Has anyone ever said the following to you: “I can’t believe you just did that, just to take a photo…”. They have this confused look on their face or even roll their eyes. But the thing is, if this person isn’t a content creator or photographer they probably won’t get it. No matter how many times you try to explain it. Sometimes we just have to do something crazy to get an original photo.
I am not saying you ever have to put yourself in any real danger to take a photo. Cause honestly, that’s just stupid. Over the past years so many people got injured while trying to take a selfie for the gram. This blog post isn’t to encourage you to try dangerous things. It’s to show you that you’re not the only one who sometimes gets a little nuts when it comes to taking photos.
After traveling as a content creator for the past 2 years I simply can’t see myself traveling any other way anymore. A lot of times I get the question if I still enjoy traveling? And the answer is hell yes! I am not one to sit around all day (except when I am home :p) and lay by the pool. To me, that sounds like an absolute nightmare. I would feel restless, annoyed and lazy. There is nothing I love more than to have a busy travel schedule, knowing I will see a ton of amazing places!
So below I have listed the 14 craziest things I ever did to get an Instagram photo. Some of them I would do again in a heartbeat, others, not so much :p.
1. That time I walked through a monsoon and thunderstorm in Singapore
This year I revisited Singapore, one of my favourite cities in the world! I had the pleasure of teaming up with Gardens by the Bay and to create content for them. I had a couple of different shots in mind which required me to visit as many of the exhibitions as possible in a short amount of time. If you’ve ever visited Gardens by the Bay you know it gets crazy busy as soon as it opens. First up on the schedule was the new exhibition ‘Floral Fantasy‘. Armed with my tripod and camera I walked towards Marina Bay Sands, the sun was shining and it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day.
It’s important to mention that I only had 2,5 hours in total to take all of my photos cause on that day I was also checking out of the first hotel I stayed at. So I had to be back there at 11.30 AM at the latest! When I finished taking photos at the first location I went back outside. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The entire area was completely flooded, rain was pouring from the sky and honestly it looked like the world was coming to an end. For your information I was wearing a breezy summer dress and sandals :p. I turned to someone from the staff and asked them when the next shuttle would leave towards the ‘Cloud Forest‘, the second spot on my schedule. They looked at me weird and told me no shuttles go out as long as it rains… So there I was, stranded, 20 minutes walking distance from the next exhibition and with 1,5 hour left to get there, take the photos and get back to the hotel…
So I did what any sane person would do :D. I asked them if they had an umbrella by any chance. Fortunately they did and off I went into the monsoon. To say that I was completely drenched is an understatement. And while I was walking I realised it wasn’t just raining, an actual thunderstorm was going on, lightening and everything… That’s when I realised going out on my own holding an umbrella with a lot of iron bars in it probably wasn’t the smartest idea. So I made a run for it! After what felt like an hour I finally arrived at the Cloud Forest. And even that my dress was wet up until my waist, my sandals were ready to be thrown in the trash and I looked like a hot wet mess, I went inside, took out my gear and went for it.
The big advantage? Because of the thunderstorm almost no one else was there. I was able to get all the photos I wanted, visit another exhibition and even had time to spare. :p
2. That time I hiked through a river canyon in Jordan with a sprained ankle
Last year I did a road trip through Jordan with my friend Katie. To say it was the trip of a lifetime would be an understatement. One of the places that was super high on my list was the river canyon Wadi Mujib. I had seen so many stunning photos all over the internet and couldn’t wait to put my own spin on it! When we arrived to the visitor center we payed the 25JD entry and off we went.
To get to the canyon we had to go over a bridge, down some stairs and over a few rocks. And that’s when it happened. I got too damn excited, didn’t look where I put my foot down and twisted my ankle. I immediately felt something wasn’t right. It was hurting like a b*tch and it was hard to stand on it. Still, I don’t like giving up, plus I had just payed a lot of money and hadn’t taken a single photo. So I climbed back up and limped towards the water. I convinced Katie it was still a good idea to do this. So off we went through the water, all the while trying to hold my balance on the slippery rocks.
We were able to take all of the photos we wanted but of course the damage had been done. By the time we arrived in Wadi Musa my ankle had swollen up to the size of a tennis ball. And even jumping on one leg was hurting so much I started crying.
