Sunday, 12 December 2010

Photographer makes a big splash at Scottish Parliament.

(click on image for a larger view)

Edinburgh, Sat 11th Dec 2010 approx 8.30pm

I had taken a few shots of the Discovery Centre which was lit up in different colours and had then moved onto this location (above).
This is the second last shot before I walked straight into the unlit fountain, right in the deep bit (approx 3ft).
As I stepped onto fresh air this was followed by a huge splash as I fell sideways into the fountain.
I managed to keep my head and Canon EOS 5D mkii above the water but the rest of me got completely soaked as I crashed through the thin ice into the freezing water. I quickly got to my feet and had a quick look around, trying to figure out what just happened


As I squelched my way 200 yards back to my car, my jacket pockets full of water, I started to feel the effects of my cold, wet , heavy clothes.
Fortunately I had my salopettes in the boot and swiftly changed into them. I put my wet boots back on and got into the car with the heater blowing hot air onto my feet.
Eventually as I thawed out, I sat in the car totally gobsmacked by what had happened. How one minute I was happily taking photographs and the next second I'm plunged into the icy depths.
I drove back to the fountain area and parked up next to the bus stop and checked out where and what had just happened.
As you can see from the image above (25 second exposure) the fountain is unlit. There are lights in the water but they were not on. Also from the image (click on it for a larger view) you may notice a half submerged section of crowd barrier in the middle of the fountain, which I may add is at ground level. Nothing to stop anyone from falling straight in.
I'm sure at this point you are trying not to laugh as you read this but somehow I find this unacceptable that this could happen in these days of Health & Safety, and I'm very lucky I did not crack my head on the shallow ledge next to the deep part.
The next thought that struck me was that surely there is CCTV operating in this area and some wee security man was inside the Parliament building watching the events unfold and having a right laugh to himself while thinking of his £250 for 'You've Been Framed' or how many hits he would get on YouTube.
The really down side is that my camera is not working now. Although it is 'waterproof'
and it stayed above the water, it did get splashed with the impact of me hitting the water.
I know this sounds like a comedy sketch but as I look back on events the next day I realise how serious this could have been.


Dear Mr Wild,

I refer to your accident which you describe as having occurred at the ponds on the front concourse of the Parliament premises at approximately 8.30pm on 11th December and which you reported to me on 20th December. In your statement you advised that you had been taking photographs beside the ponds, and stepped sideways while looking at your camera, and without looking where you were placing your feet, as a result of which you fell into the pond. Having considered the circumstances, I find nothing to support the view that the Scottish Parliament is liable for your accident.

While I am sympathetic to your situation, I have concluded that the accident would not have occurred had you taken appropriate care for your own safety, in what you acknowledge in your statement were dark and icy conditions. I am therefore unable to offer any compensation for any loss you may have incurred.

Yours Sincerely,

Jake Fenton. Health & Safety Advisor