I have just come back from a week in Esperance with the family and can say it's a gorgeous spot for photography. My family and I were staying right next to the coast and I asked the guy who owned the place about the memorials at the point nearby, thinking they were fishermen washed off the rocks. But it turns out that at least one was a photographer. You know how it is, you turn up and see the golden hour approaching so you rush off with the gear to take a few shots. Back in May, those were probably the thoughts of a young guy staying in the same house as us. But unfortunately, within an hour of arriving on holiday he had drowned after slipping off the rocks between West Beach and Blue Haven. Below is his memorial, with the Blue Haven Beach in the background.
I did a lot of clambering around granite outcrops myself over the last week, and although I didn't find out about this story until later in the week I had been drumming into my boy, who often clambered with me, the need to stay away from the edge and never go near wet black rocks.
I thought I'd post this story as a reminder to everyone else who goes out shooting, that you've got to take a moment to think about what could happen and not get caught up in the photography at the expense of safety. As if to bring home the point even more clearly, another photographer nearly drowned the week I was there, his story is the bottom photo. The house owner helped to drag him off the beach, and in good Aussie fashion described the guy as "pretty buggered" when they got to him. That guy was washed off the rocks in the top of my picture and ended up on the beach in front.
In terms of rocky shore locations, if you're not familiar a few tips are:
Don't go near wet black patches of rock, they are often like ice, don't even try them out to see if they are slippery if you're not fully balanced and able to hold yourself up.
If you fall in swim away from the rocks. Ideally to a spot you've already spotted as calmer and a good spot to climb out. This could be the beach.
Don't jump in after someone who's fallen in, you'll end up in the same trouble. Shout to them to stay clear and call for help.
Be aware that it takes a long time looking at the waves to know what they're doing and what a safe distance is to not get caught out by a large one.
Don't go alone if possible (I'm guilty of this, the Mrs doesn't like standing in the cold being eaten alive by mosquitos )
No photo is worth a life.