Your most exciting/terrifying moment? at

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Old December 23rd, 2008, 05:12 PM   #1
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Your most exciting/terrifying moment?

In order to "get that shot" we sometimes do things that in hindsight appear crazy or was at that moment the most exciting and rewarding thing you ever did. What was that moment for you?

For me, it was when we were shooting a documentary of Kilauea volcano. We crossed a LIVE lava flow! Fortunately we had a park ranger with us and he knew what he was doing (I think.) As we crossed the smoldering field, he told us to avoid the silvery/red portions of the lava as it was still liquid inside. And he said "if your shoes start to smoke, just follow me but keep walking fast."

We scampered across 100 yards of the flow to get back to our van. There were tourists there at the edge of the flow watching us and I was wondering if we were going to end up on CNN Headline News. When it was over, I was dripping, but I don't know if it was from the heat or because I pissed in my pants.
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 08:24 PM   #2
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My most terrifying moment wasn't really that dangerous to me. It just seemed like it. I am deathly afraid of heights. The Discovery Channel was doing a show on the demolition of the WW II and Viet Nam era aircraft carrier, the USS Oriskany. It was sunk as an artificial reef off of the coast of Florida. But before it could become a reef a lot of the content of the old ship and it's hazardous materials were removed here in Corpus Christi. I was part of the crew covering the departure of the ship from Corpus Christi as it was being towed to Florida. At one point the Oriskany had to go under an old lift bridge. Somehow, I got elected to be the cameraman who shot the Oriskany passing under the lift bridge. I was so terrified that I bet I left my handprints in the railing. BTW shortly after that it was found that the huge rollers that controlled the counterbalance weights and the bridge platform were cracked and the lift bridge could have failed at any time. I was part of the crew that taped the demolition of the bridge, also.
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 10:39 PM   #3
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my moment was in Orrissa , India; where we were doing an episode on the Nuliya fishermen.. These people use their hand made rafts (4x6) held together with fishing lines. And we used these to venture out a couple km into the Indian Ocean in search for mackerel... with camera gear...

THat was something
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Old December 29th, 2008, 02:47 PM   #4
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Most terrifying moment for me was climbing up a Water Tank 200 feet up in the air coz director wanted a shot of the farm ( we were shooting a chicken farm) up high. I was clinging for dear life Big U-matic camera strapped to my body. Climbing up was the easy part, going down was even scarier.

It still makes me shiver to this day just thinking about it.
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Old December 29th, 2008, 04:14 PM   #5
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Not terrifying but very hard to deal with. Two days after Katrina leveled the Mississippi coast I went up in a copter to video the total devastation of lower Mississippi. I look at the clips now and still cannot believe how bad it was. Bob
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Old December 30th, 2008, 11:54 AM   #6
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Momentary "icy shock" running through me as I heard the words from the pilot over the jolly green rescue chopper intercom,

"OK, done with the photos. Let's go see if we can find some war somewhere".

DaNang VietNam 1970. My C.O. needed some aerial photos of our operations compound on DaNang AB for a report. Turned out the rescue outfit also needed some of their helipad and ops area. So the two made a deal, Lt. Col. Oliver put me up for loan (we didn't have a unit photographer so I was it as an "extra duty") and the rescue outfit supplied a jolly green and crew.

There I was strapped in a door gunner's harness so I could actually lean out a bit, with a Mamiya Press Universal partially secured by neckstrap, and an intercom headset and mic so I could give the pilot instructions. I got the necessary photos in about 15 minutes time over each compound and then the pilot asked if I was done.

"Yes, sir."

Then those momentarily chilling words. See, I was supposed to be working comm gear on the ground, relatively safe except from incoming mortar and 122mm ChiCom rocket fire. And here I am still in the door gunner's harness while we go low over jungle with nothing deadlier in my hands than a medium format press camera.

