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Photography tour guide killed by toxic lava fumes in Hawaii

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Orbmiser, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. Orbmiser

    Orbmiser Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 15, 2017
    Photography tour guide killed by toxic lava fumes in Hawaii

    Sad but out and about shooting always seems something out there can kill you.
    Interested in anyone willing to share their close calls.

    Has your passion gotten you into trouble or risk life or limb for a shot?
    Dumb things you did that you shouldn't have for getting the click?

    Worst for me was a walkabout in semi-civilized (Due to Homeless,Criddlers & Tweakers) downtown portland.

    Caught toe on curb walking. Fell broke big toe and left little pinkie.
    Gash above left eye on brow line. Didn't go to hospital so have scar now and crooked pinkie.
    Big toe black under toenail.

    Use to be eyed alot from the fringe outdoor people. Eyeing my Dslr and bag.
    Not as much I noticed moving to m4/3rds. Smaller bag and camera.

    Pretty good about being security aware 100 ft. around me tho.
    Usually spot trouble quickly and side tracking or changing directions away.
    So staying out of that kind of trouble is 2nd nature.
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  2. junkyardsparkle

    junkyardsparkle haunted scrap heap Subscribing Member

    Nov 17, 2016
    Like, The Valley
    I did have a tendency, in my misspent youth, to dangle myself as far over the edges of rooftops as I possibly could with my beloved Stylus Epic...


    Obviously, I never intended to survive this long, but the strides in photographic awesomeness that you can keep in a hoody pocket makes for a pretty ok consolation prize, I guess. :rolleyes: 
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  3. I've been in more than a couple structurally sketchy buildings that I shouldn't have, my worst lapse in judgement was an abandoned power plant where I stupidly decided to risk crossing an i-beam to access stairs leading to the roof. The beam spanned a collapsed floor, and had I fallen, I would have landed on jagged, rusty debris 20 feet below. Dumb, dumb, dumb, and dumb.
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  4. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    My sketchiest experience was while doing a research project as a grad student on a tuna purse seine vessel in the middle of the Pacific. After the net was set and they were starting to purse the net, me and my assistant would jump into the net with a little rubber raft and paddle around in it while sharks, billfish, porpoises, and tuna swam by. I'd have to keep glancing around to see if a shark was planning to sample my head sticking into the water, while observing the tuna. Had to pull my head up a few times. Even the porpoises were mean. These weren't the tame, trained ones you see at Sea World. These were wild porpoises, and they were big. A swat from one of their tails or snouts could break your bones like matchsticks. Then paddling back to the ship, and trying to get myself, a rubber raft, and my clipboard up the barnacle encrusted side of the ship while it's heaving up and down 10-15 feet. God must watch out for stupid, young grad students because I lived to tell the tale. :) 

    I took a Nikonos with me and grabbed some shots occasionally inside the net.
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  5. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    People have been killed at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on occasion. Some have fallen (or jumped) from the edge of craters, asphyxiated by toxic fumes like the guide in this story, or stood too close to the edge where the lava is going into the ocean and fallen in, or stood on the lava delta when it collapsed and took them with it. The bodies weren't always recovered. It is not a risk free place. Just because it's a park doesn't mean it's a playground. There was the recent helicopter crash in the Grand Canyon too.

    More on volcano park dangers.
    Danger in paradise: The hidden hazards of volcano geotourism
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
    • Informative Informative x 2
  6. walter_j

    walter_j Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Sep 10, 2013
    Hagwilget, B.C., Canada
    Last fall I hiked to the rivers edge near Hazelton, and my hair stood on end for some reason. I turned and left, and watched my backtrail all the way out. I got to my truck ok, but when I turned around, a huge black bear came out on my trail. One of the bigger black bears I've seen. I've had that happen before hunting, but I don't worry as much when I have my rifle.
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  7. junkyardsparkle

    junkyardsparkle haunted scrap heap Subscribing Member

    Nov 17, 2016
    Like, The Valley
    I've come to the conclusion that the dumb is as much what keeps me alive as it is what tries to get me killed, though... the curious monkeys have the best gaurdian angels, for sure...
    • Agree Agree x 1
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  8. Might not have been so hard on myself if I had come away with some shots worth the risk. ;) 
  9. D7k1

