There I was; Black Forest Park, New Brunswick, nineteen years old and sleeping snuggly in a pup tent when two bears started fighting furiously over the opened can of sardines I had left on the picnic table. They were roaring loudly, fighting so aggressively that during the wrestling stage of the battle they rolled right next to the tent snapping off the corner cord collapsing the corner of the tiny tent. I soiled my sleeping bag in triplet.
But I was armed. I had a calibre 35mm Nikkormat loaded with Kodachrome-25. My shaking buddy urged me to take a picture. What did he know about shooting at night with 25 ASA (ISO for the youngsters). I had a flash loaded with dead batteries. Here I posted the only shot.
Richard White was alone, photographing a grizzly bear in Alaska in 2012. He was unlucky to say the least. This is probably the only thing I would not do because of my New Brunswick experience. White even had the brave presence of mind to click away while being attacked. RIP Richard.
I do, however, know that an adrenaline rush helps one do anything to get the shot. We would climb anything, hang from anywhere, stand on anything and say anything to anyone just to get access to get the shot. Once we have it while still alive and not in jail, there are no regrets. Even in the comfort of my studio, I had to take a handheld shot while standing atop a twelve-foot ladder. I was more concerned about dropping the camera on the giant cake being photographed. There is an unexplainable reckless courage that drives a photographer to do just about anything to photograph something of obvious great interest. Getting down ’n dirty, even when wearing a tux, is a non-issue. This may explain why many photo-journalists, throughout their careers, develop strong street smarts and they can weave their way up or down in their quest. Saying sorry is easier than getting permission. Let the editor worry about it later. CD.