Sacrificing my body

Good photographers are willing to do whatever it takes to get their photo. Broken lenses and broken legs sometimes go with the territory.

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A photographer’s world can be a dangerous one. Notice the people charging down the boardwalk that might easily trample and injure me!

I don’t want to make too big a deal of it but there have been times when I’ve punished the old body, all in the pursuit of an image. It reminds me of one particular time in Yellowstone National Park when we were looking at geyser activity.

I could have stood on the boardwalk or comfortably sat on the nearby bench and got pretty good photos. But I’m willing to make sacrifices to improve my photography. I went all in.

You will see from the photo above that I chose to lie all the way down on the boardwalk. I assure you it was hard, dirty and uncomfortable. I must have hung in there for seconds, punishing my body, as I took a few photos. The fake boards were unforgivingly hard, I felt a few muscles getting a little tired and I may even have felt a little heat rising from the geyser. My wife might have had to help me up to save me from that difficult spot. It really was awful!

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After all that excitement, the resulting photo seemed almost anti-climatic.

Luckily I escaped that dangerous position before I suffered any long-term effects. I hate to think what might have happened. I could have been stepped on or trampled by people walking by, got a little stiff or some steam from the geyser might have wafted right into my face. Thankfully there didn’t seem to be any long-term consequences but I keep checking just in case.

Of course I was happy to do it all, and who knows, if the right opportunity arose in the future, I might even rustle myself off the park bench again.

After getting tricked into backpacking 75 grueling kms on the West Coast Trail in Canada nearly a decade ago, I vowed to only take pictures from the truck at the end of that exhausting experience. Now look how far I’ve come!

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Looking out over this scene seemed completely surreal. What planet were we exploring again?

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Latest Comments

  1. Sreejith Nair says:

    If we get a great shot, the joy we get, compensates for all the hard work done 🙂 Right?

    Like

  2. artsifrtsy says:

    Sometimes you just gotta make sacrifices for your art 🙂

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  3. rickfurmanek says:

    Been in that very spot … several times. 🙂

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  4. Mike Powell says:

    I love your other-worldly photos and your warning about the dangers of boardwalks. I face that danger on a regular basis, hanging over the edge to get photos of frogs and birds at my local marsh. I haven’t yet fallen in headfirst and nobody has stepped on me, but I did walk off the edge once while trying to get a better angle on a hawk in a tree. Fortunately it was not a long drop and some bushes cushioned my fall. Nothing was bruised except my ego (my first reaction was to look around and make sure that nobody saw my fall–only then did I check to see that I was ok).
    Your bravery and flexibility are commendable and it’s nice to see that you were wearing eye protection–safety first. I wondered how much hiking you did with your big lens, but your last paragraph suggests that you don’t do it much.
    I an beginning to think that there is a marketing opportunity to create a fitness program for photographers. It would have to involved lots of neck stretches, flexibility training for situations like yours, and strength training for lugging all of our gear.

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    • Lyle Krahn says:

      In your haste to look around for other people’s reactions, you may have forgotten something. The hawk was probably sitting back and having a good chuckle about the whole thing:)

      It’s really easy to get focused on the subject and forget about the world around us. I can definitely see myself falling off a board walk as well though I was pretty cautious in this case given the temperature of what I’d be falling into!

      I have bought myself a back pack for my long lens and have been wanting to venture out an use it a lot more. Unfortunately my mobility has been quite restricted by foot issues so I’ve had to be content with sticking closer to a vehicle. That fitness program sounds good – as long as it’s not too hard core.

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  5. rickbraveheart says:

    A body in pain from doing strange contortions with the camera, extensive bug bites, dirty or ripped pants, and sad to say, occasional broken lenses are all the sign of a dedicated professional photographer and, one who gets amazing shots, Lyle. Your stunning and involving images, Lyle, are beautiful proof of your willingness to do whatever it takes to capture and share beauty. And for those reasons and more, you are a great joy to know and to follow.

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    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I’m thankful that I haven’t broken a lens yet though I’ve come dangerously close and fully expect it to happen. It’s surprising how many obstacles can get in the way of getting what looked to be a reasonably straight forward shot. I’m sure you have some amazing and painful stories given all the places you’ve been. I’m glad you like the shots. Honestly it was such a strange place, it was hard to know what to shoot since it all looked interesting.

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      • rickbraveheart says:

        I can’t remember last when I was able to make a straight forward shot 🙂 One of the benefits, however, is that all that crawling around, climbing trees/hills for a better perspective, or hiking long distances to get better light on a subject sure does lots to keep us in better shape! You and I should get together and write a book on this subject!

