Why is it that every time I make some blanket statement such as “condor nights are usually uneventful”, I’m proven so very, very wrong?
As of late, condor duty has been anything but uneventful.
This last time, I was nowhere near any old, rotting bee-filled facades, plus I was full stick (meaning the condor was at maximum extension) in an 80 foot condor, so I figured that all I’d have to do was set some lights and then nap.
Except that this time, as soon as I got up and set, I made the mistake of looking down. I’m not normally afraid of heights, but this particular set was a sunken garden (and of course my condor was on a level above the garden), so it looked like I was up much higher than 80 feet.
I know it’s silly of me to be freaked out when I think I’m 100 feet up and not when I’m 80 feet up. If I fell, I’d be just as dead either way, but I guess it’s that I’m used to being 80 feet up so anything that looks higher up than that is outside what I’ll hesitantly call a comfort zone.
This particular condor not only had a super bendy arm (some of them have more rigid arms than others, so some bounce around more when extended. Bendiness varies by individual condor, not by make or model. Needless to say, I prefer the more rigid ones) so the basket swayed like crazy whenever I shifted my weight or the wind gusted or I hauled something up to the basket via my drop line (like the very important plate of second meal), but that or the illusion of extra height wasn’t what really rattled me. Right after I got up to 80 feet my condor decided to start settling.
Settling is caused by air bubbles in the hydraulic line. When an air bubble gets into the right spot, the condor will make a popping noise and then drop a fraction of an inch. The condor can’t actually fall all the way to the ground, so it’s not dangerous, but it is disconcerting to be up that high and have that ‘pop and drop’ happen.
Luckily, when we turned around to shoot the other half of the scene the gaffer wanted the lights in a different spot so I was able to go down ‘on the stick’ (meaning the boom arm wasn’t fully extended) and went back up to a lower altitude so the popping wasn’t nearly as noticeable and the people on the ground looked a lot larger.
And thankfully there were no bees anywhere nearby.