There was nothing left to do but lay down and rest with my foot up. The next day we were supposed to visit Petra and attend Petra by night. Well, I can tell you that didn’t happen. Luckily in the evening the swelling was down so then and there I decided that no matter what I was going to see Petra the next day! We got up at 5am and headed down to the visitor center to start walking towards the Treasury as soon as it opened. I limped as fast as I could, took a pain killer halfway through but we made it! And I even made it all the way up to the most spectacular viewpoint over the Treasury! I did however scrape my knee on the way up. So there I was, sitting on the top of Wadi Musa with a twisted ankle and a bloody leg. :p
3. That time I drove 3 hours in the wrong direction
Does the following sound familiar to you? You see a beautiful photo on Instagram but no one EVER shares the location? That’s exactly what happened to me. But this place had been on my bucket list for such a long time that I went on a crazy search frenzy. I went through every single comment on every single photo I could find and learned that this was taken on a paraglide platform.
I then simply typed into Google: paraglide platforms in Austria :p. I clicked on every single one that was listed and checked out the photos that were posted to the locations on Google Maps. There was only one that looked like the view that I had seen all over Instagram and it was 3 hours driving from where I was at that time. I put it into Google Maps, booked me a room close by and off I went! I arrived around 4pm and decided to “quickly” check out the location so I would know exactly where it was and I wouldn’t be stressed in the morning when I wanted to take photos.
The paraglide platform was all the way up the mountain and there was a cable car but by the time I got there it was already closed and it only opened at 9am in the morning. I quickly realised that the only way to get there was to hike up. For your reference I wasn’t planning on hiking so I was wearing a floral dress, my white All Stars, a yellow rain coat and my Chloe bag…
The first part went through the forest and was pretty easy. It was a little muddy but oh well, my shoes were already done for it. The second part was an easy hike up on a winding road. I was checking the view and it seemed to match with what I had seen online so far. I just wasn’t high up enough. So then Google Maps told me to go right. I looked and saw that there was no more actual road. All I could see was a steep hill up, covered by pine trees and rocks. Crazy as I am I started climbing up, grabbing on to tree trunks and hoisting myself up once every few meters. But the higher I went the trickier it got. To be honest, I got a little scared. By now it was almost 5.30pm and I was all alone. I went up a little higher and there, on top of a big rock was a goat. A freaking goat :p. Then and there I decided to go back down.
But, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t attempt to climb this particular hill 2 more times from different directions. By the end of it I was covered in spider webs, my shoes were dark brown and soaked and my mascara was on my cheeks. I felt defeated and went back down. Fortunately I had recorded everything and one of my followers who lives in Austria offered to help me out and asked her boyfriend if he knew where the platform was.
Turns out, I was trying to climb the wrong freaking mountain! The platform I was looking for was actually close to Hallstatt, where I had been a few days before :p. I went back to the hotel, took a hot shower and got myself a good night’s sleep. And two days later I woke up, got in my car, drove up a mountain and 2 minutes later I was sitting on a paraglide platform, watching the most beautiful view during sunrise. And the best part? There was no hiking and climbing involved.
4. That time I went through a lake in Bali, twice
By the time I visited Bali hundreds and hundreds of Instagrammers before me had already taken photos at the famous water temple in Munduk.
During my time in Munduk I stayed at Munduk Moding Plantation and had arranged a private driver to take me to 4 different locations in one morning. The first one was the water temple! I didn’t want to take the same photo as everybody else so I started brainstorming. I set up the tripod and asked Ketut if he could press the shutter for me. I explained to him that I had an idea :p. A few seconds later I was knee deep in the water, holding up my dress and waddling to where I had envisioned myself standing. Once I got there I let go of my dress so that it would float behind me in the water and started to pose. I was too far to be able to hear the shutter and when Ketut told me he got a lot of photos I came back out the water.
But when I wanted to check the photos I realised that he had pushed the wrong button the entire time :p. So there I was, completely drenched and freezing my but off with zero photos.
Luckily a fellow photographer saw me struggling and asked if he could help. So back into the water I went…
So you tell me, was it worth the trouble?
