8 Near-Death Experiences I Have Had While Shooting Photos

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Words and photos by Eric Bennett

Like we always say when it comes to outdoor activities, safety first. Unless of course you are a landscape photographer, then the photos come first. Well, that’s my motto at least. Live by it and you might just cash in 8 of your 9 lives within your first couple of years. These are actually just the more memorable events that have happened to me, and the ones I was conscious enough to remember. I'm sure there are plenty more times I have been close to kicking the bucket than I can recall.

1. Human Aquarium
While making our way through a narrow slot canyon in remote Southern Utah, a storm came in too quick to avoid and within ten minutes the rain filled up the canyon with rushing water all the way up to our necks. We had to swim the rest of the canyon and free climb our way up several, tall, vertical sandstone walls out of the canyon while a waterfall was raining down on us.

2. Science Experiment
After a 10-day trip to the San Blas Islands in Panama, I came home with a big red bug bite, which continued to grow and grow until it was the size of a softball and I could no longer move my arm. I had to have the purple, yellow, multicolored, pychedellic, pulsating, puss-filled tumor removed due to it actually being a serious staph infection. If staph gets into your blood, you are done for.

    San Blas Islands, PanamaSan Blas Islands, Panama

    3. Hunger Games
    To put it short, I was on a five day solo trek in the Scottish Highlands and I ran out of food after the first two days. With over 70 miles to go and 50lbs of gear on my back, I survived with just my water filter.

    4. Human Popsicle
    While on the same solo trek in the Scottish Highlands, I had hiked in the rain for so long and gotten so wet, that when the sun set, my body was too cold to warm up again. Completely numb I got into my sleeping back and fell asleep, worried I wouldn’t wake up in the morning.

    5. Human Bait
    While on a stroll with me, myself, and I looking for a spot to shoot, out of the bushes, no more than ten feet in front of me jumps a big, great, brown bear! Surprise! Luckily he was scared enough by my mountain manness that he ran away….

    6. Destruction Derby
    Flying down a dirt road in Southern Utah, my rear tire exploded while going around a sharp, downhill turn and sent me and my vehicle rolling off a cliff edge. My car rolled in the air several times before hitting the hillside and continuing to roll downhill until abruptly coming to a dead stop in a deep wash. Luckily I walked away without a scratch, probably cause I’m buff. My girlfriend at the time wasn’t as fortunate… she is fine now though! I still want to go back and try to land my backflip 360 rodeo.

    Southern Utah Badlands, taken just an hour or so before the wreckSouthern Utah Badlands, taken just an hour or so before the wreck.

    7. Human Popsicle Round Two
    On a 21-day trek in the beautiful Himalayan mountains, after sweating until my body could no longer sweat any more, running out of water, and becoming dehydrated, I reached a tall summit to only be greeted by nearly freezing temperatures, which immediately gave me hypothermia and caused me to black out for over an hour. For this one as well, I was alone.

    8. Human Lightning Rod
    Eager to get a shot of a crazy thunder storm over a canyon in Australia, I got a lighting bolt to the dome which made my head sizzle and all of my hair stand up, while revealing to me the secrets of the universe (I’m pretty sure). I have my two buddies as witnesses of this one.

      Blue Mountains, Australia, taken during the storm just minutes before getting a lightning bolt up my haunchesBlue Mountains, Australia, taken during the storm just minutes before getting a lightning bolt up my haunches.

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