Written by Rick Archer, May 2007
“This was a case of “photographer photographs photographer.”
The following photographs were taken by a professional photographer known as Hans van de Vorst at the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
Mr. van de Vorst was out on his own photo shoot when he witnessed a man taking a huge risk. He swung his lens and took the shots you are about to see.
Hans Van De Horst: “As I walked to the edge of the canyon to take my own pictures, I was simply stunned to discover this guy standing on this solitary rock high above the Grand Canyon.
The canyon’s depth is 900 meters here. The rock on the right is next to the canyon and safe.
Watching this guy on his thong sandals, with a camera and a tripod I asked myself 3 questions:
1. How did he climb that rock?
2. Why not take that sunset picture on that rock to the right, which is perfectly safe?
3. How will he get back?”
I found myself unable to move. A morbid fascination came over me. Was I about to witness a tragedy? And should I do something to prevent it?”
“I was not alone. The man’s folly had captured the attention of dozens of onlookers. Now the sun completed its descent behind the canyon’s horizon. The man picked his gear and tucked it under his arm.
Having only one hand available, he prepared himself for the jump. This took about 2 minutes. At that point he had the full attention of the crowd, most of whom had their hands covering their mouths with worry.
I gasped. He was actually going through with this! I lifted my own camera and braced myself for whatever might happen.
“I estimated the gap between the rocks to be four feet apart. After he jumped, for a moment, his body was suspended in flight.
Now you can see that the adjacent rock is higher. I had wondered if the jump down from the higher ledge was so easy that he didn’t think about the jump BACK in the other direction.
Unable to jump upwards, this man tried to land lower and use his one free hand to grab the rock.
“We’ve come to the end of this little story. As you can see, he made it. Amazing.
Look carefully at the photographer. He has a camera, a tripod and also a plastic bag, all on his shoulder or in his left hand. Only his right hand is available to grab the rock. Plus the weight of his stuff is a problem.
He lands low on this flip flops. Both his right hand and right foot slips away… At that moment I take this shot.
He pushes his body against the rock. He waits for a few seconds, throws his stuff on the rock, climbs and walks away.
Some people should not be allowed out alone!”
Mr. Archer continues:
“I learned this particular jump has been tried many times. The leap creates spectacular pictures It makes for a great picture indeed because it appears the consequence of failure is almost certain death.
But guess what? There’s a secret to this picture you will want to know.
In reality, it turns out there is a wide ledge about eight feet below that is conveniently out of the camera’s eye.
Although a fall might result in some bruises, there is definitely not a 900 meter plunge to the bottom to fear.
Below is a picture that will give you a different perspective
Hmm, now this kind of changes things, doesn’t it?
I had wondered why there weren’t more Van de Horst pictures. Why just four? Because pictures like this one were conveniently omitted to keep the suspense alive.
So in the case of the foolhardy photographer, it seems our friend Mr. Van de Horst was having a little fun with us. I think he played a joke on us.
And I am glad he did. It was a fun story. “