Improvisation can save the day

Nick Wolochatiuk ~ Dances With Words
Improvisation can save the day

Forgot to bring the canoe paddles back to the cottage? Find two shovels and paddle away!

On the drive to the cottage, Highway 401 was at a standstill. Accident? No. Construction? Not that either. A very large snapping turtle was basking on the warm asphalt. Solution: take out the car’s rubber floormat, approach the snapper from behind, then slip it over her back like a saddle. Her legs will futilely flail about. Fortunately, her neck is not as long as a giraffe’s, so there’s no danger of being bitten. Grasp the sides firmly and deposit the roadblock far off to the side.

If it’s a smaller turtle, slide the canoe paddle (the one you forgot to take to the cottage last week) under him, and carry him far off to the side of the road, as if he were a pizza being taken out of the oven on a peel *.


SAVED THE DAY! – That tough wire component of what they call a ‘Bulldog Clip’ in England gave me enough leverage to release the camera case’s knob. (Photo by Nick Wolochatiuk)


Back in the days of 35mm film, I was doing an air-to-air photo shoot of an aircraft. The highly polished subject aircraft posed and waggled its wings, causing the brilliant sunshine to flash as if it were equipped with strobe lights. As soon as it got into just the right position, I took my first shot, the last frame on the 36-exposure cassette.

“Taking lots of shots?” asked my pilot.

“Not yet, I’m trying to change the film.” I replied, followed by an excruciatingly long pause.

“Ready now?”

“No, having trouble getting the camera case off. Still working at it.”

There was a shallow knurled knob securing the camera to the case. It had been overtightened.  It didn’t provide enough purchase to loosen it. There was no vise-grip tool available. I’m sweating, the pilots are beginning to XX#8!!#! at me.

Aha! Eureka! I have it! My note pad was secured by a hefty binder clip [see photograph]. Having noticed a hole in the side of the knob, I removed one of the hefty wire clips, inserted it into the hole and used it to free the knob and case so I could change the film. The photo shoot was delayed, but a success.

Thinking out of the box is a must. Make do. Improvise. Find a substitute.

*By the way, I did not know ‘peel’ was the name of a pizza lifter. I had to Google it.

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