Let’s Be Careful Out There A shutterbug

Let’s Be Careful Out There

A shutterbug is washed out to sea by a sudden wave, while precariously perched on a precipice during a raging storm. Another is mauled by a grizzly after snapping a close up of its cub. We’ve all heard stories of photographers putting themselves in harm’s way just to get a shot. I, however, choose not to go out like that – opting instead to place my equipment in the line of fire. Of course, I don’t want to lose that either, but I’m pretty sure it would be a little easier to get another camera than another me.

During the fall, I like to head out to the Thain Family Forest in The New York Botanical Garden. The autumn colors are especially brilliant around the Bronx River that runs directly through it. One of the best vantage points is from Hester Bridge which spans the river near a small waterfall. Some of the most interesting scenes are located almost directly below this 100-year-old, camelback structure. I like to compose shots of the colorful, overhanging foliage with the river raging beneath. I could just lean over the side of the bridge and hand-hold the camera to take the shot, but I wouldn’t get a soft, silky look in the water. That requires a longer exposure that can only be done with a tripod. My tripod is specifically designed for outdoor work with independently adjustable legs, so that it can be securely positioned on even the most rugged of terrain. Somehow, I don’t think the manufacturer considered the edge of a bridge as a “terrain.” Nevertheless, that’s exactly where I had to place it to get these shots. With one leg on the bridge, another braced against its stone retaining wall and the other free-hanging out over the edge, it wasn’t exactly secure, but stable enough to support the camera. After attaching the camera to the center-post, I extended it far out over the edge – hoping that my quick-release mechanism wouldn’t suddenly decide to release.

I don’t remember what the exact exposure times were for these photos, but they were probably around a half second. Normally, I’d use a longer time to get a silkier look to the water, but I didn’t want to risk having the leaves blur out. Although calm, the winds were still noticeable. A longer exposure would not have maintained the necessary sharpness in the majority of the leaves.

It’s easy to get lost while photographing the beauty of fall…just remember to stay safe to avoid a nasty fall while doing it.

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F.M. Kearney is a fine art nature photographer, specializing in unique floral and landscape images. To see more of his work, please visit http://www.starlitecollection.com.
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