Folks love how serene and peaceful this photo appears. Looks can be deceiving. The shoot, however, started off well. Dad had found the perfect spot on Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana. The lake wasn’t deep, but it had a thick layer of mud on the bottom. In order to pull off this shot, Dad needed a stable shooting platform, not a bobbing boat.
So he sunk an eight-foot ladder four feet deep in the mud. He built a platform that was held up by the legs of the ladder. The art director would watch from the platform. Dad had climbed higher up on the ladder and would shoot while perched on the steps.
Dad was in position. The model and decoys were in place. The fog looked good. Dad had coached the art director to remain very still during the shoot because of the long exposure of 1/15 of a second. Any movement would cause blurriness in the image. Just as he was about to click the shutter, the ladder began shaking back and forth. Then it stopped. Dad prepared to push the button again. More shaking. Then stillness. Dad’s finger inched downward toward the button. Shake. Sway. Shake. Shake.
“ENOUGH! What is going on down there?!” Dad demanded of the art director. “We’re about to loose the shot.”
Hundreds of bloodthirsty mosquitos had swarmed the art director who apparently neglected to use bug spray. Every time the A.D. swatted at a pesky mosquito, the platform and the ladder shook.
Dad managed to get seven to eight frames off before calling it a day. The art director was pleased with the picture even if he did look like he had bad case of very itchy acne over every inch of his exposed skin. Now they just had to dig that ladder out of four feet of mud.