Time for Reflection

John Frelich

Well here many of us sit waiting out the Covid-19 pandemic before we plan where our next photographic adventure will take us. There are many topics for consideration and for this blog I chose to just call everyone’s attention to the dangers we face while photographing and to just think about them should we be faced with them again.

Everyone faces risk to some degree and we react differently; sometimes not to our best advantage. Having volunteered with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes for over 10 years I’ve seen and photographed several instances of questionable decisions.

How many times have we had a hat or other piece of clothing blow off on the side of a cliff or elsewhere? Our immediate reaction is to reach for it or better yet, use another article to grab it. In this case a tripod was used while the person held onto a branch for support. There was a sheer drop to his immediate right.

Lost Hat

When we’ve seen a great opportunity for the perfect image, how many times have we gone it by ourselves at places such as the South Rim of the Grand Canyon?

All alone

In the this image the person flexed her legs because it was very windy and she appeared to try and gain some needed stability. No one else was with her on this point overlooking the canyon.

All alone 2

This image shows a photographer by himself. However, within a minute or so two others from our group joined him.

Does safety automatically increase when there are numbers of persons around? Not necessarily.

All alone 3

In this image a group of around a dozen persons gathered when this bagpiper stopped to serenade everyone. The sound was magnificent but did he have to stand right by the edge??

Chain gang

Here is a classic in itself. When I heard several persons gasping I went over to see what was happening. Being very concerned we offered to assist the trio because it was a sheer drop from where they were standing below the edge of the rim. They politely refused assistance saying they were from Nepal and they did this all the time. That said it all and everyone dispersed after a couple of minutes so they could continue with their bravado and not be distracted by others. You be the judge.

My final two images were also taken during our workshops and like the rest of the images did not necessarily include participants from our workshop(s).


While photographing at Horseshoe Bend Overlook early one morning I looked to my right and something caught my eye. Yes, a couple was exercising doing contortions by the edge of the cliff. If you were to blow up the image you would also see they sere filming themselves with what appeared to be a movie camera on a tripod. Shades of Cirque du Soleil.


Lastly, never forget the danger(s) of lightning while in the field. This was from a Chasing the Monsoon Workshop. It’s great to photograph during inclement weather but remember, lightning at times is from the ground upwards, not just cloud to cloud. All of us were sitting in a car.

Fellow photographers are an independent and restless breed. We try our best to keep you safe but some forethought and preventive actions make success that much easier.

John Frelich is a Photo Guide with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes