A camera bag saved my life
Talk about a dramatic hook! however, that is exactly what happened.
Recently friend of mine and I took a trip to Keld in North Yorkshire. We had heard talk of a number of waterfalls in a small area; and what landscape photographer doesn’t like a decent waterfall.. in the right light and with the correct camera settings you can get some stunning results.
So we set off around 10am; after 2 hours and a 40 mile diversion we finally arrived. We parked up and set off down a track that we had identified would take us to 2 of the places we had intended to visit.
The path took us through a farm which also doubles as a campsite for the area. The campsite is located right next to the River Swale which is right where we needed to be.
The first stop on our list was Hoggarth’s Leap. After navigating our way along the path, past some fallen trees we came to our destination. After a couple of quick snaps I set my camera up on my tripod.
My preference for my photos is to take the shots from a low viewpoint; on a lot of occasions I feel this can bring a whole new dimension to the image. It’s not a one style fits all thing, so I do try other vantage points but typically it is how I begin.
After a couple of shots I decided to get closer to the edge. Its not the fist time I have navigated wet rocks, after all a lot of my images are of the Whitley Bay coast line. I always try to make sure I don’t step on any algae or plant matter and I always place my weight carefully.
I had identified a spot where i was going to go for a half second exposure to smooth out the water on the lower falls. I took a look around, there were lots of fallen autumn leaves but the rock itself just looked wet.
Here’ where i had to worst luck and the best of luck in my life at the same time. I leaned forward to almost 90 degrees to place my camera on the ground, and whilst bent forward I placed my foot on a damp section of rock….or what I thought was rock.
What i actually stepped on was the slippiest substance I have ever had the misfortune of discovering. Both of my legs shot forward at the same time as I fell backwards towards to the rocks. My left shoulder and the top of my back were the first to make contact with the ground, my head also whipped back as if I had been a victim in a massive car crash; however it never made contact with anything. My lower half of my body ended up submerged in the river; and i’d had the wind knocked right out of me.
I was lucky my friend was with me as I was now so far in it was too slippy to get out on my own. once he had pulled me out, no easy task as I’m about 17.5 stones in weight on a good day. It was only once i was out and stood back u again that i realised how lucky I was.
The entire time I had been wearing my larger camera bag so that I could carry supplies as well as my camera gear. The bag had created enough of a gap between my head and the ground so that I did not make contact. With the force at which I had fallen back and the momentum it had created I am of the personal opinion that I would not be here now to tell this tale had i not been wearing that bag.
Somehow nothing was broken, either on me or in my camera bag. Not to be defeated i finished off the day in wet clothes (which is very stupid, so don’t try that at home kids!).
The best part of the whole thing was I got to come home to my wife and kids; however now shes afraid to let me out to play.
Not to be deterred by the whole thing, i took a picture of where this happened, and here it is.
Remember though, no picture is worth your life. Between October 2011 to November 2017, there were 259 selfie deaths reported in the news globally.
To quote a famous movie “Choose life”.