5. That time I took a day trip to the Taj Mahal with food poisoning
During my entire trip in India I never got sick. That is until the final days… After our stay in Jaisalmer we flew back to Delhi to start our day trip to the Taj Mahal. We were going to leave at 2am to arrive there at opening time.
But by midnight my entire body started to shiver and my face was looking all white with a little green. Not a pretty sight. I felt really sick and didn’t know which way to turn to the toilet first honestly. But in less than 2 hours we were supposed to leave for Agra!
So I took something for my stomach and belly that would hopefully block everything and off we went. It wouldn’t be possible to change once we were there so I already dressed up in my Indian gown and tried to sleep as much as possible in the car.
It’s important to mention that we visited India in May, one of the hottest months and by the time we got out of the car at the Taj Mahal it was around 40°C.
Any sane person probably would have stayed in bed but nope, I was finally in India and not a single stomach bug was gonna stop me from taking my photos.
In the end everything went pretty smooth. I felt nauseous and was shivering all over but at least I didn’t poop my pants. 🙂
6. That time I climbed a forbidden mountain in Vietnam
When I told my mom we were going to hike Bai Tho mountain the next morning she got pretty excited. That is until I told her exactly how we had to do that.
Well first of all we had to find a particular house. The woman that owns this house is known for letting people through for a small fee and opening up a gate that leads to the start of the hike.
Over the past years lots of photographers visited this post and it seemed that every single time it got harder and harder to actually reach the top. Before there used to be a hole next to the gate but this was now closed off with barbed wire.
The only way to the actual start of the hike was to climb up a rock wall of about 4 meters high. At the top there was an iron bar fence which had a hole underneath. Just big enough to squirm underneath. When me and my mom arrived I have to admit I was stressing out. I really wanted to see this viewpoint but no idea if I would be able to do this.
It also didn’t play in our advantage that it had rained the night before and that all of the rocks were covered in moss which made them extra slippery. The first time I got up to around 2 meters but when I wanted to place my foot it slipped and I fell down. I felt my legs scraping the wall and fell on my back. My mom of course was in total panic mode and urged me not to try it again. Buuuuut, as you may know by now I did not do that :p. I tried again and this time I was able to reach the top and crawl underneath! After that it was my time to stress out cause now my dear mom had to do the same thing. And of course she succeeded on the first try :p.
After hiking up for about 45 minutes, the last 20 of these are more crawling over big rocks cause there is no actual pathway left, we finally reached the top. It wasn’t until that moment that I realised we also had to go back down, the same way…
As you might guess, my foot slipped again and I landed on my back once more. I ended up with a lot scratches and bruises haha but hell, it was the adventure of the trip :p.
8. That time I was standing in the middle of the Champs-Élysées
This year I went to Paris together with my friend Thomas for the second time. Last year we already created amazing content together but this year I really wanted to take my photos to the next level!
I explained my vision to him. I would run out on a little strip where no cars were driving in the middle of the Champs-Élysées and we would use my 70-300mm zoom lens to create a cool distortion with the Arc de Triomphe on the background.
As soon as the light turned red I ran out and with cars rushing by I tried to pose as effortlessly as possible :p.
It’s safe to say that I was very happy to get back to my friend and onto the sidewalk :p.
9. That time I was trying not to get head bumped or bitten by deer in Japan
Nara park is supposed to be one of the most magical places in entire Japan. It’s an enormous park where wild deer roam free and they bow their head when you either give them a cookie or say ‘Konichiwa’. To say I was excited to take photos here was an understatement.
However things did not go as smoothly as planned. First off, we arrived together with at least 50 tourist busses and of course everybody wants to feed the deer. Plus by now the deer were smart enough to know if you were actually holding cookies for them. If you didn’t have any they weren’t interested in you.
So first thing to do: buy cookies! There were a ton of cookie vendors spread over the park but these spots were always surrounded by at least 15 deer. And when they saw you bought cookies they literally went nuts. So I grabbed the cookies and made a run for it back to Caroline. I hid them in my purse (to this day I am still finding crumbs in small corners) and tried to lure one of the deer with a cookie.
