Hey guys. I’m a long-time PetaPixel reader and guest writer, but to avoid tarnishing my photography business forever and making my clients super uncomfortable, I’m going to use a pseudonym for this story of my worst nightmare coming true. Just call me Ernst Barnak.
Warning: If you’re easily grossed out, you might want to stop reading here. You were warned.
I’m 24 years old and a full-time wedding photographer from Montana. This is my first full year and I’m really hitting it hard with 20+ weddings either completed or upcoming. This particular day’s couple was everything I’d look for in a client. Very attractive, kind, enthusiastic about photography, and fun to share a beer with. I had been looking forward to their engagement shoot all week.
My style is pretty natural and outdoorsy, so we decided on a local nature trail as the location. It’s just a little short loop with a couple of streams, a waterfall, a cave, and a beautiful view of the mountains. We had beautiful weather for a golden hour shoot. I hit it off well with the couple and we’re whipping through poses like nobody else. They’re a very easy couple to photograph and I’m beyond happy with the results so far.
Suddenly, I feel a telltale pain in my stomach. I figure we’ve only got about 30 minutes left in the session, and I write it off as nothing. I was wrong.
A couple poses later, I hit s**t level: critical. I stammer out, “I need to run to the car really quick to grab a lens.”
Ignoring the couple’s confused looks, I take off around the corner. When I’m just out of sight, my ass just erupts. I can’t stop it. S**t starts running down my legs and into my shoe. It’s a mess, and I panic.
Even worse, there are a ton of people on this trail. Trying to dodge them and find some privacy, I run crashing through the forest into a little secluded spot.
Once I’m hidden, I take stock of the situation:
1. I’m covered in s**t.
2. The bathroom is a half mile from here, with tons of people and a birthday party in the way.
3. This handful of leaves didn’t do anything but smear the poop around.
I’m in full on breakdown mode at this point. I’ve never had anything like this happen in my life and never thought it could happen to me. This can’t be happening.
I run through my options. I could just leave and never come back, but risk losing the $2,000 wedding job and possibly ruin my business with bad reviews. I could walk back to the couple and explain what happened and hope they take mercy on me. Maybe I could sneak to the bathroom and try to clean myself up there. No, toilet paper was never going to do the job, plus I had to walk through some kid’s birthday party to get to the bathroom. I quickly ruled all three options out. “This sucks,” I said.
Finally, I settle on a plan. I’m going to sneak like a little s**t-covered ninja through the woods until I find part of the stream that I can wash off in. Nobody can really see the s**t on my legs and pants unless my back is facing them. As long as I face towards the trail, nobody will know. It starts well, but there is a family blocking my access to the creek.
I felt like a godd*mn s**t-wookie. It must have been super creepy to see me walking alongside the trail, in the super tall grass, watching for a gap in people so that I could dart across to the creek. I also had to face them, still holding my camera, so that they wouldn’t see the s**t on my legs. Every time someone would look over at me, I immediately tried to pretend like I was just taking nice pictures of the flowers or something. I don’t think I was very convincing, but eventually they left. Probably because there was a creepy bearded guy in the woods with a camera, covered in feces, watching them.
When I finally made it to the water, I sat down in the creek and did my best to clean up. It worked fairly well in all honestly.
I walked back to the couple, apologized for taking so long, and finished the shoot. I said that I fell in the creek on my way to the car, but managed to save the camera.
Ugh. I still feel terrible just typing this out.
The pictures turned out awesome though.
About the author: Ernst Barnack is an anonymous full-time wedding photographer based in Montana, USA. He enjoys mountains, vintage film cameras, and eating taco bell at the wrong time. All inquires may be directed here.