What's the worst that could happen? 8 photography horror stories

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Photographer Ryan Dyar is probably one of the best in the world when it comes to shooting amazing landscape locations.

As part of a print giveaway recently, he asked his 65,000-odd followers on instagram to share their best "this photo shoot went terribly wrong" story. To save you reading through the 1,000 or so responses, we've compiled our favourites below. As you might expect, there's the (not so) good, the bad, and then the just plain disturbing. Enjoy.

  • Ryanwrightphoto I've got a doosy! I just returned two weeks ago from Iceland and during that time I had easily the worst photo experience I've ever had. We were at Kirkjufellsfoss and the weather had finally cleared. As we were taking photos, a friend asked me to smile for a picture. I turned, smiled and she took the pic. My tripod was somewhat precariously perched next to the waterfall, there was no wind and I didn't bump it but while my back was turned...it fell in. I watched in horror as it went over the edge of the waterfall into the pool below. We scrambled down to the water's edge and I jumped into the glacial water. Me and a friend spent the next 15-20 minutes in the water or scanning the water to find any trace of my camera. No such luck. Attached was a rental lens too. I hadn't filled up my 64 GB card yet and didn't bring a laptop to upload photos to, so I lost every photo I took during the trip.

  • Ryanwhitephotoworks The one sunrise when I was shooting Lake Helene. I'm all set up on the edge of the water. I look behind me to see where I can step and the tripod tips over forwards and my D810 takes a plunge, complete submersion. Within a second I pull it out and somehow, it's working and the lens is functional. I get everything set up and am just waiting for the sun to rise. My gf yells something to me from afar so I turn around and say "what?" The camera falls forward again, into the water, a second time. The camera still worked but the lens was not functional at that point. The camera stopped working soon after...the rice trick did not work! That was an expensive and terrifyingly humbling experience.

  • simon_atkinson_landscape Back in 2010, I'd just recently upgraded to the Nikon D300, my absolute pride and joy at the time. I was very much into my seascapes and had gotten very used to standing in the sea, waist deep, camera on tripod, as waves came in, it was just part and parcel of seascape shooting, until this one occasion, I saw the mother of all waves approaching. Instantly, the fight or flight instinct kicked in but I'd already pressed the shutter and was recording a long exposure! Some stupid, insignificant part of my brain thought I should leave the camera on the tripod as I waded through the water frantically trying to get back to the beach as if being chased by a great white! I just managed to get back to the beach as this wave was rushing passed me, I instantly turned around....to nothingness, no tripod, no camera. The realisation of how idiotic I had just been kicked in. I rushed back in, almost as if it was my child in there drowning! As the sea receded, I saw the distinct shape of a tripod leg pointing up out of the water, I rushed over and grabbed my baby, but it was too late?it was smoking and sparking before finally giving up its last breathe (I thought Nikon said it was weatherproof?!?) I still think of that camera and the future we could have had together. It wasn't even insured (who needs to insure a camera huh?! And how would you ever explain that to the insurance company anyway haha) the only positive to come out of it was it made me go out and buy a Canon 5DmkII.

  • tristan.todd.photography I learned the hard way to not leave camera bags unattended... I had climbed down some rocks to the waters edge to try out a foreground that interested me. Not even giving it another thought, I took off my backpack and put it behind me while I set up my tripod and camera. The comp looked like it was going to work, so I waited for the perfect wave. The wave came and I was super excited, but then the waves kept getting bigger and bigger. Suddenly a huge one came in and soaked me, but I managed to lift up my gear in time to avoid it being drenched. I relaxed, thinking the worst had passed. But then I turned around... my camera bag was gone. I turned back to the water and sure enough, my camera bag was now a camera boat in the distance. A boat with two lenses and some batteries in it. I stared dumbfounded for a few minutes, not knowing what to think. I waited around for awhile and eventually it drifted close the rocks, so I extended my tripod and fished it out. When I opened the bag it was like dumping a bucket of seawater - the lenses were waterlogged beyond repair and batteries corroded. Lesson learned for sure!

  • ienjoyhiking I shot a waterfall during the fall a couple of years ago. The day after, I read a news article that said someone had fallen and died there around 4:30 pm. I realized I was there just a few minutes after 4:30. I wasn't very close to the waterfall and had used a telephoto to shoot the falls. I pulled up my photos and zoomed in at the base of the waterfall and found the body. I haven't looked at the photos since or shot the falls again.

  • petercoskunnaturephotography One time I was hiking to hidden lake in glacier hoping to get a shot like this only to find out when I arrived it was completely fogged in. Almost zero visibility. Plus there was a grizzly bear warning, but it was my birthday and wanted to shoot the lake. I headed up the trail thinking how dumb I must be to walk alone in the fog in grizzly country. I got about halfway up when I heard crunching off trail. I rounded a blind corner and a giant ram jumped right in front of me causing me to turn around and consider a new pair of pants. I didn't get up to the lake that morning, but I returned for sunset only to have a gnarly storm crash down with lightning less than a mile away. I high tailed it down the trail and when I got to the parking lot there were about 40 rams which decided to group together and charge the car as I left the parking lot. I finally managed to get some shots there the final morning of the trip, but I didn't know what I was doing anyways....

  • andrew.santiago_On vacation out in California on a shooting trip, headed out to Inyo forest and the lone pine area. Sunset was approaching and I was super excited as after a winter on the east coast this was probably the first colorful sunset I was going to see in months. I was setting up looking for a composition, my tripod was a bit more extended then it should have been but I was so caught up in my excitement that I neglected to realize that I should probably be careful. Now the quick release plate was kind of loose so as I was previewing my comp the camera was sliding down (I was set up for a poitrait, no L bracket) let go of the tripod and turned around for a second and bam. D610 on the ground, mirror lodged out of place, couldn't shoot at all. Worst part is the sunset was the most amazing I've seen in my entire LIFE. Pink as far as the eye could see left right upside down and side ways. I held back tears of joy and sadness as I watched the bittersweet sunset.

  • tony_fuentes_nv Drove an hour for a night shoot, hiked down to the spot, no SD card in camera, hiked backed to car pissed off, threw gear in trunk and closed it, couldn't find keys, realize there were in the trunk, doors on passenger side locked (didn't bother to check driver side for whatever reason), called a friend to come pick me up from an hour and away, friend was 15 minutes away, decided to check driver side, it was open, popped the trunk and called friend and told them I was an idiot. Good times.

Let us know any of yours in the comments.

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