The 5th episode of the Framed Show’s “The Concept” aired recently, which features myself and powerhouse photographer Lindsay Adler duking it out to see what we create with the same location and concept. During this episode we were challenged to shoot at Coney Island and our theme was “twins”. I adored this day like no other. In fact, I’d put it in, probably, the top 10 best days of my life. I frolicked in puddles, ran along the beach during a tropical storm, soaked myself to my bones and took pictures that, quite frankly, didn’t mean as much as the experience. That is the joy of photography sometimes.
Why is it always about getting the best picture? For me, it just isn’t. And I’m proud to say that during this episode you are seeing me at my happiest, taking pictures and loving it, but not caring about the outcome.
When we got to Coney Island it was closed due to the storm, so we shot outside instead. I location scouted and, having been dead set on shooting on a roller coaster, I decided to not let a little fence and lock stop me. I climbed atop the shoulders of Framed master Layne Boyle to capture my initial shot of the roller coaster.
After having that plate (a shot of the background), I got to work photographing my subjects. I was able to match the angle of the characters with the angle of the background. I tried a couple of different poses, mostly dealing with spacing issues, making sure they would sit properly on the tracks of the roller coaster.
When I got into Photoshop, this picture was not my friend…and it wasn’t because of the reasons I expected. The girls fit perfectly…their poses were spot on, the spacing was good, they cut out super easily…then what was it? The issue had to do with the fact that I couldn’t get more than one angle on the roller coaster. I had imagined a dark and gloomy sky looming above the arc of a roller coaster which I would have shot from a low angle.
I wasn’t having any luck getting the angle I envisioned, so instead, I worked with what I had. I did a lot of work to make the surroundings look a lot less distracting – selective blurring, cloning, and darkening were all tools that came in very useful during this edit.
At one point I decided not to edit it at all, because I had put together the image I shot at the beach (here it is, if you missed it), and knew that it could represent the episode if need be. But then I thought back on how much fun I had trying to capture the roller coaster image, and that nostalgia pushed me to continue trying.
Is it my favorite image ever? No, simply it is not. But it is very meaningful for me, and every time I look at it I remember climbing on Layne’s shoulders while propped up on a trash can to get this picture…in the pouring rain, during a tropical storm, on my first trip to Coney Island. Is there anything better?