Real Photographers Get Wet

June 18, 2014

WolfCreek_01Rocks and water on Wolf Creek, New River Gorge, West Virginia.

Real Photographers Get Wet

That may not be entirely true. Maybe just clumsy ones do. It all happened so fast I can't be exactly sure how I did it, but here's my story and I'm sticking to it. After a productive morning shooting on Wolf Creek, in the New River Gorge; I was patting myself on the back for my cat-like agility in climbing rocks and jumping back and forth across the stream as I worked my way up the mountain. Then just as I decided it was time to head back to the car and drive home, I slipped on a very large wet rock, which was angled toward the water and the bottom of a large waterfall. I fell on my right side, tripod and camera on my shoulder.

So, I'm going to get wet. No big deal. Right? At least that's what I thought. I figured my feet would stop me when they hit the bottom of the creek and I would walk away unharmed, just a little wet. BUT NO! Suddenly, and to my As I slid down the rock toward the water, I really wasn't at all concerned, but there was absolutely no way to stop.surprise I was totally submerged with no sign of a creek bottom. My next realization was, holy expensive equipment batman, I'm holding my tripod and camera in my right hand, and I'm underwater! I immediately shot my hand holding the tripod high into the water/air, as I found my way to the surface. Then after laying the tripod and camera softly on the rock and making sure it wasn't going to slid back into the water, I was able to pull myself out onto the rock. After getting myself and my equipment onto a dry and level piece of rock, I was able to reflect on how fast it all had happened. Literally the blink of an eye.

"My next realization was, holy expensive equipment batman, I'm holding my tripod and camera in my right hand, and I'm underwater! "

Now, you might think I would be angry and upset, but just the opposite. I was SO thankful that I hadn't been injured and was in one piece, that nothing else really mattered. After getting my breathing back to normal and letting the adrenaline even out. I hiked back to my vehicle totally ready to get out of there and back home. When I reached into my river pants for my car keys and my hand went all the way through the pocket and out the bottom, I realized that when I fell on the rock, they had cut a hole in my pants and were lost at the bottom of the stream. NICE! OK, my phone is in my car...thankfully. But, no way to call Lynn and get someone to bring my other set of keys to me. So I waited for about 30 minutes until a very nice lady came by in an SUV. I stopped her by standing in the middle of the road waving my hands in the air. Totally wet and muddy, I'm sure she was thinking, this guy could be crazy! She barely cracked her window, as I explained what had happened pointing to the hole in my pocket and ask to use her phone to call my wife. The window stayed barely cracked. Then I said, "Ma'am, I'm a professional photographer from Charleston, my name is Steve Payne and..." before I could finish she said, "oh I know you, I've seen your work everywhere."  Then she handed me her phone and offered me a ride to wherever I needed to go. Thank god for being in business long enough to have at least a little street cred.

Then I said, "Ma'am, I'm a professional  photographer from Charleston, my name is Steve Payne and..." before I could finish she said, "oh I know you, I've seen your work everywhere." Thank God for being in business long enough to have at least a little street cred. 

I called Lynn, told here what had happened, and then waited on the Marines to come to the rescue. The Marines came in the form of one George Nahodil, my right-hand man, Marine, and jack of all trades. We had a great lunch at The Secret Sandwich Society, (highly recommended) and all ended well; after, of course, about $800 dollars of repairs to the Canon 5D MkIII and my 24-105mm lens. Props to Canon CPR for the amazing turnaround, and returning my equipment in better shape than it had been before it got wet.

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Note: Some folks ask why I don’t allow comments? The simple truth is, that I’m still a working photographer and have a family, am involved in my church and other community activities, and, I love to play golf! I just don’t have the time to deal with it. But, if you see me in person, you can talk my ear off about photography, business, golf, yoga, cars, faith, art, design, or just life! I would love to meet you! Peace, SP

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