How to make yourself visible for a rescue boat when you are stranded in the dark at the bottom of a cliff on a rocky coast in Hong Kong — David Horvitz


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I went to make a photograph at sunset at the westernmost point of Hong Kong (near Peaked Hill). As the sun was going down, I decided it was a bad idea to take the trail back through the hills to Tai O. It would have been too dark to make it back in the night, and the trail was completely overgrown. I decided to try to beat the sun and walk along the rocky coastline (in and out of the water). After the sun had completely set, and it was completely dark, I realized I was going to be stuck on a rock on the bottom of a cliff. The tide was low and the stars were coming out, and Macau was visible in the distance. I decided to try and use my camera’s flash to get the attention of Hong Kong Police boats passing by. Realizing that they might be confused by the light and disregard it (if they could even see it), I decided to put my camera on my tripod*, set the 10-second self-timer, and run in front of the flash waving my hands. If someone could see the flash, they would see a brief image of a man waving his hands, roughly every 15 seconds. It was so dark it may have even looked like a small movie at about 1 frame per 15 seconds (with most of the 15 seconds being black). It worked… A Hong Kong Police ship saw me and sent their small rescue boat to me. Here are some of the photos that resulted… Look at the last photo, that is the police light pointing towards me.

*To prevent your cheap plastic tripod from blowing over in the wind and smashing your camera, tie your Triple Canopy tote bag that is completely filled and soaking wet because you had to swim around some of the rocks, to the middle part of your tripod. Make sure it is floating off the ground weighing down your tripod. Also, extend your tripod legs to test how deep the water is in case you have to step in it.

Text by David Horvitz.


Weight 40 g

Publication Date







215.9 x 139.7mm (Half Letter)


Sewn Bound





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Colored Paper, Insert

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