Part of being an action sports photographer is getting as close as possible to the thrills happening right before you. But how close is too close? See two famous surf photographers come perilously close to losing it all in deathly surf recently.
The adrenaline rush that you can get as a sports action photographer is almost incomparable to any other form of photography. Placing yourself meters or even centimeters from the athletes or combatants in action sports can really get the blood flowing and the heart pumping. Whether you're thousands of feet up a frighteningly steep cliff face, dangling by some flimsy cables trying to capture free-climbers, or plummeting out of the sky so fast your cheeks are tickling your ears as you try to capture skydivers, the surge of energy sure beats working in a studio shooting uncooperative teenagers.
However, for all the thrills and spills, the danger can sometimes come at a price. During a recent run of huge swells in Tahiti, surfers at Teahupoo were trading giant, gaping barrels as spectators and photographers hooted from the channel. It was the stuff of dreams for everyone there until a rogue set came in and almost swallowed a boat, tipping it vertical as it scrambled to get over the wave's lip. Some photographers were not so fortunate, and got thrown off the back. See it all unfold here.
What's the most dangerous situation you've ever encountered while out photographing?