Hazardous Serendipity

This one goes out to my childhood friend & now photography colleague Matt Chapman!


I risked my life to get this photo... But I'd do it 100 times over for similar results!


On the way to Christchurch a few weeks ago, I made a stop at Lake Tekapo, seeking to indulge my creative side before driving another few hours to make it to my destination. After I got out of the car and saw this location, I was instantly sold. I knew I had to get down there and shoot this. The only difficulty was the potential for the flood gates to open while I was in the firing line... I figured I would have some time to run if that were to happen, but how much time was completely unknown to me. Alas, I took the risk.


Climbing down the slippery rocks on either side of the river was difficult enough, and at that stage the reality hit me that if the canal were to be flooded, getting up these rocks in time was gonna be the hard part!

But that was about all the thought I gave to the danger, I was 100% focused on what I wanted from the shot. It was one of those rare occasions that you can visualize what you expect out of Photomatix before even taking the photo.


I found myself a spot on a conveniently positioned concrete slab that was almost dead center in the river. Bracketing from -3 to +3 was essential in this situation, shooting directly into the sun. The position of the sun is actually another happy coincidence, centered perfectly on the railing... I initially thought it would be a problem, but have come to see it as helping to balance the scene out a little.


In terms of post processing this one, I actually did very little to it. The original 'normal' exposure has the same beautiful water, and the same awesome perspective looking up at this splendid dam. It's one of those situations where HDR enhances the scene and gives you a real feel for what it was like being there. I applied a slight crop to remove a bit of the sky that was distracting.


I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Matt for his input on naming this scene, he's always been the king of finding crazy words ands phrases to describe something, and I think he has out-done himself here — "Hazardous Serendipity" is spot on... For this was indeed a dangerous risk that resulted in a fortunate coincidence! Had I never taken the chance to venture into that chasm of doom, I'd have never taken this photo, which is , in my opinion, one of my best photos to date.


On the topic... I'd like to thank you guys, the people who take the time to comment and share feedback on the photos I make available to the public. For those of you who get in touch to share thoughts personally via email, it means a great deal. Will, Nagesh, Simon — You guys especially!


Thats it from me tonight, I'm dead tired and about to fall asleep at my desk....


If you like this photo, please let me know in the comments section below!


Alternatively, if you'd like to get in touch, you can find me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter!

This photo, and all my other works, are covered under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND — For full details, click here...


Thanks for visiting!

  • Phi Photographics φ 4y

    I like this one lots Eden :) The colour contrast between what look like rust at the bottom of the water, and of course the actual water, is intense. Beautiful image!
  • Simon Morris 4y

    WOW - this is amazing Eden... I'm assuming it's the image we talked about when recently meeting up! Just love the gritty texture of the concrete walls, and of course the gorgeous tones of the water... fantastic work mate, excellent!
  • Daryl Clark 4y

    Beautiful Photo. This definately falls in the category "the risk is worth the reward".
  • Eden Brackstone 4y

  • Eden Brackstone 4y

    Simon Morris Thanks Simon, yes this was indeed the image you and I were discussing that evening ;-)
  • henry mccluskey 4y

    i have to say it was well worth the risk, i'm sure this will stand the test of time.

    very cool.
  • alh1 4y

    That is a very extraordinary photo and the circumstances were indeed serendipitous - but I wouldn't have thought you'd have stood a chance if they'd opened the gates. You'd probably ended up in Twizel or someplace like that.
  • Richard Hawkins 4y

    Beautiful. I don't know why I don't have you as a contact on flickr.

    Done!... :)
  • Shreyas Bhide 4y

    Beautiful....the shot looks so mysterious....nice composition...
  • Craig Szymanski 4y

    Excellent shot. Interesting find. Definitely worth the risk :-)
  • Keith Moyer 4y

    Spectacular Eden! This was definitely worth it.
  • Frank Grace 4y

    Unreal shot. Great HDR processing as well. Instant favorite!
  • Oliver Winter 4y

    Nice shot and well processed
  • Andrew Beirne 4y

    Awesome. Congrats on being featured on HDR Spotting too

    An inspiration for all of us. Greetings from South AFrica.
  • Stephen Stringer 4y

    Amazing shot. Well worth the effort.
  • torkil storli 4y

    brilliant shot!!!

    Bellos colores, el HDR da una unos colores admirables
  • Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen 4y

    Amazing details and color..!
  • Angela Sims 3y

    Awesome shot! :) Glad you lived! hehe
36 faves
Taken on June 3, 2011
  • ƒ/8.0
  • 10.0 mm
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