I'm not a huge risk taker by habit. I do take them, but not in that extreme sport enthusiast type way. I take take a risk simply because it's risky. I don't get a great rush from doing something dangerous. I actually tend to think "you idiot" as opposed to "I feel so alive". I enjoy a rush of adrenaline, but I don't live for it.
A place I used to photograph at a lot is Cape Woolaimi on Australia's southern coast. About 3km walk from the car park is the jaw-dropping, eye-grabbing Pinnacles. They are a rocky outcrop rising or of the ocean surrounded by huge boulders and a sea with only two moods; angry and furious. It played a pretty important role in my life for a short period. When the darkness fell on my psyche I always knew I could head down there and the fog would lift. The steep faces of the rocks, the crash of the ocean on the shore, the wind and the cold that ripped through between the two story high cliffs and the sunset behind the rocks made for some challenging but rewarding shots.
Getting to the shots was where this story ties together. As I said, I'm no daredevil, but there was only one way to get to The Pinnacles and it was virtually straight down. The track was about 30cm wide, winding, potholed with lose soil and very little grip. The grass that lined it wasn't exactly razor sharp but it was certainly capable of splitting the skin should you slip and put your hand onto a tuft. I learnt that the hard way. I'm pretty sure mountain goats would stand at the top looking down and think "nah, I might give that one a miss".
I went up down and up that track about 10 times. The walk down was tricky, the ascent was breathtaking...and I'm talking about the exertion, not the view. The legs and the lungs would be smoking and aflame once you made the top. The 3km walk back to the car was normally in the dark & always unpleasant after climbing the vertical wall out of the tiny, spectacular bay.
Sometimes the risks are worth the reward. Not just the photos but the renewal of the soul I got when I went there.