For our first trip to New Jersey since our move to Seattle back in June, we decided to stay in Asbury Park in order to remain within striking distance of both New York City and my Dad in Tom’s River. When we booked a hotel within spitting distance of the pier and the beach. I made it a point to get out early enough to watch and photograph the sunrise there. While setting my cclock alarm for 4:45 gave me more than enough. time to get ready. Being met with rain and per-dawn darkness, left me with few options. While returning to my hotel room for a couple of extra hours of sleep definitely came to mind.. Finding enough cover to shield me from the rain while I worked on setting my camera to manual won out in the end. After a brisk walk that included it’s share of morning strollers, joggers and dog walkers. I returned to the hotel and my wife to plan for breakfast and map out the rest of our day. Looking back, I’m glad I went with the latter of the two options.
After a quick stop to gas up at Costco. We drove out towards an industrial area near the Spokane Viaduct that overlooked a sort of tent city. Weary of causing any disturbance or attracting the attention of the ones who called the area home. We pulled in to one of the companies parking lots, gathered my gear and headed back around the corner to check out some of the murals and graffiti displayed next to the tracks. It took a while, but I finally came to the realization that I wasn’t going to be disturbed by any of the nearby entities, cops or overzealous security guards that my curiosity seems to attract. After just a few minutes of shooting, I scurried back to the car where my wife was sitting with the engine. I thanked her for allowing me to indulge in my silliness and off we went in search of pancakes and french toast. The end.
I was talking to a friend about a recent excursion that really made the hairs on my arm stand on end. A little over a month ago, I came across a spot that was as scary as it was intriguing. That day, I spent a matter of minutes exploring the area just adjacent to the old, abandoned automotive parts/repair shop. At the time, I peaked through, before briefly entering the side door. When returning a few weeks later, I found an obscured front door and entered with as much caution as I had curiosity. Almost immediately, I could feel the hair on my arms stand on end as I had entered a dragon’s lair of graffitied walls, random garbage and the remnants of a recent visitor, or worse, occupant.
As I stepped cautiously through the debris and squalor. I couldn’t help but feel the tortured spirits of those who may have preceded my visit. As I moved from room to room through hand carved holes in the walls. I couldn’t help but feel that I might have bitten off more than I could chew. The random needles, paint cans and emptied glue containers served as evidence of recent hardcore drug use. “You’re too old to be doing this. You should be enjoying a plate of eggs and hash browns with you wife right now”
As creepy as my visit might have been. I had no inkling as to how weird things were about to get. While carefully opening one of the container doors. I unveiled what seemed to be a living space, complete with mattress. Though not the unveiling of a colony of brain thirsty zombies or bat wielding crack heads I spooked myself into imagining. It quickly served as the hair-raising moment that told me “Times up. Get your ass back in the car” Thankfully, I was in complete and total agreement with that inner voice. Until the next time.
I had so much fun shooting with Gia yesterday. Her laughter, smile and those incredibly expressive eyes. In the days leading up to our session. She sent me a couple of pictures of models dressed in flowing raps. (Imagine saffron robes blowing in the sahara winds.) While she never managed to track down the material. The idea stayed fresh even as we had begun our shoot. When it came time to change into the next outfit. She asked if I had any sheets we could use as a substitute. Thinking on my feet. I decided to use on of my photo backgrounds instead. Wrapping it around her upper . I had her friend hold the the ends. Creating somewhat of a loving tug of war. Notice the smile and the playful exchange she’s having.
When I posted a shot of Friday’s session on Facebook over the weekend. It definitely turned a few heads. The attention was both positive and appreciated. It wasn’t until this morning that I was questioned about my decision to edit it. While I liked the original. I thought a ounce of editing would do it some good. Then came the critique about consistency and how, if something ain’t broke. Don’t go trying to fix it. It seemed harsh at the time, but when explained, it made a lot of sense. I had the perfect light and settings from start to finish. There was no explainable reason for the change, other than change. To close, I’m learning a lot and it’s not always easy getting over old habits. Learning that a critique is aimed to both help and improve one’s work. How, listening is often better than talking. Below Left is the original file. On the right, my retouch.
With the help of a good friend and fashion forward photographer. I’ve embarked on a new project that hopes to connect my rock and roll background with his years of experience in fashion photography. In the time II’ve spent learning from him. I’ve come to realize that I’m in the midst of starting over. In recent months I’ve invested in new new studio gear, software and as of yesterday. Purchased a new camera in the Canon 5D Mark III. Fridays session was shot tethered through Capture One and was shot entirely on a tripod. Shooting from the tripod allowed me to better communicate and interact with the model while spending less time fumbling with the camera. The choice more than quadrupled my production in half the time it would take otherwise. The path is set. Everything starts here.
Every now and then we need to be taken out of our comfort zone,.Shook up like good cocktail and have a little in your face with someone about something. When I look back on today’s little war of words. To be honest, with all the off the grid shooting I’ve been doing over the years. I’m surprised it hasn’t happen more often. Especially with some of the chances I’ve taken of late.
It was today’s little exchange however, that both caught me off guard and left me a little rattled. As we were returning from an Easter breakfast at one of our favorite upstate farms. We stopped along the side of the road to get some fresh vegetables to add to the days take. As my wife parked the car and headed towards the farm store. I crossed the road to get a closer glance of an old and (What I thought was abandoned barn.) As I began to cross the road I noticed two women walking towards me looking quite agitated. The younger one asked me what I was doing. I respectfully replied “I apologize If I’m on your property. It’s just that I was intrigued by that barn.” “Oh, that’s just an old broken down barn. I don’t mind if you take some pictures.” The offer seemed a bit back handed and she went on to note that the two dogs that accompanied her and what could have been her mother or the towns crypt keeper. So off I went. Moments later, that same woman was riding towards me on her bicycle armed with enough anger and spite to fire a mouthful of teeth straight into a vital organs. “This is private property! I didn’t say you could get close!” Jeezus, I thought she was going to pull out a pistol and shoot me dead. To say the very least, the exchange was so heated. I was expecting everything from a visit from the police to an updated version of leather face emerging from the barn. At the time. I didn’t feel I was in the wrong, but in retrospect. Maybe I just wore out my welcome. Lesson learned. Tread lightly, I suppose. I did manage to get a few shots without ever stepping inside. There was enough useless garbage stored inside the fuel a full season of Hoarders.