that long ;)

  3. Richard Nuttall says:

    I dont know whether to laugh or cry Mattias, its funny the way you tell it but having sailed in the Baltic at this time of year, I realise that it was no picnic, and its good to see you got home alive! The only blessing is that it was not salt water so your gear should be ok if it dries out, and yes the Pentacon 50/1.8 is indeed very underated, its a great lens, and its also a bit like a Zenit camera, it will survive the apocalypse along with the insects, and laughs at cold water. Stay in and keep warm and I hope all goes well

  4. Mattias says:

    Thanks, I feel ok :)

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