Rural photographer urges safety after fatal accident
SASKATOON -- Following the sudden, accidental death of a founding member of an Alberta photography club, a veteran Saskatchewan photographer is warning shooters to be careful when chasing that perfect frame.
On Dec. 3, the Medicine Hat Photography Club posted a message about the death of a founding club member Tye Carnelli.
"Tye passed away (Monday) doing what he loved, photography," wrote Kat Valenzuela on the club's Facebook page.
Carnelli, 60, was out photographing a rural area south of Foremost, Alta., died after falling down a snow-covered well during the day, said Lorne Krause, one of Carnelli's best friends.
"If he would have been two feet to the left or to the right we wouldn't be having this conversation. He stepped on loose planks that were sitting there and he fell through."
Krause said Carnelli wasn’t found until the next day when search and rescue teams found his vehicle.
It's a hazard Shaunavon-based photographer Chris Attrell, who has captured a wide portfolio of abandoned farmhouses, said he's well aware of and takes many precautions to avoid.
"In a lot of these farmhouses where no one really lives anymore, there are sharp things in the grass, there's wood with nails in it, there's actually sometimes even big holes and there's a lot of opportunity that someone can get injured.
"When you go inside these buildings, the floors have been rotting for decades and it's easy to fall through the floors and the stairs and things like that."
Attrell recommends photographers first take the time to scope out the area they are looking to photograph, especially if the shoot is happening after the sun has gone down.
"I don't just walk, I look at the ground and make sure I know where I'm going and if I'm going to shoot at night I inspect the place very well during the day so I don't discover those hazards in the middle of the night," Attrell said, adding what happened to Carnelli is one of his worst fears.
"The abandoned well one, would be a worst case scenario obviously that happened and it was very sad news to hear about it. I hear all the time from people, watch out for abandoned wells and so I've done a very good job and I've never come across one yet."
This year the province of Saskatchewan updated its trespassing laws. Farmers will no longer need to post No Trespassing signs and if anyone would like to cross into their private property, expressed verbal permission is mandatory and is the responsibility of the person looking to come on the property.
In his experience, Attrell said it’s not hard to get permission.
"In dangerous locations the priority has to be your safety which means you watch where you're going, stop, then look. I'm mostly good at it but after this event happened on Monday I'm going to be very, very aware all the time now," he said.