Standing on Higher Ground

“…I see the world
And I’m looking from a high place
Way above it all
Standing on higher ground…”
~Alan Parsons Project

Firefighters and police officers prepare to rescue a man who was wash downstream in floodwaters a few days ago near Stonewall, Oklahoma. I made this image from atop a flatbed truck.
Firefighters and police officers prepare to rescue a man who was wash downstream in floodwaters a few days ago near Stonewall, Oklahoma. I made this image from atop a flatbed truck.
This is the rocket ship playground piece in Ada's Glenwood Park.
This is the rocket ship playground piece in Ada’s Glenwood Park.

At this point in my career, the firefighters in my community know that I will ask if I can stand on their fire trucks, or if they have it deployed, their ladder truck, to make pictures. Just a few days ago, at the scene of a water rescue, I asked the owner of a flatbed trash truck if I could climb on it, and he obliged.

Your host poses for a selfie on the fourth stage of a playground rocket today.
Your host poses for a selfie on the fourth stage of a playground rocket today.

There are very few things I won’t climb on or ride in that are high up or flying. Not only is this an excellent strategy for getting a clearer view of everything in my photos, and a smart play for making images that are out of the ordinary, I love climbing on stuff.

This shouldn’t come as any kind of surprise for those who have read the pages of our travel blog or my photo blog and seen the extremes I’ll explore for an image. Even when I can’t get on something high or in something flying, I tend to try to get my camera as high or low as I am able to reach, for the same reason: seeing things and photographing them from a different perspective.

This is the view of Main Street in Ada from the fourth state of the Glenwood Park rocket ship.
This is the view of Main Street in Ada from the fourth state of the Glenwood Park rocket ship.

One of my assignments today was to photograph the venerable four-stage rocket ship playground piece in Ada’s Glenwood Park. It’s been around for decades. I remembered at least one previous occasions on which I squoze through the holes and ladders to reach the top to photograph a child who was playing up there, and today I decided to climb it again, just to be climbing. I vaguely remembered that it swayed back and forth with my movements the last time I was up there, and sure enough, I was right. I have to admit that as it was swaying, I thought it would be hysterically funny (in a tragic way) if it fell over and the headline in my own newspaper would say I was killed in a rocket crash.

This was the only artsy image I was able to conjure from the climb, since the view in all directions was mostly obscured by trees. Still, it was nice to be atop a rocket for a change.
This was the only artsy image I was able to conjure from the climb, since the view in all directions was mostly obscured by trees. Still, it was nice to be atop a rocket for a change.
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6 Comments

  1. At least if I ever do read the headline that you were killed in a rocket crash, I’ll have some inkling of what they meant. 🙂

    Climbing things for photography is always fun:

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  2. Wil, you photo as posted gave me this message…

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  3. Just as well. The link made it through the second try. 🙂

    I do remember “get high or get low” was one of the tips I gave to new hires at our newspaper. (Yes, I was often tasked to teach photography tips to folks before I left, despite my own training and experience being very dubious…) Climb on something, kneel or lie down if possible.

    It’s nice that you keep posting these examples; it’s a reminder of how lazy I’ve become in my own photography. 🙂

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  4. I regularly consider elevated mast or pole photography. One of my Boston friend’s brother had a business in Florida where he sold pole systems for real estate photography.

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