The Stories Behind the Pictures, Part 2

Sometimes it is fun to hear the details of what was going on behind the scenes when a picture was taken. With that in mind, I bring to you, “The Stories Behind the Pictures, Part 2”. If you are interested in seeing the first installment, here is a link to that blog from August, 2013:

The Stories Behind the Pictures, Part 1

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Friendship : Prints Available

Older Chinese women sitting on the stairs

I took the above shot during a trip to Guilin, China in May of 2012. There were actually three ladies in the scene, but this particular composition included just two of them. In May 2015, I was back in China. Exactly 3 years and 1 day from taking this picture, I was walking through the same village, not knowing I had been there before. My guide and I came walking around a corner and there were the three ladies. Each of them was sitting in the exact same location on the stairs as previously and wearing the exact same clothes! They liked looking at the previous picture but had no interest in a follow-up portrait.

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Clouds Over the Forest : Prints Available

Clouds over Deadvlei, Namibia’s dead tree forest

I shot the above image in Deadvlei, which is a dead tree forest in the Namibian desert. For a period of time before sunset, I had the entire place to myself… not a single person there except me. I was lining up this shot and enjoying the solitude when, out of nowhere, a group of angry bees showed up. I guess I would be angry too if I lived in the Namibian desert. The bees were after my water bottle and, for some reason, liked my camera bag too. They were apparently pretty thirsty and not taking “no” for an answer. I literally could not get into my camera bag to change lenses without getting attacked by the bees. It took me 20 minutes to get the bag away. I finally ended up kicking my water bottle away, swinging my tripod at them, grabbing my backpack and running.

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Aurora Over Iceland : Prints Available

The Northern Lights illuminating the sky over southeastern Iceland.

This image was taken in the middle of the night on the Southeastern coast of Iceland. Earlier that day, we were told by a lady from Hofn (the nearby town) to NOT pay the $4 “entrance fee” to get into the park where these mountains can be viewed. She said it was basically a scam. So, when we got to the park, we drove right past the sign demanding payment. Later that evening, we set up tents in the park to shoot the Northern Lights. All of a sudden, we see lights coming up the road. Scam or not, the Icelandic guy had shown up with his car and was now looking for us with a flashlight. This is not a fun situation. My first thought was to fold the tents up and run. My second thought was, “wait… I’m a fully grown adult.” So, I did what any fully grown adult would do in that situation… I played dumb and pretended I did not see the sign.

The Stories Behind the Pictures

I’ve always enjoyed hearing what was going on while a picture was being taken. Hearing about how a dog kept coming up to the photographer to play fetch while he was trying to take the picture. Stuff like that. Here are a few stories behind some of my pictures:


Icelandic Horse : Prints Available

Beautiful horse standing still in a field with a castle in the background

The above is a picture of a beautiful Icelandic horse. These are amazing animals that actually seem to pose for you for long periods of time. It must have been wonderful taking this picture, right? What a peaceful scene. Well, the truth is, I was behind a barbed wire fence shooting these horse pictures. I wanted to get as close as possible, but I didn’t want to get stuck by a barb. I carefully placed my hand and camera on the fence, avoiding the barbs, and then moved in close and rested my head against the top wire to take the shot. Which was all fine. Except for the fact that the fence was electric. It sent a pretty major jolt right into my head and practically knocked me over. For those of you who are wondering, YES, I did say a bad word and, YES, I did say it three times and, YES, loud enough to scare the horses away.

The above is a beautiful silhouette shot of my wife. She danced ballet when younger and so I had this idea of silhouetted ballet shots at sunrise. We got up at 4:30 am and went to the lake and proceeded to get some great shots, including this one. Unfortunately, she was a bit out of practice doing the ballet jumps. After this shot, she landed hard on her ankle and I had to practically carry her back to the car. But, it’s a great shot, so well worth the trouble of carrying her back. (hint: that’s a joke)

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Sunset on the Farm : Prints Available

Colorful sunset silhouette of an Illinois farm

This barn was off of a highway in Illinois. I had noticed it before and my wife and I made a special trip out there to shoot it at sunset. My wife stayed in the car to read and I ran around shooting for about an hour. Our battery must have been a little low, because the dome light basically drained the battery completely and the car wouldn’t start. This wouldn’t be a big problem, except that it was dark and I had no idea where in the world I was to even call for help. We were stranded for about two hours. I eventually had to run a mile or so in the dark (with the state trooper on the phone) to find a mile marker and get someone out to help.

Before taking the above picture, I set my camera bag down and didn’t zip it because then I would just have to unzip the bag again to put my camera away and that’s a lot of work, right? I took this shot and had so much fun taking it that I forgot the camera bag was unzipped. I picked it up and my $2000 lens fell out of the bag onto a pile of rocks. Yes, there was glass on the ground. Yes, I said a bad word. Fortunately, the glass was from a $100 filter I had placed over the lens for protection and my lens survived the fall. I vowed to never again set my camera bag down without zipping it and have kept my vow.

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Rustic Window : Prints Available

A cabin window hidden in the middle of a forest of Birch trees

I had heard about a group of birch trees in Vermont and really wanted a birch forest shot during my trip to New England last year. I actually drove 5 hours roundtrip to take the pictures. When I got to the forest, it was completely overgrown and basically useless for picture taking. I had heard about a barn in the forest, but that was also surrounded by overgrown trees. All I got was the shot of this window. Five hours roundtrip for a picture of a window. But, this turned out to be one of my favorite shots from the trip.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the glamorous world of photography!