On this ocasión I will talk on a particular case, a camera that is so high that my ladder can’t reach it. However I had to access to it every 30 days to extract the images of the camera and check the batteries. As in life, not always things are as we like and we have to adapt to it in order to accomplish the job.
The following photos and explanations are about the same camera, located on the top of a lighting pole.They were so many ways to access to that camera so I decided to document it and prepare this article exclusive to that camera.
Lucky for me, the camera was located on a construction site were is normal that they use high ladders and scaffold to do their job. The problem is that they are not always available so I had to improvise.
The procedure to access to that camera, get the SD card and then transfer the images to my laptop. Later the SD card returned to the camera and put it to work again.
When register a construction site project is important to put the camera the highest possible and in a place where the project is finished (that can last months) the resulting building are not outside of the frame. The height helps to register the different planes of the scene and not only the foreground. The height also brings certain tranquility that the camera will not be stoled.
The day we were installing the camera at a “normal” height (3 to 4 meters) a policeman came to ask what we are doing. After the explanation, they say that place is not 100% safe, so we move the camera highest as we could. It works, the camera was not stolen, but the process of getting the images from the camera and change of batteries represents a challenge.
Next I will present to you the different ways that I use to get to that camera. All the times they were a risk, so I take the necessary actions to be safe as possible.
As the building on construction was so high, almost all the time there were kind to let me a ladder that they use to get to the warehouse dealing.
Por su longitud al subir se balanceaba mucho, pero siempre pedía a alguien me ayudara deteniendo la escalera para que no se resbalara. En la foto aparezco solo porque le pedí al que me ayudaba a sostener la escalera que me tomara la foto (por eso pueden ver que estoy muy bien agarrado del poste para no caerme).
At the begining of the construction, two scaffold came to help the construction workers to reach the ceiling. One day, the ladder that I use to borrow was busy, then the manager offer me to mount the double scaffold besides to the pole. It requires skilled and strong people to assemble but fortunately for me they do it.
The way up was shaky but once I was on top it feels like a strong structure. The only thing is never forget you are on an altitud and you have to move carefully.
When I came to the location once, I realize that there is only one scaffold and my not-so-big ladder that I used to carry in my car. Having no options, I decided to use both tools. Calculating the risk I took the decision to ask the manager help to hold that ladder so it doesn’t slip.
There was a day when I came to the construction site and there was no construction workers, only the guard with a injured hand. He can’t help me. With efforts carry the long ladder to the pole but when I tried to lift saw a potential big risk that the ladder would slip and be injured. I returned the ladder to its place and when I was leaving saw a group of workers repairing a lighting pole and ask for help. They immediately agree and bring the truck to “my pole”. The basket was only for one person, so I receive instructions to use it and operate the crane by myself.
On the final part of the construction project, they took away ladders, scaffold to other site. The only available option was a backhoe (known by the workers as a “monkey hand”). Having no other options, I evaluate the risk, talk to the operator and take de decision to go up on the backhoe. The operator was so skilled so I don`t be afraid. My friend Josh Banks said that if I do that in the United Sates, I can go to jail…
I want to conclude mentioning that being a photographer involves a little bit of insane and sometimes do insecure acts in order to get the images that we visualise. We do insecure acts, but taking all the safety measures so doesn’t get accidents. In this project there was occasions that after evaluating the risk, took the decision of not doing that photo. When I tried to get up the big ladder, see the enormous risk that I have and took it back. On all cases I was aware of the risk and use all the measures to be safe.
Luis Roberto De León has been dedicated to industrial and commercial photography for more than 30 years, staying at the forefront with digital technologies.
Phone: +52 (81) 8340 9090