Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fall Guy

Do We Always Find The Right Balance?

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


I had a very interesting email from Merisi, whose blog Vienna For Beginners recently achieved the milestone of 50,000 visitors. Merisi had a chuckle at the predicament I described in my Camera Critters post titled Lion Down On The Job Again. I mentioned that I had almost fallen flat on my face in order to get the exact camera angle I wanted while taking a shot in Chinatown, Montreal.

Merisi, who is always very quick on the uptake, asked me if I would care to share any funny experiences on the subject. I have to say I have never completely lost my balance while taking a photograph, but in no particular order a) I constantly walk out in the rain to take interesting shots; b) I once worked under an umbrella in pouring rain in Quebec City; c) I have often been seen lying prone on the grass to take a shot.

But fall on my butt? Nope. Not yet, at any rate. But if and when I do, you’ll be the first to hear about it. Fair dinkum.


However, I had an interesting experience in Montreal in 2005. I was at the World Trade Centre, a fascinating meld of ancient and modern architecture. I wanted to capture a shot of the beautiful reclining statue of Amphitrite, famous in mythology as Poseidon's wife. I was intrigued by how dark the water looked, even though it was broad daylight.

This was because of the roof structure and the height of the surrounds, but the soft, shimmering reflection of the surrounding lighting made the shot irresistible.


I took a few shots with a digital Pentax, but I wanted one final series of shots with my film-based Canon EOS 3000. So, with the camera slung around my neck, I stood up – in brave but foolhardy fashion - on the concrete parapet that surrounds the long, rectangular pool. I took a couple of quick shots, concentrating very hard on maintaining my balance.

But I am six foot three and so I have a fairly high centre of gravity. I also have size eleven feet, so I was very conscious of the fact that I needed to make sure they were firmly planted on the narrow ledge while I worked.

And then I almost came to grief. With my camera still held firmly to my eye, I crabbed sideways in a cautious shuffle to get a better angle and my foot slipped for one brief moment. I was never in danger, because I was literally inching along – but as you can see from this shot (above) my orientation was slightly askew. The camera was slightly off balance when I hit the shutter – so the horizontal orientation of the shot is slightly out of kilter.

It wasn’t until I got back to Melbourne that I realised something very interesting. A group of women office workers can be seen clearly in the windows depicted in the image below. They had obviously been watching me work – and were probably placing bets on how long it would take me to disgrace myself and fall head-first into the water.

18 comments:

Lana Gramlich said...

Lovely photos! I once dangled over a 100' drop by one arm to get a waterfall photo. I don't think I'd tempt the fates like that again, though!

joan said...

Great photos David. Looks like a lovely place to visit. I like the shot fo the women watching, I can just imagine them talking about it. Have a good one!

Tammy said...

The first picture is my favorite, very cool shot!

Hilary said...

Looks like they figured you'd make quite a splash.

BRUNO said...

You've got the "eye" for details, alright! I'd never noticed the onlookers to your "candid" performance, except for you pointing them out.

God, I can only wish now, to achieve the satisfaction of my "field of expertise" in the same way as YOU do YOURS! But, still---it takes all kinds to make the world go 'round.(Even if it IS "upside-down" for SOME of us...!)

Thanks for sharing your adventures with us all! I may not have been to all these places, but by golly, I CAN say that I've "seen" them.....!

Celebration of Life said...

You have a captive audience there, David! Have a great week!
Jo

Katney said...

Oh, the lengths we will go. But that is one lenght I will not go--I will not stand on a narrow high place to take a picture. I have, however, succeeded in standing in high places that are seemingly secure to do so.

And today I was lying on my back on the sidewalk.

dot said...

That is so funny! You should have blown them a kiss just after you snapped their picture.

diane said...

Great story David. And all the women looking out the window just gives me the biggest laugh!

Vic Grace said...

That was a great story and great photograph too

Seamus said...

Sometimes the best shots come from the most incongruous and awkward (bordering insane) positions. :)

Merisi said...

And there I was, worried for a moment that your camera had fallen into the relecting pool! I should have known better, a photographer like you would take any fall, just to save the camera, wouldn't you? *giggles*

I did fall on my back once, though I can proudly report that I not only held my camera up high while falling, but shot the laughing onlookers while sitting there on the floor. I had been trying to capture a poster on the outside of a cafe', crouching to get a better angle (what else?), and was wearing a warm thick coat, which made for a softer landing. The onlookers were sitting inside, having coffee, with a sideshow. ;-)

I managed to lose a camera once, hitting a fence at a building site, and last week I flew into some of the most beautiful rose bushes imaginable (giving thereby a whole new meaning to "stop and smell the roses"). In Venice last February, I was sort of arr..., oh well, I don't want to highjack all of the comment section here ...

May you all have a fall free day out there, with or without a camera! Remember: It's the way the image turns out that counts, not the falls you take to capture it. ;-)

Merisi said...

I meant to write "reflecting" pool, sorry.

Corey~living and loving said...

OH how I loved this post David. I just know I'll be doing something embarrassing one of these days. actually so far, making really loud snorting noises to grab an 18 month old Sugar bear's attention at the park for photos has been a tad embarrassing, but I'm willing to sacrifice for a good photo. :)
have a great week.

willow said...

The women in the office above are the best!! :)

Sandy Kessler said...

haha and would they jump in and help ??-/

Indrani said...

I enjoyed reading this. Here when I walk around taking shots, people stare at me.

stepping over the junk said...

this makes me grin.