Landscape Photographers and your Safety

paulrpaulr Posts: 1,175Member
edited October 2013 in General Discussions
Do we ever consider our safety when we do our Photography? We spend time protecting our equipment against damage and I am sure most of us have been in the predicament where an item of equipment as been travelling to the ground or rocks only to be saved by the photographer plunging down to save their equipment with little thought for himself.
Landscape Photographers are renowned for solo trips {Me included} where they go to area's where it appear's no other human as tread. This is part of the joy and remoteness and solitude which are part of the Landscape Photographers Remit.

Do we ever consider that if an accident were to occur, how would we let the outside world know and receive appropriate rescue services. Ok we all carry mobile phones, however its Sod's Law that when you need to make that rare emergency call, the mobile telephone is not receiving a signal.

Answer Go Satellite, There are now companies who supply small transmitters which send a signal to a satellite giving your exact position, this is not new, but now they work with you phone through Bluetooth, so you can actually send a message. No cell is required for you mobile, the transmissions, just uses your phone for communication. by Bluetooth, So apart from SOS calls, less urgent none life threatening calls { I should say, Texts can be made}
Injury is perhaps something you only consider as you get older, yet I know that wherever I am travelling alone with my camera in a remote area I have the assurance that if something happened, help is just the press of a button away. Comforting thought.
Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
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Comments

  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    Can I just suggest, before getting such a device you give some though as to who you expect to come a rescue you



  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,030Moderator
    I have recently heard of the service you describe, and it does make a great deal of sense to me too. I once got disorientated in the Appalachians during a blizzard and was completely lost for about 75 minutes. During that time I got a heads up as to the feeling of being out of reach of other people with the possibilities of injury ever present. Of course no mobile signal in that area. I am sure there are plenty of people here with more extreme tales too.

    @sevencrossing: The service has contact details for a wide ranging network of rescue services.
    Always learning.
  • sidewayssideways Posts: 54Member
    As a lifelong hiker - usually in company but solo as and when I want to, I can imagine no greater shame than to call on the rescue services to dig my ass out of a mess which would ALWAYS have it's root cause in my own error of judgement. Being prepared is absolutely to be praised, but If you are seriously considering spending on satellite tech as a backup, perhaps you should be considering whether you should be there alone in the first place.

    Now let me tell you about the time I was navigating a charter yacht and the radio navigation failed on me 3 times in a row ... What happens when you slip and the same rock that breaks your leg smashes the beacon ?

    Sorry to be negative, this is just a bit of a hobbyhorse with me. It's better to be prepared than not, but the topic raises a few issues ^^
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,175Member
    Sevencrossing, I use Spot and for a fee of $11 00 they give a world
    Can I just suggest, before getting such a device you give some though as to who you expect to come a rescue you

    I use spot For a Fee of $11 00 per year you get a cover of £100,000 rescue service worldwide

    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,175Member
    edited October 2013
    Sideways, You're absolutely right Preparation and common sense are basic elements of safety, However having worked in the French Alps and Scotland has a Ski Patroller and a rescuer, the times I have seen casualties totally unprepared is quite worrying. Sadly there is a serious lack of education in the subject of Safety, by Tour Operators when selling holidays. It's a common belief that accidents happen to other people and never them, I think anything that can help injured casualties contact emergency services is a good thing providing the service is not abused, As to the scenario you have described well bad luck is just bad luck. Nothing can cover all accidents. I just think for the price of good set of walking boots the system is a good backup for an service you hope you will never need.
    Post edited by paulr on
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  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    paulr
    I use spot For a Fee of $11 00 per year you get a cover of £100,000 rescue service worldwide

    Call me cynical but the EXCLUSIONS are pretty compressive

    SPOT is not Thunderbirds :) its just an insurance policy that might pay out after the event

  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,175Member
    Sevencrossing Is that not true of all Insurance Companies, they will lend you an Umbrella until it Rains!
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,030Moderator
    We are not talking about the twits that go hill walking in city clothes and shoes or any other lack of preparation here, we are really talking about A-C-C-I-D-E-N-T-S.

    The first time I saw that bumper sticker 's#*t happens' was back in the eighties and I thought 'euw - how vulgar' but then I was in my twenties so what did I know? Life has taught me that you can be OCD about everything but s#*t does happen to some extent sooner or later and that as you get older it is not always so easy to recover from it so before I go off to the north pole I will get me that satellite phone and subscribe to the service.

