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SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: The flying photographer Fiasco

I have been a photographer for more than 20 years. Photo assignments have taken me on many great and exciting adventures. I have floated down rivers in Africa capturing close ups of hippos, crocodiles and elephants. I have visited remote villages where nationals prepared meals in primitive stone ovens and children played with toys made of sticks. These images have been forever frozen in time as I snapped their photo in the blink of an eye.

Being at the right place at the right time is the key to great photography. Photography is more than a spectator sport; it is about being a part of the action but without influencing the outcome.

I like to give my audience perspectives they rarely experience or perceive. Gaining just the right angle takes work. Anyone can snap a shutter, but the ability of a photographer to anticipate action while capturing incredible passion and emotion takes talent. Passive, idle picture taking is fine for vacations, but telling a story with a photograph takes commitment and skill.

Taking photographs can be life threatening at times. On one occasion, I failed to buckle my seatbelt while attempting aerial photography from a helicopter. We had removed the doors from the helicopter so I could lean out over the body of the aircraft in order to gain realistic images. I was grateful that at 100 feet off the landing pad the pilot reminded me that it might be a good idea to buckle up!

During another photo shoot, I was given permission to roam the roof of a seven-story building. Using a spotter proved wise. I failed to realize how close I was getting to the edge of the building. The spotter gave me a nudge. A half-step more and I would have been flat as a pancake. The photos on the way down may have been interesting but hardly worth the ultimate sacrifice.

Obtaining the perfect camera angle doesn’t always come easy. During a recent prayer meeting, I made the decision to stand atop a table to capture a creative perspective. As I did, the table reared like a bucking bronco. Sensing certain doom, I negotiated the table back to a level position. Unfortunately, the table threw me like a loose shoe on wild a donkey.

I lunged at a chair in an effort to break my fall. My right foot found refuge on the back of a seat as my left foot did its best to find footing on the seat of the chair. Like a surfer riding a wave, it was all good until the water came crashing down. Needless to say, the prayer meeting was interrupted with my flying photographer fiasco.

Proverbs 11:2 immediately came to mind, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Some of life’s biggest lessons come from the most humbling of circumstances. Teach me Lord. Teach me before I hurt myself or someone else!

Author: Ray Sanders

View more articles by Ray Sanders.

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