The plan was to take photos of a base jump from the tallest building in the Balkans. Location – Sarajevo, base jumper – Cedric Dumont, photographer – my poor self Predrag Vuckovic. The building is 162m tall, and the site of the jump was planned from the edge below the aerial 142m tall.
My plan for this photography session was entirely ready. Four cameras (3x Nikon D3 and 1x Nikon D300). Two cameras were on the ground, one capturing the whole building and another which was also in the direction of the building, but also of the site of the jump. The remote control was attached to one of them, whereas the other one was triggered by my assistant. Both cameras were Nikon D3! The plan for the remaining two cameras was as follows: D300 was taped to the very glass of the building on the side of the jump, and I was using the other one manually. I was also holding the remote control with which I triggered the D3 on the ground and D300 on the glass. Everything was entirely ready before the jump (and functioning perfectly). Using the radio-station I was in touch with my assistant on the ground! Perfectly planned photography, and also technical support and equipment, but with these projects you always have to be ready for surprises!
A few minutes before the jump the camera taped to the glass (Nikon D300) slipped down the glass!!! I managed only to keep my eye on it. My first thought was: “Thanks God we put people away from the building,” and the second: “Why wouldn’t I take an image of my camera falling down?” Automatically I pressed the button of the remote control and made a few shots with the very camera as it was falling on the ground and with another one which was on the tripod on the ground!
After that, there was no time for thinking about the camera, but only about the jump!!! I had three more options (i.e. three cameras), so I had to focus completely on the project whose outcome was at the time the most important! On my cue that I was ready, Cedric climbed up the edge of the building. The sound on the radio-station 3, 2, 1 JUMP at that moment interrupted the silence which was prevalent on the top of the tallest building in the Balkans!!!
The jump was performed in the way Cedric and the whole our team had planned… perfect!!! The shots which I took manually were also perfect… but I still had to check what there was on the other two cameras. First I went to collect what was left (literally) of the camera which fell down (you can see in the picture what was left of it). It was not possible to use anything apart from the belt. Even the memory card which was in it fell to pieces! I checked immediately the other two cameras! I was very satisfied right away! I had the shots of this project, what was the most important thing!!! Also, on one of the cameras I had the image of the very fall from the roof of Nikon D300. I just shortly laughed to myself.
Finally, this is what I would say to all of you who do the same type of photography:
– Don’t let yourself doubt as I did: “Should I secure the camera with the tape or not?” I used Manfrotto vacuum a number of times so far on cars at the speed of 200km/h and it never fell down… up to now!
– Security is the first priority. Don’t let yourself think: “Will it hurt someone?”
– Never do this kind of photography with only one camera!
– Don’t cry when something like this happens!
Eventually you can see the brilliant outcome of this photography! The shot of the jump off the roof (manual camera) and incredible sequences from the camera on the ground! (The photo was made of 48 shots in total). And finally you can see the shots of my camera while it was falling down and what it looked like after the fall from 142m!