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.