When I talk to a parent of a senior and she tells me that her son is not really interested in having his picture taken, I jump at the challenge. When he finally acquiesces and decides that he wants the session to start at the Jackson Street Bridge, I figure, why not?
Well "not" has many reasons in it's favor. I arrived on location a little early and had that sinking feeling in my gut and immediately could feel the blood throbbing in my head. This was a photographers nightmare for anything more than a really cool sunset with silhouettes or nighttime photography. The haze was thick with pollen and whatever else was in the air on this Sunday afternoon and the sun was so bright that glare made it difficult for even my camera to focus. No softbox would work without blowing over the rail and a backwards step for me could mean instant death from the cars racing by. Challenge accepted!
I took a deep breath and reassured myself that I could do this. I certainly have enough experience and education to figure out this lighting conundrum and I really didn't want to have to bring him back. He showed up with a Olympic jacket from 1996. He was so chill wearing a piece of Atlanta history which occurred before he was even born! This kid was serious and I felt the obligation not to disappoint. Here is a situation where you try not to show your panic and just snap away hoping that you will have something to work with. I thank him for pushing me out of my comfort zone.
We walked back to the car and I looked through the images - shadows, sun flare, squinting, crazy exposures - I was doomed. At least we had 2 more locations to make up for it. I sat on the images for a few days trying to separate myself from what the scene looked like to my naked eye and what I was able to capture in the lens of this machine I call a camera. This is what I came up with. I am pretty sure that the other people on the bridge that day did not share my success. Their defeated faces as they walked to their car were similar to mine. Sometimes it is good to push yourself to the limits of your capabilities - preferable not with a paying client, but sometimes it just works out that way. I could set up shoots in the "golden hour" or in full shade all year long, but there comes a time where you have to deal with the hand that is given you, and that separates the professional photographers from the people who call themselves one.