when reality bites


After being so involved on the technical side of photography I thought I’d switch tracks and share a recent experience. I think this demonstrates why we must prepare for the unexpected when going out to shoot.

In this instance I was trying to capture images of a waterfall, becomingly increasingly bombarded by a swarm of flies. Although the bugs were an annoying distraction I was not aware how bad it was until fleeing the situation - racing back to my car I noticed exposed area of my legs (I was wearing shorts…) were covered in bloody welts. This was unfortunately typical of other exposed areas like the arms and neck, both unprotected by my T-shirt.

In retrospect this sounds like bad planning, but in fairness to myself I HAD covered my body with bug & tick spray for an earlier hike through woods that day, and in scouting the area only two hours beforehand there was no significant presence of bugs.

Unfortunately as I now understand the longer you stay in a location the more bugs you will attract. As my subject was a waterfall I had planned to spend an amount of time, testing various compositions and shutter speeds - whilst at first the bugs didn’t appear bad by the end I was doing all I could to ward them off as I was trying to shoot.

So….. lesson learned. Even if you feel there is not an immediate need be fully prepared for the environment you expect to be shooting in - whether that be bug infested, in extreme heat cold or whatever. f a shot is worth taking it is worth taking the time to ensure you can devote your full attention.

As for those pesky flies….. I’m still itching days after the shoot. I’ve never seen it so bad in Vermont but I’ll be better prepared in future.

Following is a first edit of one of the images taken at that time. Was it worth the suffering?