Never, in all the years that I have been involved in photography, have I been more terrified in taking a shot. Never before, have I feared for my life.
My hands trembled as I placed my camera on the tripod, which I balanced such that, should it start to wobble, it would try to fall backwards, toward me. I was lying prostrate, my supporting arm against the back leg, to ensure nothing would move easily.
As I focused, my subject was directly before me, spread wide my my 10mm lens. I could also see what was below me, a thousand feet, straight down.
No barrier: just me, the edge, and certain death between us and the other side of the chasm.
I'm afraid of heights. Terribly. I don't mind being up, above the ground. But I need solid ground under me, with either an enclosure or a solid railing to prevent me from taking a tumble. At Horseshoe Bend, there is no such comfort. You either get close to the edge to get your shot or you stand well back and enjoy the narrow precipice, across from the Colorado River, but you don't see the river.
And so I got on my hands and knees to get into position and I lay down while I watched the sun set.
And my heart raced for the whole experience, especially when my wife and kids came close behind me.
Looking at the results of that sunset shoot, my heart still races. But at least I now feel safe.