Robert Curtis Photography | There is a Story Behind Every Picture....

There is a Story Behind Every Picture....

May 09, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

It is not uncommon to hear the expression "every picture tells a story".  This is true...  I like putting a slight twist on the words and saying "there is a story behind every picture". A subtle change in words creates two totally different meanings.  One for the photographer...  and one for the viewer.  I am talking more about what happens behind the scenes when pictures are created.  Normally, when you look at pictures, you typically don't think about the effort that it took to "capture" the image.  I am talking about countless photos that I have taken over the years - some of which really had amazing or interesting stories behind them.  Some required a tremendous amount of strain and effort in terrible conditions... others had devastation and personal heartache attached.  Some of the photos were taken via helicopter while others were taken from mountain tops or the back of pick-up trucks.  Occasionally, you are rewarded with "things" that just happen... right in front of you - and you are quick enough to capture them.  Here are a few very short snippets of things that have happened over the years.

 

--  My friend and I had to enter a corral with bulls in it... horns and all, as a brush fire rapidly approached.

--  While photographing firefighters at a brush fire in Bell Canyon (California), I was forced to retreat with the firefighters into the garage of the home that they were trying to protect as the house was overrun with fire.  Fortunately, a helicopter saw that the house was in jeopardy and made a water drop on the house.  We all walked out of the house and the firefighters knocked down the fire all around the exterior of the house.

--  I joined a friend of mine who worked for the Signal newspaper back in Pico Canyon as a brush fire approached the area.  It had already raged through Simi Valley, CA and was moving north.  We hiked back into the canyon to photograph a Ventura County Fire Department hand crew do a "firing operation".  This is when firefighters use "drip torches" and special pistols to start fires in "controlled" conditions.  The purpose is to burn brush in advance of a fast moving brush fire which eliminates fuel in the path of the fire...  slowing the fires progress.  

There was no wind and beautiful deep blue skies.  We photographed the crew for about a half an hour before a helicopter came in and put the fires out they had just started...  a lack of communication somewhere.  They continued to set fires as they followed the fire road back out of the canyon.  Suddenly, the wind started picking up and the fire began burning with a ferocity that we had not seen that day.  The crew had about 5 or 6 members with there back to the fire acting as "look outs".  There job was to ensure that spot fires did not cross the fire road...  which would have been devastating as they were using the road as a fire break.  A few engines had backed all the way into the canyon and had pulled hose lines off to help support their efforts.  Suddenly, the fire spotted over the road, burned the hose lines that the firefighters were using and sent everyone scrambling to get out of the canyon as it "blew up" behind us.  I was forced to jump into the Ventura Country hand crews vehicle to get out of the canyon.  Because the fire jumped the road, it burned for two more days.

--  I was shooting a Dodger vs Giants game at Dodger Stadium a few years ago and was hit with a line drive off of the bat of one of the Giants.  It skipped once and hit me on the right side of my chest, impacting my ribs with a large thud....  This one left me with a bruise covering my entire right side chest wall.

--  When you are photographing sports it becomes almost one dimensional because you cannot see everything as you normally would with the camera obstructing your face.  You see primarily, what you see through the view finder.  At a Kings hockey game two years ago, a player was checked hard into the boards where I was shooting through a small hole in the glass.  I never saw it coming.  The glass was driven into my camera...  which impacted my eye orbit.  That one left me with a black eye.  Fortunately, it id not break my camera or lens...  

--  Just the other day, I had to do a portrait shoot.  My daughter wanted to come along...  and I was happy to take her.  We were going to be shooting some pictures around an old abandoned school house.  There were a lot of lizards, beetles and other critters around so I told her to stay very close.  Of course, being the 4-1/2 year old that she is...  she wandered about 20 feet away.  I heard her very calmly say - "Daddy, there is a snake".  So calmly, that I did not believe her at first...  but I investigated anyways.... only to find a young rattlesnake peering out from underneath the school house.  The snake ended up moving underneath the steps for the school house.  We ended up doing most of the shoot with the snake only 10 feet away.

--  I have got a bunch more...  but I think you get the point!  Til next time...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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