Splat!

Have you ever had an embarrassing moment when out with your camera? I bet most of you have. On Monday I surpassed all my previous embarrassing moments. I thought you might enjoy a laugh at my expense.

Monday was the first day when the sun shone in at least a month. That’s a slight exaggeration but its does seem an awful long time (and this April has been pronounced the wettest in over a 100 years). So I was out with the camera doing a bit of catching up on this bizarre Spring that one commentary has described as suffering ‘Arrested Development’.

Late morning I ended up in a park south of Milton Keynes where there is a cricket pitch beautifully set in an area of parkland surrounded by trees with terracing for spectators, where on the right sort of summer’s day (any chance of one of those this year?) people can lounge and enjoy their picnics.

Light was filtering through the trees opposite and I captured the picture you see here (do click to see it enlarged). I could see deep shadows thrown by the trees and thought: there’s a wide-angle image over there if I get up close. So I walked round the perimeter and along the top of the terracing, camera in hand. I wanted a low viewpoint, so started to descend the terracing. Squelching through wet grass on the terraces where the heavy rain had failed to soak into the ground; stepping carefully down the steepish sloping bits. I took a look back up and thought, just down one more level. You can guess what’s coming…

Down the next slope, and in a millisecond I was airborne. Feet slid from under me, I took off and… SPLAT! I landed heavily on my posterior in an inconveniently hidden muddy puddle in the grass of the next terrace several feet below. My head hit the bank behind me – I saw stars for a moment. Muddy water flew everywhere. Up my back, down my arms. My dark blue trousers instantly became khaki fatigues. I dripped muddy water. My rucsac (thankfully water-proofed) had cushioned my back somewhat, but had suffered a similar fate. And worst of all, my camera cradled in a muddy hand looked like it had spent a week in a very wet muddy jungle. A choice word or two escaped my lips. Thankfully there was no-one in sight, my embarrassment was mine alone. Thankfully too I escaped injury although my head had smacked the ground quite hard. Staggering to my feet, I grabbed a few tissues to wipe down the camera – it looked a sorry mess.

I now resembled a vagrant who had been sleeping rough in a muddy ditch. The shoot was over! Nothing for it but to head home. So I set off to walk the half mile back to the car, thankfully unobserved. Then came the next problem – how to get home in wet muddy trousers without ruining the seat of the wife’s car. Fortunately there was an empty cardboard box in the rear of the car – I flattened that into a seat cover fairly easily.

Gentlemen, you know how it is when you’ve done something foolish and you are on your way home to tell ‘the wife’. You try out a few opening gambits on the way… I tried to think of one while I drove. Make a joke of it, feign serious injury, tell a white lie. Go for the sympathy vote. Nothing I thought of sounded very convincing. Maybe I should just look pathetic

I only got three words out: “I’ve had a…….” One look was all it took: ‘I want all those clothes off immediately’ she said. Now, there was a time, some years ago, when that command might have quickened the pulse but not on this occasion. If the washing machine had been any larger I think I might have been invited to climb into it fully clothed. Stripped down to my socks (not a pretty sight) I went in search of replacement garments and retreated to the dog-house with the words: ‘Don’t go thinking you can spend the afternoon poring over all your new photos’ ringing in my ears.

So I mowed the grass instead, after spending an hour armed with alcohol swabs, cotton buds and tissues cleaning up the camera. Thankfully, the lens escaped the worst of it. The camera body cleaned up well and looks as good as new – and most importantly, it works. Nikon bodies are built to cope with punishment.

Later that night, I dared to take my first sneaky look at the images.

I hope I’ve at least brought a smile to your face. An event like this is always funnier looking back. It’s not something I will forget in a hurry. How many of you have something similar to relate, I wonder?

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About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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22 Responses to Splat!

  1. Adam Allegro says:

    Thanks for the Wednesday morning laughs. I have done this multiple times, most recently being in Venice, where i came inches from falling in the canal, gear and all. Nice shot today! I know anxious we can get when we have new shots to review and process!!

  2. rigmover says:

    Thanks for the laugh, glad to hear you and your gear are unscathed, cool photo.

  3. Len says:

    Great image and story Andy. You are not alone on this. I have a couple of those stories. The worst was when I was shooting Otter Beach in Acadia National Park. I saw a couple of other photographers on this flat rock and I decided to try it out. One step on and down I went (they were standing on the dry section of the rock). Tore up my leg, broke my camera (good news, only cost $250 to fix) and had to drive 8 hours home, bleeding and hurting. What we photographers go through (usually self-inflicted).

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Len for your comment. Sounds like a nasty fall. Rocks that are wet can be a nightmare. They don’t look slippy but they can be like glass – wherever they are. I’ve done exactly the same high up a mountain but thankfully it was my pride that got injured not the body!

  4. hdrexposed says:

    Now, I take no joy what-so-ever in other peoples’ displeasure but now that I know that you are all right and so is the camera, I can’t help but chuckle a little, mainly because I’ve been there myself! For me the worst was in the snow, feet out from under me walking down the steps, camera thrown eight feet in the air…and landed right on my lap at the bottom. Whew! This shot is amazing too man, as always!

  5. Oh I know that feeling!!! While I was shooting some wild horses they were drinking water down by the valley, well I didn’t realize that there was water going through the sand and their I went camera, flat on my behind down that hill with the mud slide!!! The funny thing was I didn’t care if I got hurt all I did was cover my camera up!!! Great shot!

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Laz. You know you’re a photographer when you put the camera first! It looks like a few of us have taken a tumble while holding a camera.

  6. leadinlines says:

    Nice post, made me chuckle. Yup, if you call tripping over my own tripod along the Thames Embankment and falling over, then yes, I’ve embarrassed myself….

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Marc. It’s nice that I’m not the only one that makes a fool of himself occasionally. Seems we’re all a bit accident prone.

  7. Oh you poor guy. I’m glad tha tyou’re okay that’s the important thing…and you’re camera. Wonderful image though and you’re right its amazing when viewing the large version.

  8. Rick says:

    Oh, ouch! Glad you are ok and just came away with some mud and dirty clothes. I’m glad you can laugh about it. 🙂

  9. Glad to know you came out of it okay, Andy. That was a nasty spill. We can all smile about it now. 😉

    Really nice image, man.

  10. Great story. Sorry for the pain of that embarrassing experience. But, from that beautiful image it looks like it was worth it??

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Mark. The image you see is the shot before I fell. I was hoping to catch a close up of a couple of trees with their shadows. Never made that shot – maybe I will be back next week. I don’t give up easily.

  11. Great story, and I’m glad to hear the camera, I mean you, are ok. 🙂

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