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These Photographers Went All Out for the Perfect Shot

Frozen Lake Michigan

Taking a great photo that you can proudly share on your online portfolio is more than getting a stunning visual result. It’s a process. First, there’s the spark of an idea. Then, there’s the planning and the execution (unless that magical moment you captured was a complete surprise – that happens often too!). Last, there’s the editing – by this stage, you probably already know you have something promising in your hands.

Every great shot has a story – not just in front of the shutter, but behind it. We’d like to dedicate today’s post to the most brave, adventurous and spunky photographers, who went one step further than expected to take THE shot. When we asked our Facebook followers how far they would go for their perfect photograph, we never thought we’d hear so many captivating stories and see such outstanding results. Here are the stories behind the photos that fascinated us the most:

an eagle landing on water

Sean St. Denis waited for hours for this eagle to dive on its prey. When it finally landed, it took a while for the bird to feel comfortable around his photo-predator. From 32 GB of images of the feast, it was actually one of the very last photos that made it to the final cut (5th before last, but who’s counting?).

Man standing on a cliff

Callum Bourke climbed to the highest point of the Peak District in England in just a pair of skinny jeans and oxfords while facing some snowy and icy conditions. Carrying a bulky tripod and other photography gear didn’t add to the comfort of the situation either. The super heavy fog didn’t stop him from setting the camera to a long timer and running to the top of a 600 ft high rock, which was also icy and slippery… Anything for THE shot.

Taylor Swift in a concert

Emily Von Fraunhofer had to charm a security guard at a certain music venue (that shall remain nameless), to let her in with a telephoto lens. After many refusals, he finally gave in and helped her smuggle it in… She then had to befriend two concert goers so she could sit on an incredibly hard armrest in between their two seats for the entire concert. All this just to have a good angle of the artist’s stage change. Risking the entrance to the concert and having a sore bum for weeks was definitely worth it to get this amazing shot of Taylor Swift!

Coal cars from above

Sebastiano Stia is a passionate traveler and photography professor, who dedicated the last few years to documenting his adventures around the world. Aiming for a top shot of coal cars while in Virginia, he tied a rope to the tow hitch of his truck and rappelled down the side of the bridge. Next thing he knew was being pulled up by some local officers. Boy, was it worth it!

boy on a swing

Katie Harris likes to lay around, but not out of laziness: according to her words, she’s the queen of laying on the ground, concrete, dirt or even in the middle of a crowd to get the perfect shot! In this magically captured childhood moment, she barely escaped getting a shoe in the face. What a brave sole! (Sorry, pun very much intended.)

NYC from above

From the jungle to the urban jungle - Jesse Kilmon climbed 75 flights of stairs and three floors of ladders to get this bird’s eye view of the NYC megapolis. To resist the high winds, he had to strap himself with his belt to the railing. But the real challenge was shielding his camera from shaking. Now that’s taking camera stabilization to a whole new level!

Close up of a tornado

Speaking of high winds… James Smart is an adventurous landscape photographer and an avid storm chaser. Although in this striking shot, it may appear that the storm is actually the one chasing him. There were a number of tornadoes in the area that day, but James and his friends chose to go after the most outstanding one, visually. They were able to get reasonably close to capture this awe-inspiring beauty of a beast. Looks like for James, the question is not “how far would you go”, but “how close”… It was worth the risk though: in 2015 this image won Grand Prize in the world renowned National Geographic photography contest.

Frozen Lake Michigan

Thomas Nighswander told us he wasn’t even looking for a moment to capture: he stumbled upon this view while scouting conditions for an upcoming photography workshop. His pro camera was packed away, but luckily, he carried a compact Fuji camera in his coat pocket, and thus was able to snap a couple of quick images. He didn’t even think much of it before reviewing the day’s images over dinner… The photo, now titled “Standing Guard over Lake Michigan”, has won Best Image of the Year by Fuji Film 2015 and has been featured on The Weather channel. This story just goes to show, photographers should always be prepared for anything.

woman sunbathing in an abandoned pool

From a frozen lake to a point frozen in time. Katarina Tamova was riding her bike for hours in a 40-celsius heat on Rhodes island in Greece when she found this old abandoned swimming center. As she was aiming for the perfect shot, she had to be extra careful not to fall into the empty pool. Believe it or not, but this image didn’t go through any post production! You can literally see the heat rising in the air.

sunrise over fjords in Norway

When Nevin Xavier plans to capture the perfect shot, he doesn’t settle for anything less. Instead, he settles on top of a mountain in Norway for the night, so he can catch the most majestic of all sunrises. Would you camp in the arctic circle for a photo?

Bruarfoss falls

Bruarfoss is one of Iceland’s most photographed waterfalls, and almost every shot is from the bridge overlooking it. Photographer Lance Sagar wanted to get something a bit different so he decided to get right in there! In this image, we’re looking straight down the chasm, which is a very unique point of view on this magical place. Lance told us, that by the time he got out, his boots had frozen to his trousers, which in turn had frozen to his tripod. He was walking like a broken robot, but it was totally worth it (and we couldn’t agree more).

bonfire in front of a Yurt in Mongolia

To warm us up from Lance’s freezing story, let’s travel to the other side of the world, or more specifically – Central Asia. Daniel Thomas, who captured this photo, told us he drove 17,000km all the way from London to Kyrgyzstan. What we see here is a Yurt stay in the wild, where the friendly locals feed their guests and give them a place to sleep for the night, with enough firewood to last all night. Heartwarming hospitality indeed.

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