    Speaking as somebody who has regularly navigated a fast motor boat between continents out of site of land at night in all weathers - a practice that requires maximum preparation and yet is still open to accidents.
    Always learning.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited October 2013
    First, I generally do not like anyone around when I am shooting photos...it is such an intensive self absorbing experience I prefer to just be focused on the project. Having said this, in the vast majority of commercial shots I have had fairly large crews...up to seven or eight, which includes clients, art directors, grips, sales reps, model director, and sometimes others. So, I can focus in a crowd. My forte was to be able to direct the traffic, so to speak.

    Thus, I would suggest when one is venturing into an area where accidents could be life threatening, the "buddy system" is utilized. Someone who is not in danger, can go for help, etc.when an unfortunate incident occurs. This also applies when in other dangerous venues in the midst of people who may be less than friendly.

    Certainly, those of us who are chronologically more mature... (older than dirt) need extra caution as we may have medical events which which could disable us in remote locations. And, the "Help, I've fallen and can't get up" gimmicks may not work...LOL

    Oh, just remembered one shot in the 1960's...on a cliff overlooking the Snake River Canyon in Idaho...Calumet 4x5 View camera/tripod, walk out to the edge of a few hundred foot drop off...no one within ten miles...never gave it a thought about what if I fell....
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • sidewayssideways Posts: 54Member
    :-) sounds like I have no issue with paulr - a man who knows what he's doing so he understands and accepts the risks he's taking. I totally agree that many people put themselves at risk through lack of knowledge

    Spraynpray - I like that sticker too - s*** really does happen - so my point was about accepting that random chance does put people and hazards in the same place some of the time. When we want the freedom of "off the beaten track" we should take responsibility for ourselves while we're doing it - that includes our judgement to go out there. You know, you've obviously been there :-)

    Sadly there are people and newspapers out there that argue after every rescue that we shouldn't have the freedom to do this because it's "too dangerous" and we're putting the lives of police and rescuers in danger.
    In the UK these days the police no longer talk about a "Road Traffic Accident". It's never an accident. It's ALWAYS someone's fault !
    Anyway, said my piece, long may the photographers get out there and bring back wonderful images for everyone ! Cheers
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,030Moderator
    I know what you mean there sideways when recently here in the UK road 'accidents' became 'incidents'. The Sheppy bridge fog incident near me was an example.

    I like the Darwin awards!
    Always learning.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited October 2013
    sideways It's never an accident. It's ALWAYS someone's fault !


    and as a punishment, the Motorway will be closed until the culprit is found

    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • YetibuddhaYetibuddha Posts: 388Member
    Surprises do happen, and eventually, to all of us. One major thing we can all do is to tell people where we are going. I do it when out hiking. When out cross country skiing, I tell people at the visitor center--We know each other well. Took a shot several years ago when out skiing. I was standing about 10 feet away from my poles and gloves. Squatted down to compose, clicked the shutter, fell backwards into 3 feet of very soft snow. Could not get up and could not get my skis off. Crawled back to my poles, got them, eventually got up, fell down again. Could not get up again. Crawled forty feet to the trail. This took about 20 minutes, and I was totally exhausted. Another skier came along and helped me up. Lesson here is always, always tell someone where you are headed. Surprises happen to all of us. Oh, and that image, it was terrible!
  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    Living up here in Greenland it is all self-rescue when going into the fiord. It is not as bad as portrayed on "Ice Cold Gold" - a BIG joke if you ask me - but if going by yourself, you do need to carry a GPS, phone (or VHF), emergency beacon, and food for a few hours. Preferably an extra fleece, and (if going for a few hours), a pair of extra socks. I've certainly learned my lesson, and I won't go anywhere without these basics...
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,175Member
    The good news Killerbob is, you do not have to go far to get a plethora of outstanding beautiful images virtually from your doorstep.
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  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    True, but that comes with a challenge; everyone up here has a camera, and everyone has easy access to that plethora... http://greenlandtoday.com/category/september-2013-632/

    To get something unique you have to step of the beaten track, and that means pushing the envelope.
  • PhotophunPhotophun Posts: 43Member
    I use a Fastfind as there is no contract and it is the standard for bush pilots. Spots are good but for uploading signals, they can get a bit dodgy when your in a canyon, under trees, during a rainstorm, aka when you need them to work and your in serious trouble. Mind you, the best insurance policy is to know your terrain, have a good idea what to expect from the weather in that area, and be prepared to spend up to 2 nights.
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    edited October 2013
    +1

    I use a SPOT tracker / beacon extensively on the motorcycle since I travel solo to some remote locations. However, as @Photophun says it's not 100% reliable. My tracker is supposed to send position updates every 10 minutes but in practice I've seen many missed updates, so my actual position could be 50 km or more from SPOT's last updated position -- a big flaw in an emergency situation. It's still useful to give friends & family a general idea of where I am.

    Unfortunately I've had to press the emergency 'SOS' button on the SPOT, when I got into a situation in the middle of the Baja desert in Mexico. All I could do was to stare at the blinking SOS button and I had no idea if SPOT or their GEOS provider received the signal. Luckily, I didn't depend solely on SPOT. I also had an Iridium satellite phone and was able to reach a SAR team on the satphone.

    Hours after the ordeal was over (when I was back in a small Mexican town), I received email from my friend (my emergency contact) that SPOT just called her. Apparently they contacted the Mexican SAR team who told them I was already safe and sound. So apparently they did get the SOS message at some point.

    I still carry the SPOT but always think about backups.

    @Sideways yes preparation is the key, and it's a big shame for me to have to push that 'SOS' button. I thought I was prepared (hindsight is 20/20) but I also made several errors that day that negated all my preparations and put myself in a bad situation. At the end, no SAR assets had to be expended to get me out, and everything ended well. But if I didn't have SPOT and/or my satphone, I might have faced a possibly fatal situation.

    Edit to add: the pictures from that day, were not what I had in mind. :O
    Post edited by Ade on
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,030Moderator
    Welcome to the fallible human race Ade. When life bit me on the @ss in 2003 I realised that although I thought I was legendary at planning, life showed me I knew nothing!
    Always learning.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    ... I can imagine no greater shame than to call on the rescue services to dig my ass out of a mess which would ALWAYS have it's root cause in my own error of judgement. ...
    That is about the most irresponsible and dumbest argument I have head in a long time. To imply one should wonder about and risk death is incomprehensible. What is worse is the undue strain that puts on SARs teams who have to go out and find you with nothing to go on rather than a general location. Also the cost to do so.

    I have ran into many who have used Spot, Go Satellite, Sat phones and similar devices when I was working in the oil industry and many said it saved their lives. Many were working in Alaska, South America and even in the US. They lived and worked there and knew the areas well but "5hit Happens." Mud slides, rock slides, huge storms and the freak random events that no amount of planning or knowledge will help you out. Overweight co-worked has a compound fracture and you can't get him out. I still love the Survivor -man episodes where he has to get help and the one where he was in the Russian Tundra and hit his little spot button and they found him unresponsive almost died. And that guy does that for a living!

    They shouldn't be used in lieu of planning, telling people where you are, researching, etc. but as an additional layer of safety. I heard stories like Ade's on the timing. It's not immediate and you may have to hunker down, but better than nothing. Hell for $220 with 1-year of service is cheap and a no-brainer as a small peice of insurance for the things you can't think of.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • DenverShooterDenverShooter Posts: 340Member
    I know what you mean there sideways when recently here in the UK road 'accidents' became 'incidents'. The Sheppy bridge fog incident near me was an example.

    I like the Darwin awards!
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/05/shepney-bridge-crash-100-vehicle

    100 car wreck...
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,030Moderator
    That's the one. This time of year fog happens and people drive too close, too fast and wonder why they have accidents. Incidents is too politically correct for me, I'd say caused by numb brained idiots....
    Always learning.
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,175Member
    There as been some excellent dialog from members on the subject of Safety, Clearly, preparation, organisation equipment and information to third parties on ETA s are important factors.

    Depending upon your intended trip and how remote the area you are going in to will define what extra emergency equipment is necessary.
    The thought that you need a backup for a backup is quite daunting, however as Ade said, it proved vital in his rescue and least speeded the process up.
    At the end of the day we are photographers and although some of the information is more for serious backpackers the same rules apply when in remote area's

    The whole object of this discussion was to gently remind us, accidents happen, and by reading this discussion, it might remind some of us that preparation and responsibility are important considerations, besides the difficult choice of what camera/lens we take.
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Preparation...including using others ideas on potential risk factors....as I get older, I seem to be much more openminded on accepting advice. Also, I have found it important to asses each situation as to risk/benefit in shooting a photo. Many times I simply pass, recognizing the danger is too great.

    The fog issue is interesting as I travel a lot by motor vehicle. In fog, I am almost continuously passed by those who apparently can see when I cannot. Fog requires a clear field as far out as is required to stop a vehicle....i.e., at 50 mph, damp conditions...150-200 feet.

    What does this have to do with a photographer's safety? The process is being able to evaluate a risk without allowing emotional factors to confuse the issue. Many times we will underestimate the risk because we want to grab the photo. This was the basic theme in a great motion picture..Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window".
    Msmoto, mod
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    ....as I get older, ".
    +1

    As we older, we have been there done that and despite nearly getting killed, survived

    we sadly have quite a few friends who did not make it





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