It’s All About Timing

The Duck


To take this picture, I set up my tripod on a rutted dirt track that paralleled the railroad berm that rose about 10 yards behind me.  I completed a test shot, studied the result, and paused to consider a change of angle and composition.  My eyes were on the sign, the sky, and the foreground.  My attention was drawn to a mechanical sound approaching from my right.  It seemed out of place.  It wasn’t a train.  Perhaps it was a truck on the rarely used Yermo Road, another 20 yards past the railroad tracks.  As I turned my attention from the visual to the aural, trying to interpret the growing sound, a light suddenly blinded me from the right.  In an instant, a helmeted rider on a quad was racing down on me.

I snatched the tripod and stepped back just as he screamed past.  I gasped involuntarily, and my heart was racing.  He never showed any sign of slowing.  I don’t know if he ever saw me.  I can only hope that beneath that full coverage helmet, his face was pasty white, and his breath was coming in short bursts.  I’d hate to think I was the only one scared out of his wits.  It wasn’t anybody’s fault.  Neither of us had any reason to expect the other to be on that narrow, decrepit track in the dark of night.  Whether the story ended with a hit or a miss came down to split-second timing.  Just like so many things in photography.

Tech Notes

90 seconds @ f/8; ISO 200; 24 mm; xenon flashlight on billboard

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One Comment

  1. Mikka December 12, 2014 at 7:41 am #

    I know this 🙂

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