A BridgeWalk Photo Tour

Beginning this summer, guests of ACE and visitors to Southern West Virginia will have an opportunity for a vacation adventure that you can’t find anywhere else on this continent: A tour under the New River Gorge Bridge, also known as BridgeWalk.But will they be ready for the thrill of it?

Recently, I was invited to take photos for the new BridgeWalk. At first I thought it would be no big deal. Boy, was I wrong.

Most of my day is spent in front of a computer screen. Woo-hoo. It can get tedious, at times. One relief I have is when I’m out taking photos. I’ve met some really interesting people and it’s been great fun taking pictures of people when they’re scared to death! Zip-lines, horses, rafting, etc., can bring out the true character of folks, and I’m there to record every grimace and smile.

Now, it’s great poking fun of other people and their fears, but I have to be honest: They’re usually not the only ones uneasy. I’m usually taking part in these activities as well, and sometimes it’s even scarier to be the photographer.

I’d be on the catwalk with the handrails, right? Wrong.

In order to get the shot of the guests on the catwalk, I would have to get off the catwalk! Keep in mind this bridge is 876 feet above the New River.

Okay. Great. I’m going to do this, I told myself. Wow.

My safety system was rigged by Benjy Simpson (that’s him in the photo above), who will be running the BridgeWalk tours in the spring and has the reputation of being one of the best in the business. This is the only reason I even considered this photo shoot.

I was strapped into my harness, with my camera attached to me on a carabiner and I walked 10 feet out from the catwalk on a 12 inch beam and turn around to start shooting pictures.

At this point Benjy told me to lean out, to trust the system. My system was telling me not to lean! I looked at him like he’s out of his mind, and he looked at me like I was being a big baby. Whatever. I’m not leaning.

I guess I wasn’t too scared because I started bossing everybody around to direct people where I need them positioned to get my shots.

Check out all these photos of the great adventure coming in 2010 and let us know what you think!

And if you want to read more about BridgeWalk here on the ACE Blog, check out Part 1 and Part 2 of Rick’s posts on his first experience under the New River Gorge Bridge.

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