Thursday, April 1, 2010

Because I like hurting myself! (Try not to throw up. I DARE you.)

"It's not a session with Emily if SOMEBODY doesn't get injured."
(I'm just kidding!!! :) )

It's practically my motto. Anytime someone trips on a shoot, I simply recite my motto and hold up my hands. "Told ya, peeps!" Nicole tore a ligament or something jumping off a tree stump at Muir Woods, Sarah ripped up her knee jumping into a pool in Las Vegas, I got covered in gigantic ant bites kneeling in the dirt at the Marin Headlands, I'm sure there's more. Feel free to list injuries sustained while trying to get "the perfect shot" in the comments. ;) Oh, the price of art and beauty!

I know you guys have been DYING to hear of the great horror of the engagement session from a few weeks back Well I have done some very intense soul searching (not) and have ultimately decided that. I will give you the short version.(Yes, this is the short version.)

Carrie & Richard, and I, of course had been shooting their engagement session in the Marin Headlands. All was well. Until we decided it was time to go to the beach.

So I set them up on the rocks. "Look this way, look that way, try not to look constipated, oh GORGEOUS GORGEOUS! Work IT! Work IT!" Amidst our amazing photo shoot, I momentarily pause to tighten up the length on my ShootSac so it's just a little higher up on my body. The water is just brushing against my feet, so in case a "big wave" came (I was soooo naiive.) and got me wet up to my knees or splashed my hips, I wouldn't get the bag, and therefore all of my camera equipment, and all of our car keys, wet.

Then I was underwater and face planted in the sand.
...HUH? you ask?

This GIGANTIC WAVE which had to be what? At least 12 feet high? 15 feet? came out of NOWHERE and crashed over all of us with no warning. Carrie and Richard were even LOOKING at the water and they had no time to react either. ALL of us, Carrie and Richard sitting on these rocks and me with one leg hiked up on top of it and leaning waaaay over were swept off the rocks and a good what, 6 feet? 10 feet? 15 feet? out in to the ocean. SERIOUSLY. One second I was adjusting my bag and the next I was face down in the sand, Carrie was drowning and Richard was trying to save us all. I kid you not. Had Richard not hauled Carrie out of the water and me onto my feet we probably would have all had our heads crushed in by the rocks- which were EXTREMELY sharp to just sit on.

When I blinked and was suddenly facedown, I immediately tried to get back up as fast as I could because I had my camera in my hand, and I was laying on top of my lens bag- my Shoot Sac. The force of... how do I say this.. .the suction of the wave? slapped me right back down again. I somehow got yanked on to my feet (pretty sure that was Superhero Richard) and I just took off running for the beach. (Yes, I left my clients to drown, but in my defense, Richard is a SUPERHERO whereas I was drowning. That's right, I didn't think you wanted me saving you. We'd both die, thank you very much.)

Richard and Carrie made it back to the beach and we all chuckled and panted while we walked back to our cars, pretty sure this session was over now! I disassembled my camera as soon as we got back, tried to dry it out as fast as possible, but sadly, even after a couple of weeks in a bag of rice (to draw out the moisture, apparently this works with cell phones, although I hadn't tried it before), my camera refuses to power on. :( My sweet baby Sony-loo will have to be shipped off to Laredo to be (hopefully) repaired by Sony for some outrageous sum of money I don't have. (Thankfully I have two other great cameras). Whewhoo! At least I am pretty sure he can be resuscitated. After all, this IS his second drowning incident. (The other was back in 2008 with Eric and Jamie at Baker Beach. That accident was not quite as dramatic though...)

Once I stopped hyperventiliating over the fact that I had to get the camera back to the car and dry, I realized my foot kinda hurt. Actually, it kinda hurt alot. Carrie & Richard went to get cleaned up at the showers, but I intended on just heading for home... but my darn foot. So I looked at my feet.

This is what I saw. (Gross, right?)

I managed to narrow down the pain to my left foot. So I did some feverish dusting and wiping and started whimpering in ever-increasing pain and spotted THIS:

They were all over the bottom of my feet, but this was the biggest/fanciest one. You know what that is? That is SAND imbeded UNDER MY SKIN. Somehow, the force of the wave slamming me into the sand, burying and pushing my feet into it, (probably coupled with some light abrasions from my bare feet dragging across the rocks as I got pulled off,) caused sand to be blown into the bottoms of my feet like shrapnel. Like SHRAPNEL. LIKE FROM.A.GUN.

Of course I had to pause in my ever-increasing whimpering to take pictures for you.
Check it out baby. That is SAND imbeded IN MY SKIN. And hey, guess what? These pieces are mostly still there. Maybe, just maybe, if you ask real nice and pay me a nickel I'll let you check out my battle wounds. Maybe. We'll see.

I got doctored up by some random person when I limped down to the bathrooms, and it really didn't look all that bad really, I mean, it hurt like a you -know-what and I about screamed in terror when Carrie offered to pour a little alcohol on the open wounds as I performed surgery with a disinfected pair of tweezers from her purse, however, it was apparently worse than it looked. I got bandaged up, but during the couple hour (less some) drive home in which my foot (again) throbbed like a you-know-what and I started crying to myself with my one-woman pity-party, I managed to gush blood through all of the bandaids and soak the t-shirt I had under it with misc. bodily fluids. (Quesy yet? The term "bodily fluids" tends to get to most people.)

