I have done some strange stuff to get photographs. My first year (3rd year of college) at Syracuse U. (1969-70) I broke into an abandoned house to take photos. Eventually a local’s attention was aroused by my car parked out front and he walked in – and showed me the .38 tucked into his belt. I exited quickly – but got an ‘A’ on my assignment (picture story).
In Germany in 1970, after a night of some very hard partying, me and a buddy decided to go out before sunrise to take some snaps. As we walked around the corner, we bumped into a drunk German who stuck a .25 Beretta into my stomach and asked for a cigarette.
Fortunately, I am fluent in German so I asked him what the gun was for. He said it was in case I didn’t have any cigarettes. Neither me nor my friend smoked, so we did a 180 and started to run. We ran so far we needed to take a trolley back to the hotel.
Today I decided to photograph in the rain and fog, so I went out to a stretch of Ave. 42 on the other side of the freeway (Indio, Ca.). I pulled over to an area that was clearly marked ‘no trespassing’, but that has rarely stopped me in the past, so me and my camera and a small ladder I use to get some height trudged through the wet sand to take some photos. As I am finishing, I turn and watch as a car pulls up behind mine. Then another pulls up, and another. I have three cars behind me and am wondering why I was not carrying today.
Then a car pulls up in front of my car. As I approach my car, a guy gets out of his vehicle just as I reach mine. Black belt or no black belt, I am no match for so many people. I open the trunk to stow my gear; and I say ‘good morning’ to the very large fellow who is about 8 feet from me He nods and walks back to the next car to talk to the driver. I’m sliding behind the wheel and locking my doors as he returns to his car.
From the looks of things, it was a caravan of people who got off at the wrong freeway exit. The lead car turned around and the others followed. I turned back on to the road and continued my journey, a bit relieved, with a laugh and a good story to tell.