I wondered what are the most thrilling and chilling photography assignments. Fellow travelers and shutter bugs what are the six most dangerous jobs for photographers? What are the most adventurous, riskiest photographic assignments?
National Geographic (NG), the official journal of the National Geographic Society and wildly popular with adventurers and explorers since 1888, lists the six riskiest, hair-raising ones. They are the jobs that can launch a photographer or photojournalism career and produce awe-inspiring iconic images.
Do you have safety gear? Are you an adventurer with a good camera?
The National Geographic article has tips on tools, techniques and gear to pack for each of the six assignments. The information is really helpful even if you’re not going pro. Here are the six most dangerous jobs and a few insiders’ tips of the trade, and videos of photographers that work in these specialized fields.
Weather and Disasters
Well most people run for cover when hurricanes, earthquakes and other bad weather and disasters occur; photographers run for their camera.
NG tips: use a tripod in high wind conditions, protective eye gear, and slow shutter speed to catch the raindrops, high ISO and not flash. I’d add rain gear.
Storm Chaser: A Photographer’s Journey
War correspondents and photographers go where the action is; packing Kevlar body armor and helmet with camera. Robert Capa and others made their careers while risking their lives to get the photo story in war-torn countries around the world.
NG tips: learn local language, memory cards in protective cases, Kevlar body armor and helmet.
Lions, tigers and bears oh are magnificent to photograph in their natural environments.
Tips: use telephoto lens for close-ups so you don’t have to get too close up, photograph the animal’s eyes, and anticipate action i.e. they may charge you.
Wildlife Photography Tips
NASCAR, the Indy 500 and auto racing are exciting for audiences and produce mind-bending pictures of sports cars racing around the turn.
Tips: shoot at the center point of the bend in the racetrack, use manual focus, and tilting the camera gives the illusion of speed. Tilting the camera works. I did this trick while photographing a cycling race.
Formula One Photography
Caving is a fun sport or hike if you’re not claustrophobic. I’ve done caving and started with large, colorful caves that are well-maintained by a national or state park service.
Tips: put someone in the shot for scale, wear safety gear and LED head lamp for a light source. I’d add photographing by or near an underground water source like a lake for reflections and additional interesting shots.
Jacques Cousteau was a scientist and explorer that worked with talented underwater photographers and really helped to build this genre. If you are a skilled diver not afraid of sharks, this may be the career for you.
Tips: take photos at 3-4 feet deep, turn the camera upside down for less shadow, and use white balance and internal flash at 3 feet.
Those are some pro tips of the trade. There are more tips, camera settings and suggested cameras for each risky job at National Geographic: The Most Dangerous Jobs for a Photographer.