Well, actually after the initial surprise of not heading right back to the landing pad it was kind of fun. We found no war, I don't think the pilot was really looking for any, after some "sightseeing over jungle" we flew over DaNang harbor and I got a few neat shots of the hospital ship out there.

And a few years ago the aerial photos I took of the 6924th Scty Sq ops compound that day surfaced on the heritage website for the unit.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 02:31 AM   #7
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As a news photographer there were lots of moments where I was concerned for my safety: Someone threatened me when I was photographing the scene of a hand grenade attack. Another time, I was approached by a guy in a seedy part of town and I thought he was hiding a weapon behind him. Both times I was getting mentally ready to pound the heck of of them with my Nikon if they made a move to attack me. Fortunately the first guy had to go attend to his car whose tires were flattened by the grenade fragments. And the second guy excused himself after he became bored with me after 10 minutes of chit-chat. Apparently he was schitzophrenic and I started to talk to him at length about his medical condition.

But the most memorable was riding out hurricane Iniki on Kauai. I thought the building's roof was going to rip off at any moment, and we ended up dead center in the storm. It sounded like every tree, shrub and grassy field were being ripped right off the face of the earth. Wire-reinforced glass windows had shattered in the adjacent room, injuring a few people with flying glass. Water was being driven in through every crevice in the place. And a sheet of aluminum roofing had wedged itself into an alcove outside where I had been hunkering down 20 minutes earlier, waiting to get a shot of a parked truck that looked like it was going to roll over.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 10:10 AM   #8
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Nothin quite so dangerous as some of you have done but a couple of things stick out.......i was doin some aerial photography in a light aeroplane and when i turned up at the air field i saw the guys pull the oldest and smallest looking plane out a garage with no wings on it and they then proceeded to bring the wings out next and attach them to the plane with what looked like big rubber bands, while i was in the air i opened the door and hung half my body out with my xl1s and the pilot banked so i was lookin straight down with nothin else holdin me than the harness.

Another time i was approached by a guy who said he was about to attack me cause my steadicam arm i was carrying looked lik a gun.

But One of the most fun or memorable days was racing round knock hill circuit with Gordon Sheddon the touring car driver,

I also had the privillage of meeting and shaking hands with Collin Mcrae the world ralley champion about a month before the horrific helilicopter crash that claimed him and his son (sad day for scotland).

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DP: "same place as the music" -Andrew Lesnie-
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 04:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Andy Graham View Post
sad day for scotland.
Sad day for race fans everywhere.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 04:29 PM   #10
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I had to shoot an emergency helicopter landing for a local hospital television commercial. There was a short fence surrounding the landing area so I thought it would be good if I stood on a ladder so the fence didn't get in the way, and I wanted to stand right next to the fence with the camera at full-wide so the action would be more in-your-face. Bad idea....

When the helicopter came down for a landing the wind from the rotors literally blew me off the ladder! I kept the camera from hitting the ground, but I landed right on my butt. The helicopter pilot thought it was pretty funny. He told me there was 125 mph winds that hit me.
Sony EX3, Canon 5D MkII, Chrosziel Matte Box, Sachtler tripod, Steadicam Flyer, Mac Pro, Apple/Adobe software - 20 years as a local videographer/editor
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Old January 4th, 2009, 06:36 PM   #11
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I was in the Philippines after the revolution in early '88 and was shooting an assignment for the World Herald up in the mountains near Binowee. I'll make a long story short, had an M16 shoved into the side of my head. They (possibly communists, possibly not) had stopped a bus and were investigating the passengers. They wanted my film and I refused. Nothing like the barrel of a gun upside your head to make you rethink the rest of your life. They didn't get the film and we returned to Manilla without further incident.
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Old January 4th, 2009, 11:39 PM   #12
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Hanging out the open side of a helicopter, held in with duct tape, in -85 degree weather in the arctic (wind/altitude corrected). The batteries on the XL1 lasted about 5 minutes in that weather. The camera worked perfectly.

Find the story, and pictures, here:

Definitely the most exciting.
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