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  6. Jocelyne says:

    I got at least 30 mosquitoes bites in just a few minutes this summer when I lay on grasses to photograph a flower… People who see us laying like that must think we’re crazy ! Looking at these photos, it was certainly worth all the pain you had to endure, the photos are really beautiful. The first photo of the geyser looks as if it was taken on planet Mars 🙂

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    • Lyle Krahn says:

      You’re definitely right about the mosquitoes which really can be quite a force in SK – they have successfully altered my plans a few times. Glad you enjoyed the other worldly photos. It really did feel like Mars sometimes.

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  7. westerner54 says:

    I’m with ya…every time I kneel down to get that perfect shot I’m totally aware of the awful risk I’m taking, but I do it anyway. We are brave souls.

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  8. janeslog says:

    Meant to add that these are great photos.

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  9. janeslog says:

    I take a lot of sports photos and this can be dangerous. One thing I take is a yellow safety waistcoat which roadworkers wear. I wear it so people see me better and don’t collide with me.

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  10. Gunta says:

    Getting up is so much harder these days. Perhaps I need a larger dog to drag me into an upright position. I seem to think twice about getting down on the ground lately. So very frustrating.

    Like

  11. Honie Briggs says:

    You put your whole self into your work, and it shows. Nice shot. Stay safe.

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  12. Mind Margins says:

    My daughter, who was a park ranger at Yellowstone for several summer seasons, has many tales to tell of really dumb photographers sacrificing their eyeballs and other body parts for perfect shots of bison and grizzlies. I’m happy for your photos of geyser pools and boardwalks! And long live telephoto lenses!

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    • Lyle Krahn says:

      That must have been a great experience for her. I found the rangers there to be quite good – they allowed people to view animals while providing helpful information but kept the animals and people safe. I heard some horror stories regarding the not-so-bright tourists. Listening to her stories would be fascinating. And yes I really like my long lens.

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  13. mrsbearfoot says:

    Just seeing these images brings back the memories of the sulfur vapors! Oh yeah, the gorgeous scenery and wildlife, too! 🙂 Fabulous place, isn’t it? Never enough visits there.
    ~Lindy

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    • Lyle Krahn says:

      The fascinating thing was there were so many different areas that were completely different providing many different photo opportunities. I was happy that we went there off season to avoid the legendary crowds.

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  14. whichwaynow101 says:

    Got to love the Yellowstone planet.

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  15. Mandy says:

    The photo from the boardwalk reminds me of satellite shots. You really could be photographing a different planet.

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  16. melodylowes says:

    Ah, the pursuit of excellence does tend to get a little dirty now and then…. Great shot of the mighty photographer brought low! 😉

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  17. MikeW says:

    That’s a great photo. It looks like the walk you’re on is miles above a planet rived with rivers, deltas, sands, and swamp. That brackish area looks like an aerial shot.

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    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Your description is not too different than what it felt like being there. With the steam coming and going it was rather surreal. Perhaps it was sensory overload but it was hard to know what to take a photo of since there was so much that was interesting.

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  18. tobygant says:

    Agreed, Lyle. On one of my last outings I waded through ice cold water that was almost knee-deep just to gain a better perspective on my subject. (And it was absolutely worth it. Whatever it takes to get the shot!)

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  19. Phil Lanoue says:

    It’s been my experience that the getting down in some of those positions is the easy part. It’s the struggle to get up after that can cause uncomfortable complications to set in.

    Like

  20. anotherday2paradise says:

    What devotion and fortitude, Lyle. I didn’t go into the lying down position at Yellowstone. I couldn’t even bend, because I was too frozen with the extreme cold. 🙂

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  21. mflahertyphoto says:

    Oh the things we do! You know in that position Lyle, a chipmunk could have run right up your pants leg!

    Like

  22. Dana S. Hugh says:

    How amazing is your passion for photography?! Thank you for my first view over a geyser. Indeed surreal, I couldn’t imagine what is that…and gotta say you have nice shoes.

    Like

  23. Jeff | Planet Bell says:

    You are my new hero. Seeing you sacrifice for your photos should be an inspiration to us all! Great things only come to those who are willing to go the extra mile. I think that photo of you on the boardwalk should be on posters hung in classrooms to inspire kids.

    Like

  24. caleephotography says:

    It’s worth it when you get such great results!!

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  25. 1107photography says:

    You are too funny. Your posts always bring a smile to my face! So glad we have connected. 🙂

    Like

  26. Adeline Berg says:

    Poor, poor Lyle! But awesome photos!!!

    Like

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