That’s me at Michigan’s Jordan River in autumn 1975.  And yes, I carried that ladder out into the river in order to get the photo angle I wanted.  I’m using a homemade “centerpost extension” to gain height, with a bungee cord stretched along the side to dampen vibration.  A Nikon F2 is mounted on the tripod (lens unknown, but a gel filter holder is on the lens) and I’ve got a Nikkormat on a neckstrap.  This was taken on Kodachrome 25, just introduced the previous year replacing Kodachrome II.  ISO (ASA back then) of 25, hence the name.  K25 was my standard film until Fuji Velvia came on the market in 1990.  While I have this image I can’t find any of the ones I must have taken that day, which might be a comment on the resulting quality.  Interesting what you find while “sheltering in place.”


  1. Satish Menon May 3, 2020 at 7:25 am #

    John, this is extremely interesting. Thanks for sharing. BTW, love your recent update to your website gallery.

  2. Greg P. May 4, 2020 at 11:45 am #


    Your dedication was amazing! However shots like these is why they came up with the job position of “photo assistant”, right? 😉

  3. Franz Zihlmann May 6, 2020 at 12:42 pm #

    “Crazy dedicated John” should be the headline.
    How did you keep balance on this wooden latter? I know how unstable these were and my wife FORBID me to stand on one like this after I had an accident crawling into the attic. That tripod leg standing on the soft creek edge and the heavy gear on top of it – I am impressed!
    Best, Franz

  4. Bert K May 6, 2020 at 5:34 pm #

    Rube Goldberg would have been proud of this setup. Hopefully this was before your evening single malt treat.

  5. Bill Petersen May 7, 2020 at 11:47 am #

    So I went to B + H and searched for “step ladder” under Photographic Gear but came up empty…and I thought they had everything! So glad you survived this Wellenda Family activity to go on to inspire enthusiasts like me with your books and photos. Stay safe and healthy John.

  6. Mark May 18, 2020 at 7:37 am #

    What is the saying – where there is the will, there is a way …

    Now you could do that with a phone on a selfie stick. 🙂