What I didn’t see was that one of them knew what I was doing and it started chasing me around the park. After running around like a crazy person I finally found my way back to Caroline and we tried to find a good framing, without any other people in it, a few deers, all the while trying to look cute.
It’s safe to say there are a lot of bloopers from this shoot.
10. That time we trespassed on a pier in the Dolomites
During my road trip in the Dolomites with Caroline, shooting at sunrise at Lago di Braies was on top of both of our bucket list. I had done some research and had seen so many sunrise photos taken on this pier that I thought things would go super smooth.
That is until we arrived…
Turns out this pier doesn’t open until 9am and well sun was rising at 6am… I did however hear movement coming from the pier and there was a girl sitting on the beach. So I asked her if she had any more information and she said that her boyfriend simply went through the water and stepped onto the pier from there.
Caroline and I looked at each other and both of us knew what was going to happen. We hoisted up our maxi dresses, took off our shoes and in we went. The water was freezing and I quickly realised that the water was getting deeper pretty fast. we wouldn’t make it onto the pier without getting ourselves wet up until our armpits. And this wasn’t really an option. There were however 2 little boats tied in front of the pier!
So we pulled ourselves up into one of them and tried to climb as gracefully as possible from one boat to the other. Since these boats were very wobbly there wasn’t much grace left by the end of it. But we made it safely onto the pier and pretty quickly we were joined by other photographers.
Everyone was very nice and took turns taking photos but we loved this place so much that we kinda lost track of time. We took as many angles as possible and wanted to finish off by taking some photos in one of the boats. So there we were, both of us sitting in one of the boats in front when all of a sudden we hear a high pitched voice screaming at us.
Apparently one of the women that works there arrived early… By that time we were the only ones left. Fortunately for us she was nice enough to open up the door so we didn’t have to go back out through the water.
So keep this story in mind when you plan on taking photos here and don’t believe everything that you see on the gram is as effortless as people make it out to be :p.
11. That time I took a 5 hour detour for one waterfall in Iceland
During my first trip in Iceland together with Katie we had visited the most amazing hidden canyon and waterfall in the Northern part of Iceland. We spent over 2 hours discovering and photographing this place and it was one of the best mornings of that entire trip.
So when I went on my solo trip last July I really wanted to visit this spot again.
The only problem? I had less than a day left before my flight back home and I also wanted to revisit Snaefelssness. I typed in everything on Google Maps and it would be a total driving time of 8 hours: 5 hours to the hidden canyon and 3 hours to the Snaefelssness peninsula. My reaction towards that realisation? I stopped at a gas station, got me a couple of Red Bulls and started my journey.
5 hours and 2 Red Bulls later I arrived at my happy place! Plus by the time I arrived at the peninsula I still had time to spare to take photos at Kirkjufell. 🙂
12. That time I almost fell of a building in Morocco
You know that feeling when you envision an epic shot and you find the spot? And then you realise that the only way to get there is kinda dangerous and you shouldn’t do it? Yeah, I don’t get that feeling either :p.
Caroline went first and I saw her climbing on top of the roofs of these abandoned houses and pretty soon after she arrived on the spot. When she came back she told me it was tricky but still ok.
So off I went! The only difference I didn’t take into account is the fact that my legs are a lot shorter than Caroline’s :p. So when I had to climb up and down I actually had to let myself fall and pray that I would land on my feet and keep my balance on this little ledge. My legs were shaking from the stress and I had never been more relieved to be done with a photoshoot.
After I arrived back I told her, this is one I will never do again!
13. That time I climbed a rooftop in Paris and got soaked
During my last stay in Paris I was finally able to admire Paris from one of it’s amazing rooftops. It had the most amazing view of the Eiffel Tower and the rest of the city.
To get on there was something else however… There were a lot of ladders involved and me hoisting myself up by holding on to the gutter. All of that in a princess dress that is way too long for my short little legs.
This however didn’t stop me from doing this again the day after and inviting my friend Nathalie to join me. We literally had 5 minutes to take photos with the sparkling Eiffel Tower and from the other side we saw a pitch dark sky and angry clouds approaching us at a fast pace. The last photo was taken when it started pouring rain. And I really mean pouring. We tried to get back down as fast as possible but of course this didn’t go that smoothly in both of our princess dresses… We ended up completely soaked and ended the day with a good bottle of red wine, room service and long talks about ex boyfriends :p.
