They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Outdoor photographers say a picture is sometimes equivalent to damaged equipment, occasional bruises, or worse – broken limbs.
A viewer may marvel at a beautiful waterfall photo, the photographer may remember hours of trekking through muddy trails and leech infested streams. You may see serene coastal sunrise or sunset, I see bruises from sharp coral rocks, sunburn, and a camera nearly lost to the sea.
It’s always a challenge but somehow we keep on coming back. I think the challenge is not in the technical aspects of taking of the photo - sure we know how to use our filters and lenses and we are pretty much aware of how to maximize DOF in our landscapes by using the hyperfocal distance - the hard part is getting there and dealing with the elements (lucky you studio photographer!).
Last weekend’s trip to Pangasinan was great example. Everybody seemed to be going somewhere that Friday night, my friend Erick and I had trouble finding a (good) bus bound for either Alaminos or Dagupan. After checking out several bus stations, we finally found one - non aircon bus and last trip for the night. We had a great seat (eye roll), right at the end of the bus together with a rowdy crowd, piles of boxes and whatnots, and a rooster to boot. Yes, a rooster. Stuff like these scares the sandman away.
Five (no sleep) hours later, we arrived and met up with a group of friends in Dagupan and proceeded southwards to Dasol. This time transportation was upgraded, but there’s no time to get comfy, it’ll be sunrise in a few minutes. We stopped by an open beach lined with a broken sea wall and waited for the sun.
I would say lack of sleep sometimes makes you courageous (read: dumb) for I had foregone most of my usual precautions. I “courageously” went to a section where I thought where the waves are “tamer”. I was happily clicking away when a huge wave suddenly dumped a bucket of seawater on me. That’s when I realized the following: I have two phones in my pocket which are not “zip locked”, I forgot to put on the rain cover for my bag (which I should have left on the shore in the first place), and I had decided not to use my camera’s “rain coat” as well because I thought it was cumbersome. The feeling of elation at seeing great sunrise colors was replaced with pure panic – my camera is not exactly weather sealed (I’m sure my brother, who gave that camera as a gift after I had a “sea accident” with the previous one he gave, would say “what the hell?!?” when he reads this). As if to add insult to injury, I slipped on the way down.
So while the rest of my friends are fully immersed in capturing the beauty of sunrise that morning, I was there at the side, frantically cleaning my gears like a dog licking his wounds. I really thought everything’s damaged, but my some stroke of luck they weren’t (God bless you Sigma and Nikon engineers! – I wish I can say the same to the blokes of Canon hehehe). My phones survived, and so did the rest of my gears. I’ve gotten through the weekend and went home with some keepers.
Now you understand that while I’m happy to share my photos in my blog and photostreams in Facebook and Flickr, I say this to thieves who use them without permission: what the hell?!?!