We photographers are an odd bunch. We have a one track mind. All we think about is photography. In the car. At the office. On the toilet. Even while making sweet sweet... cookies in the kitchen, we're still thinking about potential photo locations or missions so we can briefly satisfy our insatiable desire for the next great photo. When we are in the midst of capturing the next great photo all common sense goes out the window. We are totally invested in the moment and all outside variables are ignored. We eagerly risk life and limb just to get the next stunning photo and would gladly do it a second time without a thought.
On my latest vacation to Cabo Mexico I made the effort to hike out of the comfortable confines of our resort for nearly 40 minutes both ways just to get to an incredible location which I had earlier scouted from the roadside while stopping to get fresh coconut juice from a vendor. I grossly underestimated the trek but fortunately I came prepared with towels and all the necessary photography equipment I would need to capture some stunning photos. After what seemed like forever I was soon approaching my goal location when I discovered an oblong object wash up on shore, a product of the wildly unpredictable Cabo tide. On closer inspection, the item in question was a recently decease blowfish carcass frozen in a state of perpetual bloatation. I had to get a photo of this little fella so I slung my camera bag to the side and set it in the sand beside my tripod. I laid my beach towel out a safe distance from the shore line and got down on my belly so I could get a cool perspective of my little corpse friend. I was snapping away, making small changes in composition with each frame and before I knew it, a large wave rapidly found its way on shore and engulfed me and my equipment in a sea of regret and consequence. Fortunately I saw the oncoming wave through my viewfinder and had just enough time to lift my camera to safety but, regrettably, my camera bag which contained other lenses, filters and accessories was left to endure the surge. My body was soaked and I was covered in a film on fine sand that wouldn't come off no matter how much I brushed it off. I soon realized the expanse of my foolishness when I remembered that my cellphone was in my front pocket, fully submerged in the foamy brine of the Sea of Cortez for a solid 5 seconds. Good thing I brought a beach towel to dry everything off. Nope, that was soaked too and now acted as an awkward 10 lbs. weight I had to drag with me or I would owe the resort $20 for a lost towel card.
I was easily looking at a few thousand dollars in damaged gear from a simple lapse of common sense but was I going to let that stop me? Hell no! I wasn't going to turn back now so I kept on trekking to my goal, soaking wet from head to toe, sand chafing in orifices where sand certainly doesn't belong. My equipment eventually cleaned up all right at the end of the day and is functioning fine now but occasionally I still catch a fine grain of sand here and there. Looking back, was the photo above worth the risk of damaging my equipment? Probably not? But regardless, we photographers don't think about the risk involved when we take photos. We keep our minds zeroed in on capturing that moment in history often without considering the consequences. Reckless? At times, yes? But every time we press that shutter button consider it a calculated risk.
What do you think about the photo above? Was the juice worth the squeeze? Make sure you check back tomorrow to see the photographs from the said location I was hiking out to... because if you ask me it was totally worth it.. but of course I'm quite biased.