What Happened When I Broke My Leg While Filming Our Last Project

Last year, right around this time, Patrick and I booked a flight to Mexico to film Mike Kelley photographing the most expensive house ever sold in Playa Del Carmen. It certainly had the potential to be an incredible trip. The day before we were set to leave I decided to go out kiteboarding and I ended up breaking my tibia internally at my knee. For some reason I still went to Playa Del Carmen the next day. 

Immediately after the crash I called Patrick and told him that I probably shouldn't travel to Mexico. I feared that I wouldn't be able to walk and I wouldn't be of any help if I couldn't use my legs. Patrick didn't believe that I was seriously injured and he guilted me into going. Not only did he need my help moving gear, we had also booked extra days in Mexico to vacation and he didn't want to be stuck there alone. I reluctantly agreed to go. 

The next day I could barely get around with the help of a cane but I did have one of the most pleasant airport experiences of my life. I called Delta and lined up a wheelchair to and from all of my flights. This gave me VIP access through security. Delta was also kind enough to upgrade me to economy comfort and allowed me to board the plane before anyone else. The first wheelchair attendee told me that he isn't paid by Delta and lives 100% off the tips of his customers. I don't know if that is true but he did convince me to tip each of my wheelchair pushers well, it was certainly worth it. 

Our first day in Mexico I went to a local doctor and had X-Rays taken. The X-Rays didn't show a break but he suggested that I get an MRI when I got back home. Over a month later when I could finally get an MRI I found out that I had almost broken the top of my tibia off. The break was internal and that is why it didn't show up with an X-Ray. 

We finally made it over to the shooting location, a 12 million dollar home on the ocean, and we got to watch Mike work. Being that this was a real paying job we didn't want to bother Mike with our project until he was 100% done. We planned to film all of the lessons the next day once the client was totally satisfied. 

Mike ended up taking over 30 images of his home but he spent two days working on the main shot of the living room and view. The room was so large and the view was so big and bright, that lighting this scene was incredibly difficult. After messing up the first day, Mike was able to figure out a way to light the scene on the second day. 

At this point my knee was not getting any better but I thought I would still be able to help Patrick film the next day. Sadly, the next day, I ended up getting one of the worst cases of food poisoning in my entire life. You'll get to hear all about that in next weeks episode. 

To learn more about the full tutorial head over to the Fstoppers Store and stay tuned for next week's behind the scenes episode. 

Log in or register to post comments

6 Comments

michael andrew's picture

Did you snap your patella? Xray is not too descriptive?

Dave Hachey's picture

Ouch, that was really painful to watch. Great tutorial though...

Benjamin Thomson's picture

If it makes you feel any better Lee, I also cross my chopsticks.

Yes! I'm ashamed to say that I've started to learn the "proper" way to use chop sticks and now I struggle to do the X

Adam T's picture

you got ice in your drinks, didn't you?

Jacques du Toit's picture

Should have been wearing Patricks moonbots that you kept mocking about