14. That time I almost froze
The downside to taking photos during sunrise besides having to wake up super early? It is freaking cold outside! There have been countless moments where I have been cursing at myself for doing this. There were the ice cold mornings with my mom in Cappadocia, the stone floor that felt like knives sticking in my feet in Japan and don’t even get me started on Uzbekistan :p.
Danya Hasan says
Oh my god, this needs to be shared with everyone so people know how much work goes into a pic. This is why I have so much respect for you <3 my favorite story was the one in Vietnam with your mom haha my mom would literally scream and slap me and tell me to leave haha your mom is amazing!!
ahahahaha thank you so much babe! Well feel free to share it :p 😀
Bliss Eatts says
This is so funny, and also crazy. I think I need to up my Gram Game.
hahahaha thank you 😀
Eleanor Green says
I remember following your stories for most of these adventures, and i have to admire your dedication!
Haha, these were some crazy adventures! Thx for following along Ellie 🙂
Josy A says
Woooah you would never guess from the final photos how much work and stress went into them! I mean, mostly I am just getting the impression that you love adventures and taking insta photos is a good excuse to get out and actually have the adventures!!
It does sound like you might need to carry hiking shoes a bit more often though! 😉
Just out of interest, why is it forbidden to visit the Bai Tho mountain? I wouldn’t be keen to visit if they are that keen to keep people out!!
Hahaha yes! I will have hiking shoes with me from now on :p
When I went it wasn’t technically allowed but still possible. But apparently these days there are guards there who will refuse you from hiking up
Nicola Lavin says
This is hilarious. I once walked 4 miles on frozen footpaths like bambi on ice in snow because I thought my boots looked cute.
ahahahahahaha I can totally relate to that feeling from when I was in Iceland 😀
Ana @ JauntingTrips.com says
hahaha my friends would kill me if i tried half of what you described :))
But gotta give it to you, the work speaks in the shots! Beautiful photographs <3
Thank you so much Ana! Well I am fortunate to have found friends who are equally crazy as me :p
This is hilarious. Doing it for the ‘gram! But I think it was all worth it, they’re amazing pics, even if you are freezing, soaking or broken in some of them. You can’t tell!
aaaaah thank you so much Emma! 😀
I’ve got a few crazy stories myself, but I think you’ve got me beat 🙂 I had a good laugh at a few of these – thanks for sharing the real BTS!
Haha well the crazy clearly went up exponentially the past year so I am curious what 2020 will bring :p
Can’t help but smile to all your escapades. congrats!
Thank you so much Elsa! 😀
Taylor Deer says
Your photos are all amazing! For me, I took a bus 4 hours to Lake Tekapo from New Zealand to get a photo with the lupins, only to find out that they weren’t fully in bloom. I still got a nice photo though haha but never again
The photos are just stunning! I guess it worths as long everything ends OK. In Hawaii I went beyond the stop sign because I wanted a photo on that beach. I think is important to check the level of risk.
sarah de gheselle says
Haha, ik heb het ook meegemaakt in India. Vreselijk he!
This makes me laugh so hard. Probably more so, as I can totally relate. Us travel bloggers seem to be completely insane when it comes to getting that perfect shot. Good on you for getting the shots. Although not so good when it includes injuries and putting yourself in danger.
Thanks for putting a smile on my face on an early Monday morning
This is so stupid. All this danger and discomfort just to take a generic-looking photo? This is why governments and tourism boards need to start clamping down on over-tourism and the “Instagram effect” – you’re ruining travel.
Thank you for your concern! However it’s safer to give people a real perspective than to just make everyone believe it’s super easy to take photos like this in my honest opinion 🙂
wow, that was really crazy, I cannot imagine to do that!!!! Hard work pays off, always! Girl you go, you deserve it!!!
You are so funny. All the hard work and time spent in getting the perfect gram is sometimes so worth it. But other times, you gotta just take a step back and just enjoy it for yourself. Amazing photos and gorgeous places! I hope to one day visit some of these places!
Yeahhhh I could never. As soon as I even see rain on the forecast, I go back inside and turn on Netflix.