    D7k1 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2013
    I think the scariest was a time I had just imaged about a 5 foot Red Diamond Rattlesnake in waste high grass and as I carefully walked around this giant boulder, I saw a swarm about 6 or 7 seven feet long and about 3' across of honey bees. A ranger told me that the behavior I described and the size of the swarm in that part of S. Ca. and Arz. boarder probably meant that they were Africanized. I started breathing in my jacket as it is the high carbon content of mammal breath that stimulates aggressive behavior. Back up the hill, looking for my slithery friend all the time. Since, I was about 3/4 of a mile from the car, I was also very careful about the bees on the plants. I've had snakes crawl over my shoes, wood scorpions crawl over rocks I've lifted, had widows walk around my hand, large mammal encounters as well as stopping someone from attacking my neighbor with a sledge hammer. Nothing ever concerned me like hat giant swarm of honey bees. I didn't even take an image:) 
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  10. Never had a bad moment but since birding, I've had a few. Looking up into the trees in the rainforest whilst in stealth mode ain't the best thing. The only place sunlight breaks through is where paths are cleared. Snakes and goannas like to bask in the sun and birders tread quietly............enough said.............nearly trod on a couple a few times now but I'm more wary nowadays
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  11. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State
    Cannot believe I climbed down there. It wasn't to capture an image but my best friend and hiking buddy did. I kept this from my son till he was grown. Gives me the creeps more now than it did 10-20 years ago. That said, I was sure-footed and had no fear in those days.
    Sugarloaf 1975.
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  12. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Once my spouse realized how much I had spent on a lens.
    • Funny Funny x 5
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  13. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Thank God my fear of heights kept me from doing stunts like that! :) 
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    My wife and I hiked the lava fields in Hawaii once. I am an experienced hiker and was well prepared and supplied. We went out about 5 miles, IIRC, but two things happened that made me turn around before I ever saw any lava. First, we learned the flows were much further out than the ranger told me they were last seen, and I estimated that if we continued out to where it was, we wouldn’t make it back before it started getting dark. The terrain is crazy treacherous, and even though I had flashlights I had no desire to try it in the dark. Secondly, the ground eventually got to feel like walking on creme brûlée, and I started worrying about what could be beneath that soft, fragile shell of new earth. It was still a fun experience, but next time I’ll just rent a helicopter.
  15. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I never take chances or have had any close calls.........................

    Gator Bait 08
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    In this photograph I was shooting some baby gators and in this location a few weeks later the mama gator was under the bridge (I am laying on a bridge even tho it may not look like it) and I didn't know it until she popped up and managed to crush my lens hood when she bit down.........luckily she hit a beam on her way up or it could have ended very differently

    Gator Bait 29
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    As I was scrambling out to the way I accidently hit the shutter button and got this shot. It reminds me of those people who go missing and they find their camera with the last photo they took.

    Momma Gator
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    every time I head into the swamp to shoot I know it's a risk. especially since my favorite subjects are the apex predator of the swamps I frequent.

    One of my other favorite subjects is the Cottonmouth aka Water Moccasin. Here he was working his way down a long bank to the swampy water and I was laying on the ground sliding down the slope about 5 feet in front of him. Was hard because I had to keep an eye on him while also making sure I didn't get hung up on any trees or bushes, which would not have been good.

    Photo has no crop
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    I will regularly lay along the edge of the swamp like this while watching something like a Cottonmouth or a Bullfrog waiting for them to catch something. I will lay there for hours without moving and watching and hoping and honestly that is probably the most dangerous thing I do. I have had gators crawl out of the swamp 10 feet in front me and they had no clue I was there. If the water is shallow I can see them coming, but when it's deeper water that I am laying by I have not noticed them until they emerged from the water and trust me........................I am super hyper aware and looking, so it is disconcerting when they show up and I had no clue they were coming. My biggest fear is one crawling out of the water right were I am and what my reaction will be and it's something I hope never happens but it is something that very likely could.

