A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of hanging out at Two Jack Lake in Banff NP for a sunrise. When I arrived I had the place to myself, but a few other photographers showed up shortly after.
The lake had started to freeze over and the ice was making incredible noises. It sounded like spaceships having a laser gun battle IN SPACE! (space space space space) I was hoping I would be able to time my trip to see some frost flowers, and while there were a few clinging to the surface of the ice, they weren't as prominent as I'd hoped they would be. I did find a rock poking through the ice near the lake shore and decided that would be a much better photo instead.
But there was a problem.
Because the bank of the lake was so close to the rock, I couldn't get my tripod set up low enough. I knew there had to be a way to flip the tripod head around, and I sat down on the bank struggling with the tripod for several minutes while the light continued to get better and better. Meanwhile, the other photographers near by scampered about taking advantage of the reddening sky. Nervously, I glanced at the other photographers, making sure they hadn't noticed my fumbling about. I wouldn't want to attract attention myself and seem like I don't know what I'm doing.
Finally, I gave up and tried to hand hold the camera, and then things got weird. Clad in a puffy jacket and snow pants, with my toque falling down over my eyes, I did my best contortionist impression. As someone who has never been able to touch their toes, it was a bit of an ordeal. Stretching and bending, slipping and falling. Lying down on the ice, feet kicking out randomly as their tenuous grip on the ice faltered. At one point I even attempted a belly slide, but if the space was too small to set up a tripod, it was certainly too small for me. Fortunately, the photographers near by averted their eyes during the episode, and most importantly, their cameras pointed away from me so as far as I'm aware, there is no pictorial evidence. Perhaps it was just as embarrassing for them as it was for me. On the bright side, I now have a whole new level of respect for the Walrus. They may not be the most graceful creature on the planet, but on that day, they put me to shame.
After giving up hand holding the camera, I eventually found a way to get my tripod to work, it was not ideal, but at that point, it would have to do.