Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Luna, Nov 5, 2007.
I read up once on a guy who photographed these abandoned "ghost" towns in the southwest. He always carried a piece, because he said he was never sure who he might run into, or who might not want him there. I've thought about doing the same when shooting in the ghetto if a police escort isn't available.
I feel kinda unsafe when taking photos in Iraq.
The locations I've shot that scare me are when there is traffic. I think of one thing continuously -keep your head cranking- Never stop watching traffic.
I've shot a lot of ghost town and remote locations. I've walked up on a camp where the dad saw me coming and strapped on a weapon. Nice guy, told me where to find some copper mine ruins in the hills beyond his camp.
Yesterday (Sunday) I hiked 3 miles into the backcountry to a gold mine. I came into a camp with about 12 young backpackers. Not a problem- I didn't chat it up too much and found out the mine was 200' down and scrambling boulders was required.
Although I liked the idea that they said they were coming down behind me, I've been in rougher terrain solo. I would have gone down even if they weren't there. I'm just extremely careful and aware of what could happen. However, I've been doing this stuff alone for years and years. I also believe that every American has the right to die in the wilderness. No recommendations though, other than take a friend. I've never had the need or desire to have a gun.
I was shooting a dry lake bed once when a guy came up behind me with a shotgun. He was a local and I just held my hands open, walked up to him slowly and talked to him about what I was doing. He was cool. He told me where I could go to find turquoise.
There are a few other times, but my point is that carrying a side arm would, in my estimation, have aggravated the situation possibly into something worse. My time is my time. I just try not to be lame about it.
I stay to myself out there. But if I can't reasonably avoid someone, I'm open-handed and friendly. Always smile and say 'hi' to anyone you meet on the trail.
I've shot some abandoned buildings where it occured to me that if I fell, it would be a looong cold weekend before anyone found me. I'm comfortable in the city though.
I do a lot of nature hiking with my camera. I generally try to read up on the terrain and area before I leave, so I can sort of gauge what the conditions are beforehand. The only thing I really worry about are snakes, since you don't see them sometimes until you are right on top of them and they are the most dangerous thing we have in most of the areas I visit.
Other than that, I don't really worry a lot. If I visit someplace like an abandoned barn or house, I generally try to check out the area and if there is a house nearby will go up and see if I can track down the owner, just so they know what I am doing there and won't be disturbing (ie stealing) anything.
i was on the ground today while someone was chipping a ball over me.... i was scared
This came VERY close to happening to me twice..
Once I fell at an abandoned barn to the point that I could stand. I had to crawl all the way to my car to make it home. (It was a long way) It hurt so much I was in tears.
Another time, I decided to head into the deep woods with my Jeep looking for some long forgotten towns. I lost my clutch hydrolics just as I came out of the woods and reached the main access road. If it had happen just 40 minutes prior, I would have been SOL...
Both times... I forgot to tell someone where I was.. Both times.. my cell phone would not work. Yes.. I was dumb.
I'm much better prepared now a days.
Hand guns are generally illegal in Canada and most Canadians would not even consider carrying one for any reason. Although I grew up in hunting territory and am a very good shot, I have never carried a hand gun.
No reason to, and I have been alone out in the bush and in rough urban districts at night, in both English and French areas. I remember one piece of advice: "Don't look like a potential victim and you won't be treated like one by a potential predator." when in urban areas. In forest or jungle the rule is "Try to be a non-threatening part of the background" when close to dangerous animals.
One also has to be very much aware of the environment and not too narrowly focused on only a small part. When animals are moving you need to know where all of them are and not let anything dangerous get behind you.
The only answer to this question is that you should use your own dicretion. If at any of the locations you feel unsafe with your gear, don't go or bring along a friend.
Risk averse? Risk loving? I'm for the former.
I live in southern Mexico and generally feel safe. If I'm going to take photos late at night I prefer going with someone. I'm not worried about crooks but drunks can be a problem. If I go to an Indian village I try to be with someone I know who lives there. I simply don't know enough of the culture of the various villages to avoid problems.
I was in a village once and a woman called me a witch because a group of mean dogs seemed to like me. I laughed but my friend took it very seriously and explained to her neighbor that I wasn't a witch but simply got along well with dogs. Later she said it wasn't something to laugh about because people took witches seriously.
Sometimes ill park for 10 minutes before I get out,
Ill time how long it takes me to walk from one end of a location to the other
Ill note angles that are hidden from each side of approach
things like that to keep in mind so you can be safer.
be smart and deduce. If you know your 10 minutes in and nobody has
gone out since you entered you can rule out anyone coming in behind you
unless they were there or have a car. narrows down what kind of person it is. etc etc etc... just stuff to keep in mind.
the more I go out into urban/ghetto/industrial places at night I have learned there are only a few different types of people, ones like me, security, or bums/muggers. noone else has any motive to mess with you.
Security/cops uses lights, and other photogs just dont exist where I shoot
So, I dont allow dark figures to get near me, or I turn the light on them.
Sometimes it helps to take the mystery out of the anonymous night. by labeling people..
Separate names with a comma.