Sunday, May 15, 2011

Getting the Picture

Getting the Picture
Photo by Zack De Zon

Armed Photo Warrior
Photo by Zack De Zon
My friend asked me to participate in his son's wedding.  Yes, I was very nervous about it.  Harry was so confident about my ability that without my really knowing it, I was his lead shooter with two assistants.  It was thrilling to know that already I had my own band.  I had won American Idol and I didn't know it.

The wedding was in a perfect Midtown Manhattan location, a two story Penthouse, with terrace views of the city and the Empire State Building.  My assistant Zack and I looked around our location the day before trying to get familiar with the location.  We walked around both floors and studied what the possibilities would be for the next day.   It was good that we did this and it did help to soothe the nerves.  Of course the next day the clouds came and the loft ambient light became very different.  The drama vanished.  The good news was that now we were prepared.

Marching Orders
Photo by Zack De Zon
Athletes practice and musicians rehearse; photographic artists visualize.  We parse our world into frames and fractions of seconds.  We comprehend light and deal with the realities of light.  We attempt to modify light proactively and other times we simply react to situation at hand and dial up the ISO.  My photography is also a game of artistic algebra where y=me and x=my unknown.  I know me and endeavor to solve the unknown.

As I look at the shots taken by my assistant as we worked,  I notice the intensity on my face.  It was work and I was prepared to make it happen.  Whatever it was going to take, I was going to get it.  We were going to make this wedding extra special.  We were going to not only capture traditional shots but we were going to understand the props the location afforded us.

This is What I Want You To Do
Photo byZack De Zon
Check lists start forming through my head about equipment, details, lighting, locations, people...oh my God people?  I have to photograph people?  Oh no not people, they move!!!  You have to shoot people at a wedding?  Most of the time, I've been shooting and glamorizing inanimate objects but now you want me to shoot people?  I don't know about this.  Can I do this?  My coach, friend and mentor takes me aside:  "Is there a problem, Al?"

"No we are ok, Zack and I got you covered, don't worry no pun intended,  but this will be a piece of cake."  "Zack where the hell are you man and why are you taking pictures of me?

Ok, let's get this party started.... Let's just shoot the hell out of the details during the setup, dress rehearsal, and rehearsal dinner.  And tomorrow, let's just hope its sunny, not windy, or rainy in April.  What?  You say they have showers in April?  You sure you don't mean flowers?   Oh said showers.

Relaxed Al
Photo by Zack De Zon
Al, you've got to stop breathing so shallow.  It's going to be ok.  Breathe deeply and exhale slowly, relax Zack has your back.  It's ok.  You are in your jam now.  Easy does it and now pull back on the reins slowly.  Slowly, easy does it.  Try to sleep tonight Al, you hardly have slept all week.  It's ok.  Don't worry about the people just allow yourself to feel and let the camera find it's way.  Be you Al, get in the get some sleep.

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