I called my dad for advice, called the advice nurse, who called the ER doc, who called me back and we all collectively decided I could wait overnight as long as I wasn't running a temperature and my foot wasn't exploding with more weird stuff but that I had to go to the weekend clinic first thing in the morning, and I may end up in the ER anyway if I needed stitches or sutures, which I doubted I would, but being the fraidy cat I am, I begged them to let me try the clinic first.

Next morning, I've gushed through all my fresh dressings of course, am running a temperature at the doctor's, and the nurses are all having a fantastic time telling and retelling my fantastic story around the office (I can hear them through the door, "And THEN this HUGE wave came and there was a SHARK I think, it was a GREAT WHITE and it BIT OFF HER WHOLE FOOT!") The doctor who treated me, however was lame, lame, lame for many reasons which I won't go into, but after some debate decided I could skip the sutures, absolutely had to go on oral antibiotics given the fever (2,000 mg a day x 10 days), and got a sterile dressing lesson from another lame nurse, who so badly wrapped my foot that I again, saturated all of the dressings and had blood all over the bottom of my foot by the time I made the 15 minute drive home. (Seriously? People the BANDAID held up better than this! And they wrapped my whole foot!)

It's been three weeks? Maybe four weeks? Since this all went down and I am free of limping (that went on for 2 weeks) and bandages, and it looks like I am going to end up with a scar in the arch of my foot, several pieces of imbeded sand (the doctor said, "Oh we don't need to take those out. It will build up some scar tissue, and it may be painful for the rest of your life every time you step on it, but that's ok.") and a big black spot where that pocket of sand (first close up foot pic) was. It shaved my skin basically clean off right down to red tissue- you could see all the layers of skin there, and then just a bright red bloody mess once we took the chunk of dead skin off. Nasty. So it's black now. (Did you throw up? Do I win?)

Carrie also sustained some nasty injuries - scrapes down the side of her leg and on top of her foot- which I believe prevented her from wearing shoes for a week- Mr. Superhero, of course, escaped unscathed. (That's what Superheros do you know.) Although, Richard did get a wallet packed with sand:

I also got to go home with some super cool corrupted images:

(Never fear, these were the only two we lost. :) )

I do have to really say thank you to Jessica Claire and the makers of Shoot Sac though... Despite all that happened, even the corrosion of my camera, everything that was in my
ShootSac stayed safe. Seriously. I had a second camera body, three lenses, two sets of car keys, batteries and two flashes stuffed in there. ALL of them stayed safe and dry. They are all fine. And they went under water with me. When I faceplanted, I landed on top of my bag and buried it in the sand. That thing went totally underwater- I was completely soaked. (I was wearing two shirts, one of which was tucked into my pants and I still got sand in my belly button, yet NOT the bag!) When I opened up my bag (which doesn't even have a zipper- they are simply pockets), save for a drop of water here or there absolutely everything in that bag was bone dry. That saved me lord knows how many thousands of dollars in equipment by having my stuff in a ShootSac rather than in a regular backpack style camera bag.

Thank you very, very much to Jessica and ShootSac for using materials which protected, essentially, my job and livelihood. Thank you!

And in memorium of this amazing day of blood and gore, I leave you with the last shot, taken mere milliseconds before the storm:

Have a great Thursday, y'all!
PS: No, this is not an April Fool's joke. Although, I am pregnant with a litter of kittens. No seriously, I really am...

2011 Update: One Year Later...

I can tell you that:

1.) Carrie still had bruises, scrapes and scars on her legs at her wedding a few weeks after this [we shot in February, wedding was May 1st].
2.) My camera was totally not repairable at all and was shipped back to me. It now lives in a laundry basket because I can't bear to throw it away. Oh, I love it so.
3.) Carrie and Richard celebrated their 1st wedding anniversary today!
4.) I totally have a scar on the arch of my foot and it was about six months before all of the dead black skin and funky skin growth started looking normal.
5.) Richard is totally still a superhero. Except now he is stamped "Property of Carrie" somewhere on him. :)

And they lived happily ever after... (far, far away from the ocean).


Jayde said...

I've been curious about the incident since you first mentioned it and very glad that you finally explained. I am so sorry about the trouble, but I must say, I will be looking into getting a ShootSacfor myself. I haven't done many shoots yet, but I am VERY ungraceful and will surely be in need of something durable to protect what little gear I have at the moment. Thanks for sharing the story!

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Thank you, Emily for giving me the link to this! The reason I heard about this is because I was talking to my mom on the phone, and she said she came across a really cool photography blog and the writer was super funny! She said there was a story about getting swept off to sea with a camera and that she would try to find the link for me again. She said she didn't know how she had gotten to the blog, then I said, "Mom, do you think you clicked on it from my blog? Was her name Emily?" Because I remembered that you are funny. And she said, yes, that she thought that was the name. Thus, my question to you about this story!

I haven't read it yet because I'm getting ready for church, but I can't wait to read it when I come home. Thaks again for sharing the link!