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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!


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


Thanks for visiting!

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Taken on June 3, 2011