Here's a message for all you dedicated 360 photographers.
When I took the photo "Dumbea River Reach" nearly three years ago I can remember balancing on the river rock with my camera rig. At one stage I dropped my wireless trigger into the river and had to do a crazy leap to another rock to get it back as quickly as possible. I also remember feeling disappointed that the real size and splendour of the mountain gorge didn't seem to come across in the sphere image.
So, last Sunday, Freddy and I went back to the same area so I could try another view that might bring out the sheer size of the massive gorge. This time I figured that if I climbed up the slope on the north side I could get a better perspective for this kind of imagery. The bracken here is easy enough to walk through and there were no snakes or other monsters to worry about as I waded through the ferns up the slope. I found my spot, got set up, and took the image. It looked pretty nice and the day was sunny so all was well with the world as I started back down the slope. If you look down towards where the cars are parked by the river you'll notice a dug-out area. This is actually quite a large area and the up-slope edge is a sheer drop. So I needed to find a place where I could find a way down. I angled toward the road a bit, being careful because the whole slope under the ferns was strewn with jagged rocks of every size. Finally I got to the edge. I walked back and forth along the edge looking for somewhere to get down. Finally I found a place that looked OK. I tied my tripod and camera bag onto the end of my hiking stick and lowered it down the first step then slid down myself. So far so good. Next there was a traverse to another ledge - from there I could turn and make the last few meters with no problem. I hoisted my gear and stepped on the first rock on the traverse. The rock popped loose and down I went, thrown on my back dropping almost vertically down towards a jumble of jagged rocks. I had time to realize that hitting those rocks would be really bad - there was only one little place with no rocks and I twisted to hit it. I was practically in free-fall, hammered against the wall when I hit.
The pain in my back was horrifying. I knew I had done serious damage. I tried to call out to Freddy who had been waiting for me to come back down but I could barely breathe and my shout was a pitiful wheeze. I couldn't move. I was down in the midst of the jumble of huge black rocks. Finally I was able to turn over, every motion sent unbearable fangs of fire along my back and chest. I realized there was no way Freddy would find me - I had to get out myself as fast as I could. I pried myself out of the rocks holding on to the tripod and my walking stick and, bent right over, stumbled around the next boulder, and the next until I could see the road. Freddy appeared on the road. I said, "I've hurt myself. Badly." She rushed over and gave me her walking stick and helped me slowly back to the car - which fortunately was only about 50 meters away.
We drove the 20 minutes back to Noumea and went directly to the emergency ward of the hospital. For the rest of Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I lay flat on my back in the hospital squashed by pain killers, thinking again and again how stupid I had been. If I had gone back the way I came up, If I had slid my gear down ahead of me so I had my hands free, If I had this or that, all punctuated with how stupid, how idiotic I had been.
Of course now, as the pain killers are wearing off and I am able to sit again at the computer, I realize that all accidents are instants of stupidity. But photographic accidents are preceded by a blind recklessness to get the right angle for the shot regardless of the risk. You concentrate on the right place to be and just go there. I want to tell you, my friend, I'm going to be thinking twice about that next time I go taking pictures. No more jumping from one river rock to the next to grab a dropped wireless trigger, no more edging along cliffs, balancing on outcrops of slippery rock above a waterfall. Even if someone were paying me to do it - and nobody is - it isn't worth it. I'm lucky. Nothing was actually broken, just tore some of the ligaments holding the ribs to the vertebrae, and although it still hurts I'm moving OK again after 7 days. Sometimes I wonder how I ever got to be 71 years old.
So, all you dedicated photographers, my message is - be careful, think it through twice before you try it.
新喀里多尼亚是离澳大利亚和新西兰最近的南太平洋岛屿。该岛是法国领地且官方语言是法语，尽管如此，其文化却丰富多彩，揉合了美拉尼西亚、欧洲、波利尼西亚、越南、中国、印尼等国的风情。这里有一个多山的大岛，称为大地岛 (Grande Terre)，和6个较小的岛屿——洛亚蒂三岛 (Loyalty Islands)、贝莱普群岛 (Belep) 和松树岛 (Isle of Pines)。 整个群岛人口极为稀少，有大片的荒野。这里有数百公里长的徒步小径、随处可见的露营营地、超过42个公园和保护区、清澈透明的河流和莹莹闪光的瀑布。约三分之一的人口居住在首府努美阿。镍的开采是该国最主要的工业，也是维持其高标准生活的主要经济来源。大地岛四周环绕着世界第二大珊瑚礁，此珊瑚礁形成的泻湖是世界上最大的，也是受保护的泻湖。该泻湖于2008年被列为世界遗产，面积达24000平方公里，是品种丰富的鱼类和无脊椎动物栖息之地。 对于刚上岛的游客而言，最引人注目的是这里鲜艳夺目的色彩。努美阿以其完备的酒店、度假酒店、餐馆设施和丰富多彩的活动欢迎游客的到来。