Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Jim Oltersdorf works on the edge to get wild and unique photographs of wildlife and nature as a whole
High-risk and extreme photography begins by completely understanding the difficult tasks at hand. Says Oltersdorf emphatically, “Interestingly enough, what appears to be a simple situation should be looked at very closely. That should be a bell that rings loudly in your ear that all may not be what it appears to be. In those situations, it can be an almost imperceptible ‘window’ that allows one to pass through, and in a few seconds, it closes up on you. It can go from a sunny and glorious carefree day to death staring you in the face in seconds in this business.”
Adds Oltersdorf, “The most dangerous part of doing this most of the time is having an air-to-air collision. You only get one.”
“High-risk and extreme photography isn’t always about hanging off 1,000-foot cliffs or things like that,” says Oltersdorf. “It can be just the part of getting to or being at the location of the shoot.”
During the night, the winds began to blow with hurricane-like force, shredding and flattening the tent the students were in. Oltersdorf’s expedition-grade tent was so badly damaged that it had to be sent back to the factory for replacement. On the Alaskan tundra, a tent is the only shelter to afford protection from potential deadly elements. Incessant rain fell, and the potential for a soaking was very real, along with hypothermia. They made it through. The next day, a grizzly charged at Oltersdorf, but luckily stopped short. Over the years of living with the bears during the summer, it was the first time he had been charged by one. He normally sees between 25 and 35 grizzlies a day and has encountered no problems over all those years. This time was very different. A few heart-pounding seconds later, Oltersdorf was back doing what he loves to do the most in life—photographing.
Page 2 of 4
Get 11 Issues of Outdoor Photographer for only $14.97!
That's 77% off the cover price!