Blogs of photographic adventures.....
Weirs Beach Roller Girl - April 6, 2019
Sometimes I get asked things like “Why did you drive all the way to New Hampshire just to shoot with Brooke?” which of course I find to be a silly question, because it answered itself.
The types of photo shoots I do are the very things I like to do. They are my soul food, (as in my soul's food, not as in my jerk chicken and mac-and-cheese) and combine several things I love doing, namely: traveling, photography, connecting with friends, creating art, etc…
I can defend spending half a day, a whole day, or even an entire weekend on photo shoots, because, well, it's far more meaningful to me than, for example, making the same trip and spending it doing touristy things like shopping, paying money for amusement parks and things like that.
I went for the second time to Weirs Beach in New Hampshire to shoot with my incredibly photogenic and cute friend Brooke this past weekend. I had visions for a few shots, which I basically got, but we also ran into the fact that the arcade on the boardwalk had not yet opened for the season (so we shot in front of it anyway) and lucked into a colorfully-painted bus that was parked near our second location at the famous Weirs Beach sign. (Somewhere, there exists a photo of me near the sign, when I was about 11, but good luck finding it.)
You WISH it was her phone number...
Brooke is so fun to work with – another of my friends who takes direction, but also knows how to pose naturally. And, boy, did she nail the role. As usual, I left the wardrobe up to my model. I like to give a general idea, but allow them to choose the specifics. It's my philosophy that someone will be more natural and more themselves in clothes that they are more comfortable (stylistically) in.
If you haven't guessed, my Rollergirl series is inspired by the Dire Straits song “Skateaway.” Loosely, though. I wanted to get Brooke near some cars and traffic (per the song), which we did in downtown Laconia. Thankfully, there was very little traffic where we went (which happened to be right in front of a coffee shop in which she used to work, which has great cold brew). So, she was able to skate in the street while safely avoiding traffic.
We lucked out that we had some great light for everything we did, and it was cool, but not too cool. I even drove home with the top down, so it couldn't have been too cold.
Anyway, loving the results, and the pastel colors she wore worked well with the backgrounds, especially the bus...
Update: Since this shoot, I've booked three more roller girl shoots, including one this coming weekend.
THE VESSEL - March 31, 2019
I had first learned of the Vessel when I was coming home from another shoot last fall. I was traveling North on the Hudson Parkway, and saw the about-two-thirds-completed structure off to my right. Admittedly, my thought was something like “what the heck is that?” so I looked it up on the internet when I got home.
Intrigued, I booked tickets in January, and began searching for models to accompany me. I had asked three others before I was on a shoot with Lehla and we decided to do something different (she usually likes being photographed in nature).
We met in New Haven (she's from Rhode Island, I'm from northern CT) and we drove into Manhattan. Traffic wasn't that bad, but we did have to circle the Hudson Yards area four times to find parking. ***Side note: New York drivers are the absolute worst anywhere, but I'll save that for another blog
A short walk to the 'Yards, and the Vessel came into view. It's just a strange thing to look at. It seems small among the surrounding skyscrapers, but huge when you look at it on its own.
Lehla, a head-turner normally, but even moreso in the red, figure-hugging dress she changed into in the ladies' room in the mall next to the Vessel. We expected security to give us a hassle about doing a photo shoot, because the online FAQs seem to indicate that its frowned upon, but they were actually quite helpful and even gave us shot suggestions.
We also expected that climbing up the Vessel's 15 levels would be more difficult, but it wasn't too bad when including 2-3 brief stops along the way.
The views from the Vessel are not the same as those from an observation deck, such as the Empire State Building or Rockefeller Center. There is a nice view to the west of the Hudson and well, New Jersey. But, I bet it's very cool at sunset. The other three sides provide a variety of the newer and older (mostly newer) buildings in the area. I especially like the backdrop to the Southeast, which has nice mix of architecture. (text continues below)
I mean, where exactly is she going?
What's most amazing about the Vessel is that, to me anyway, it looks surreal-ly futuristic in every photo, as if it's part of a set from a futuristic movie, a la Star Trek. From certain angles, the staircases look like they are floating among the Manhattan buildings, as if approaching a celestial temple just out of view.
Naturally, Lehla and I attracted some attention. I got several thumbs-ups from male passers-by and a few people made “helpful” comments, such as “Ooh, a photo shoot,” or “Watch out for the wind.” Gee, thanks. One woman wanted me to take her photo as well, which I did.
The wind was a bit to deal with, and given a choice, I'd go when it was calm. But, the way it played with Lehla's wi-….um, I mean hair…did give us some shots we would not have gotten otherwise. I suppose it depends on how picky you are with your final product. It did also make it tricky to stand and line up shots. Being slightly afraid of heights, my wobbly-ness was not helped by the 20-30 mph gusts with just a skinny railing between myself and the pavement below.
The shots we go, I adore. It dawned on me a couple of days later that this shoot is going to be difficult to top. I am working on plans with the next model I hope to take there. I'm thinking maybe a blue dress next time, but we'll see.
Beam us back there, Scotty!