The risks of a photographer

By |2013-12-29T19:43:51+00:00Mar 30th, 2013|

Ultimately, you have to ask yourself just how willing you are to risk your safety, or more importantly, the safety of your gear to get a shot that you think will really sing. There’s nothing quite as dampening (pun totally intended) as getting your camera soaked with salt water, as I learned earlier this week while Vincent Mo commiserated with me and our Google+ colleague, Aravind Krishnaswamy.

Look, everyone can play it safe, stand from a distance, and let someone else take the fall (boom, second pun totally intended). But I’d be willing to bet that the risk-taking photographer out there will walk away with some pretty killer shots… or have a cool story to tell.

Live on, photographers!


  1. Rene Polanco March 30, 2013 at 11:44 am - Reply

    The still action pulls me in…awesome.

  2. Ravi Koirala March 30, 2013 at 11:46 am - Reply


  3. Nigel Merrick March 30, 2013 at 11:46 am - Reply

    Having sacrificed more than a few cameras to the ocean over the years, I can still attest that it was all worth it :-)

  4. Michael Riffle March 30, 2013 at 11:51 am - Reply

    Never trust a landscape photog with a pristine tripod.  ;)  Edit: and also skinny cooks.

  5. Scott Wood March 30, 2013 at 11:54 am - Reply

    Being a storm chaser who is always trying to get the perfect vantage point for where I hope the lightning will strike, or setting my gear up where I hope the dust storm will hit, I know all about that :-)

    Gorgeous shot Brian

  6. Michael Murphy March 30, 2013 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    I've found myself in a few precarious situations in the past, and anyone who follows my work knows I'm partial to a high building or crane or two.  I have managed to drop various lenses, flash and body before, with the greatest damage coming to the body and a repair cost that was 1/3 of the body cost.  I've had the camera and myself soaked on a beach in Iceland.  I've also had a photo buddy manage to grab a hold of my camera/tripod by the strap as it started to topple off a cliff one pre-dawn morning (I was busy rooting around in my bag for a hat as I wanted to protect myself from the gusts of winds which moved the camera).

    To be honest, I think some people are often a little too scared.  I know people who have been reluctant to get their cameras out in some situations due to the fact the gear costs so much and they want to keep it as pristine as possible.  As far as I'm concerned it's there to do a job so I need to make use of it; plus make sure it's insured so if anything terrible does happen you can get a replacement anyway.

  7. Coline Russelle March 30, 2013 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    14mm on full frame would put you up close and personal with the water! So how waterproof was the camera?

  8. Brian Matiash March 30, 2013 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    +Coline Russelle Not waterproof at all! Especially with saltwater. I studied the way the water was playing off of that rock for a few minutes and found the right height. The rest was totally out of my hands if a larger wave hit. :)

  9. Coline Russelle March 30, 2013 at 12:19 pm - Reply


  10. Sarah Maynor March 30, 2013 at 12:28 pm - Reply

    Always have good insurance company's the cheaper ONE'S drop you for any for any small claims one might make

  11. Vincent Mo March 30, 2013 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    Ya, I'm thinking I might start insuring my camera equipment. I break it way too often. :)

  12. Ralph Mendoza March 30, 2013 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    Beautiful photo. Well worth the risk

  13. Mike Bates March 30, 2013 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Insurance is part of the solution to risk taking.

  14. Joe Ercoli March 30, 2013 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    Dedication and commitment to getting a result is a winning recipe. Looks like you got it!

  15. Deana Lamb March 30, 2013 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    Congratulations on your Great New Job!!! Leaps and Risks are worth taking I do believe!!! Your Shots Prove it!

  16. Anthony Owen-Jones March 30, 2013 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    Saw something the other day about nano technology coatings for mobile phones to make them waterproof. Let's hope they bring that to cameras in the near future! Though the risk kinda is part of the fun.

  17. Brian Matiash March 30, 2013 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    +Vincent Mo Dude – absolutely! At the very least, just add it as a rider to your home insurance. It won't add too much to the premium.

  18. farah godoy March 30, 2013 at 1:10 pm - Reply


  19. William Johnston March 30, 2013 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    +Brian Matiash    You can us a zip lock bag to keep most of the salt water off the camera or if you have the money order the water proof case for you particular brand camera  You should keep two extra large zip lock bags in the camera case

  20. Steve Martin March 30, 2013 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    A word of warning too late for you now, most certainly too late for the number of photographers who have drowned in the surf due to similar conditions. You have to be street-wise when your shooting on the dark streets, the same applies to everywhere else…
    getting mugged by a wave can ruin your whole day.

  21. Marco Ranieri March 30, 2013 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    Thanks +Brian Matiash for that story that resonates with all of us photographers! No pain, no fear, etc – no shot!

    +Vincent Mo , you got guts! I admire that.

  22. William Johnston March 30, 2013 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    Photographers do take chances to get "the shot"  that other people would pass by

  23. Ed King March 30, 2013 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    +Brian Matiash I have a two day old 60D paperweight on my nightstand to remind me each morning when I head out to shoot the sea here in Rhode Island that it can kill equipment and if not careful even yourself. I also had a pretty nasty fall, hit my head but the camera never touched the ground, none of which has stopped me but I am always very aware if my surroundings and always watching a few waves back for that rogue one.

  24. Pamela Reynoso March 30, 2013 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    All I got in Santa Cruz was wet- and a fun story. I'll have to try again for a cool shot.;) +Vincent Mo – I'm hoping you will fix that no insurance in a hurry! :/

  25. Sarah Maynor March 30, 2013 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    Personal items insurance on anything ove r 1500 sepr from him to long while noe new year and I am

  26. Mykal Hall March 30, 2013 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    Knees deep in the surf with a 11mm lens getting great foreground interest as waves crash over rocks are my bread and butter shots. My saying is "if your feet aren't wet, you're not close enough." Love this shot mate. Oh and I discovered some remote shutters float!!!! ;) So yes…the shot matters over the risk of the gear. So far I have been very lucky.

  27. Zhou Hong March 30, 2013 at 5:01 pm - Reply


  28. Luke Carlson March 30, 2013 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    What Camera did you use? I have a Nikon P500 that takes decent shots but can't take RAW photos, just jpeg.

  29. Ryan Sakamoto March 30, 2013 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    I am one of those risk takers, living in Honolulu, Hawaii I'm surrounded by water. I sacrificed a lens to the ocean Gods last year. I very careful & watch the waves for about 5 minutes before I move into the questionable area. This time the water hit the rock & made a small splash up onto the area between the camera body & lens it looked like only a drop but it crept its way onto the lens contact & began to give me an error message. One freakin' drop of water screwed up the lens. I never got "the" shot I wanted but have gotten many more amazing shots by taking a chance! Would I have done it again…hmmmm, yeah in a heartbeat!

  30. Nicole Burgoz March 30, 2013 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    Not so much of a risk taker here.
    Replacements in Kuwait are just too freakin' expensive and having stuff shipped APO is like taking a Russian Roulette gamble of it ever getting to me :-(

  31. Brian Matiash March 30, 2013 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    +Nicole Burgoz You know, I just can't argue with that. I'd be playing it safe, too. :)

  32. Nicole Burgoz March 30, 2013 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    Besides, we rarely ever have nice waves like this ;-)
    Dust is already risk enough ;-P

  33. Danny McMann March 31, 2013 at 9:01 am - Reply

    You adventurous soul reaps enriching captured moments! Thank you for sacrifices and sharing! Love your view!

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