So, yesterday, I mentioned how I did not want to shoot a picture of a bear in a parking lot at night with a flash due to the uncontrollable response that it might have provoked in the bear. That seems a little unbalanced to me. I don’t like Yin without Yang.
So, instead of getting you in trouble, a camera can also save your bacon when you really need it to. For instance, back in the B.C. (Before Cellphone) calendar days, I was returning from a military school in San Antonio, at night on a lonely stretch of West Texas highway about two hours out of Lubbock. For those unfamiliar with the territory, that’s still two hours from nowhere. During my stay in San Antonio, someone had graciously relieved me of my full-sized spare tire mounted under the vehicle. I have since learned this is a pretty common, quick way for them to pick up easy money at the pawn shop/auto store. I had just passed through a small Texas town, (read closed after six p.m), and was about 7 or 8 miles past when I heard the familiar, WUMP, WUMP, WUMP of a flat tire. There wouldn’t be another town for 15 or twenty miles so, I got out ready to change the tire and SURPRISE, no spare. No problem, I had been driving for a few hours anyway and a 7 mile stretch would be good for a couple of hour walk in the dark… I packed up my necessaries and set off on foot, back to the small town I had passed. The highway I had broken down on was a four-lane with a grass median in the middle. I went to the far side and started back-tracking. I had gone about three hundred yards when I noticed a police cruiser had pulled in behind my vehicle and was inspecting the flat. I turned and began sprinting back toward my vehicle, knowing the police officer couldn’t see me as it was after dark. As I saw his brake lights come on and he shifted into gear to pull away, I was still about two hundred yards short, he couldn’t hear my yelling and was going to continue on his way. At that point I reached into my camera bag and pulled out my external flash unit, (the big ones that sit on top), and began popping off repeated flashes until the officer saw my light and turned his car around. I got a ride back into town and the vehicle tire was repaired the next morning with no further delay.
Quick story #2: I was driving from Santa Fe to Albuquerque, about 75 miles, when a truckload of teenagers with the family SUV began playing silly games on the interstate. Driving in front of my vehicle, slowing down to 20 miles below the speed limit, letting me pass, then repeating the process over again, etc. After the second or third time of this I realized someone was going to get hurt very quickly playing silly games like that on the interstate, so I reached into my camera bag, certain I wasn’t dealing with armed drug-runners, but silly teenagers, pulled out my camera and made sure they saw me taking their pictures the next time they started their little games. The very next exit they got off of the interstate and didn’t cause me any further problems. I never saw them again after that.
So, what’s all of this mean? The tools at your disposal are limited only by your own imagination, be it a camera, a firearm, or even a pack of gum, (Thanks Macgyver). The money in your pocket can be either a blessing or a curse depending on how you use it and what you use it for . If you think you’re completely out of options, do a quick reassessment and see if there might be anything you may have overlooked, sometimes even the smallest things can be real Lifesavers.