    Gator Bait 13
    by RRcoleJR Photography, on Flickr

    My closes call was when a 10 footer crawled out of the swamp about 5 feet behind me and I had no idea he was there. They can come out of the water and on to the bank without making a sound. When my Bullfrog decided to take off I stood up without knowing the gator was behind me. Luckily it scared the shit out of him just as much and he took off into the water but I am pretty sure it scared me more. I was little unnerved by that I didn't lay at the swamp edge the rest of the day.

    Edit - since that incident I carefully look behind me while moving as little as possible before standing............

    Wildlife photography is dangerous, especially when you head out deeper into the wild away from people. Since it is typically a solo thing it makes it even more dangerous. I am always prepared with first aid/survival kits in my pack as well as anything else I think I may need. I have yet to need any of my emergency supplies for myself, but have used them more times than I can remember on people I have come across who were not well prepared and had an emergency.


    Do I take risk when out shooting? Yes I do. But every time I do it's calculated and I know the risk involved. There are many times I have walked away from getting an amazing shot because the risk to myself or the wildlife was to great and not worth it.
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  16. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Kiillarney, OzTrailEYa
    this is why professional stunt-persons take care in planning these events ... lucky you lived to tell the tale
    • Funny Funny x 2
  17. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Kiillarney, OzTrailEYa
    like the salties in Australia. They do it for a living, and the old ones can be sly.

    I hope you don't suddenly go quiet on posting here mate.
    • Funny Funny x 1
  18. RR Jonny

    RR Jonny Mu-43 Regular

    Even though folks are discussing the big dangers, the little dangers are just as important. Many people are killed every year due to wasps, hornets, bees and other insects. Before you know it, you can be swarmed. I've stumbled upon hives occasionally and had a run-in with fire ants; not pleasant. Stay safe!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. A number of years ago my wife and I took two of our kids down to the east coast. On one particular day the family outing was whale watching off the Digby Neck. I'm not a little boat on big water guy so I decided to stay on land where it was "safe" and just wander the Neck taking some photos. Found a spot where some seals were playing in the water. They were out a bit so I hopped on some shore rocks to get closer. To my delight they started to come closer so I kept on snapping away. Heard a weird sound behind me and discovered the rocks I had hopped forward on were for the most part not there anymore. The Bay of Fundy tides are some of the strongest and fastest moving in the world. It had come in so fast I barely made it back to the real shore before even those rocks disappeared and it was only the sound of the lapping water that alerted me to the danger.

    I don't swim a stroke!

    I am more wary these days.
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  20. Bytesmiths

    Bytesmiths Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I'm pretty careful, but I worry about getting killed or injured by the carelessness of others! Especially while teaching skiing for 18 years, driving amid the crazies.

    But returning to the topic of photo craziness, one time I was cycling through the coastal redwoods of Northern California. It was a long, straight downhill through the 300' trees, and I was probably clipping along at close to 45 mph, with full panniers and camping gear, which makes it hard to stop suddenly.

    Up ahead, I saw a camper pulled off the road. "Odd," I thought, as I was watching the map on my handlebar bag, and there weren't any attractions or similar stopping points nearby. Reluctantly, I began to slow down.

    Then, through the tree-imposed dusk, I thought I saw something on the road, right in the middle, on the yellow stripe, about where I had been riding, to avoid the wheel ruts. I carefully moved to the hump between the wheel ruts in the left (oncoming) lane, so as to not have to "shoot the gap" between the object and the stopped RV.

    It wasn't until I was almost upon him that I saw a person lying on the road, pointing a camera in the air at the tall trees! "YOU IDIOT!" I screamed as I blasted by, but he was probably counting on the noise of a vehicle to give him warning, rather than a silent bicycle.

    Scared the crap out of him, as I saw him scrambling for the safety of his RV in my rear-view mirror!

    With more electric vehicles out there, please don't try this stupid stunt!

    Hear That?.
    • Wow Wow x 1
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