Behind the Scenes: Hold On Strong



Recently I've found stronger meanings in this photograph since I shot myself in this waterfall back in August. This week, I lost my cousin due to cancer. As hard as everything has been for the family, finding strength in these unimaginable times, from people that come from all walks of life, has been absolutely heartwarming and astonishing for me and my family.
This photograph is dedicated to Lt. Michael Vecsi - a real life hero. 

With my friends Tom and Marisa, we once again planned out another photo adventure last month, and returned to Great Falls Park, but on the Maryland side of the river. A week before, Tom and Marisa met up and scouted the park for any interesting locations for us to use. After their hike, they posted some photos from their findings and I was so happy to see all the amazing places they explored! 

As soon as I saw photographs of the location, I knew I had finally found the right place to use an anchor I bought back in the winter from a local vintage shop, to use for this new concept. I had been waiting forever to put this prop to use, but I wanted it to be in a special location. Back in the spring, I met up with a good friend of mine, my art teacher (Mrs. Stevens) from high school and her daughter. We hiked along trails in the woods and found some pretty cool spots by water, but I wasn't sparked by what I had floating around in my head. 

Since then, this concept was put on the back burner, but I was happy the opportunity had finally come! Tom and I reached the park together and met up with Marisa and her friend, Lisa, as well as Marisa's nice, Audrey. We gathered in the parking lot as I unloaded a come props and wardrobe for us to rummage through. Usually, and not just on days like these, my car is filled with old trucks and other things that could be interesting to use on a shoot. Hats, books, fabric, antlers, bird wings, rope, nets, walking stocks, umbrellas, lanterns, clocks, mirrors. You never know when a photo adventure could be right around the corner. 

We had somewhat of a good hike ahead of us for the day, so we choose carefully what we would carry on our journey. So, this meant lugging around my anchor through the park, over trails, and while climbing cliffs. I didn't even care though. My body was just ready to go and explore. 

At our first location, around the edged of a secluded body of water off from the river, where these awesome rock formations were. We rested all our gear down and explored a bit. Marisa and Tim came up with some ideas while we were there, so they took turns shooting Audrey on some of the rocks in the water. I was still focusing on my concept. There were so many great opportunities, but I waited. We were going to be coming back the same way at the end of the day, so I wanted to be patient and see what more would cross our path.

We packed up our gear, said goodbye to Lisa (she had to leave early to go see a show) and took a quick group pic. We traveled along the banks of the water and climbed up to some high point on the rocks. The view was amazing, so of course I had to take a selfie.

Tom and I stared at this one huge rock formations the jutted out from the ground, and we thought it would be a cool spot to shoot some ideas. I changed my clothes and climbed to the top and we both tried out shooting different ideas. We gathered for a small break on top of the mountain. We sat and rested while drinking one of the many Gatorades we picked up earlier. The sun was strong that day, so lugging around an extra 6 bottles didn't even faze us. They were much needed that day. We packed up our gear again and headed towards the giant waterfall the fed the river.

It was massive and the current was not to be reckoned with. When we reached the side on the top, I knew I was getting in somehow. This was it; this was where I was going to finally use the anchor. Tom and Marisa set up some ideas of their own while I scouted for the right place to set up for my shot. When I was finally ready, I changed into my other clothes and with help from Marisa, I made it to the center of the waterfall (before dunking myself in the cool refreshing water) and she then handed me the anchor. Because I don't have a water proof wireless remote for my camera, Marisa kindly took the exposures of me while I was covering myself in a fishing net, wrapping rope from the anchor all around my body, and hoping I didn't slip off the rock and get taken with the current. 

All fared well though. Even more so than that. I tried out a few different poses I had wanted to do and made my way back onto dry land. I somewhat dried off, but left my went clothes on because they were keeping me so cool. Before packing up, I wandered the area around the falls and shot texture photos of the rocks. Everything had such a painterly feel to it and I love incorporating textures into a photograph from the same location as where it was shot - and I'm giving some to you in a free download below!

Behind the Scenes: Expelling the Opposed

It was an other beautiful day out in Philadelphia, and my two photo pals came up to visit the area for a fun photo adventure. Earlier in the day I was reading through my notebook, looking at ideas and finding inspiration on what kind of concept I wanted to shoot. I was looking through some of my old work and came across one of my fabric photographs. There is just something I love when I use fabric in my work and I was instantly inspired to do another shoot like. that. 

My friends Tom and Marisa made their way up to Philly this time for our photo adventure, and I knew just the right magical place for us, in Wissahickon Valley Park, right outside of the city. My friend and our model for that day, Steph, was luckily off from work that day and everything seemed just to fall into place. 

This park is one of my favorite places in my area. Long trails, rivers, huge rocks, so many great spots to shoot at! It wasn't too hot that day, but the water felt so refreshing. When we reached our location in the park, Tom and Marisa took turns doing their shoots and I paced around to focus on the idea I wanted to execute and where exactly I was going to set up my camera. An image popped into my head from the movie The Haunting in Connecticut and I knew what I wanted. 

Back in June, I was on a road trip across the mid-west, exploring abandoned buildings. While stopped in Cleveland, I came across smoke bombs that were really cheap. I was really excited and bought a few boxes. I've never used smoke bombs before shooting, so this was something I was pretty eager to try. Since I only shot architectural during that trip, this was my first opportunity to try them out. 

We did a few test shoots with Steph before getting in the water. Once I got a chance to figure the timing with how they work, I planted three or four behind Steph, that I had Marisa ignite for me across the river.

After about 10-15 minutes in the water modeling in the dress, Steph looked over and it started disintegrating in the water! It starting tearing up and falling apart in a lot of places. None of us expected that or had even ever seen that happen before. After, we wrapped up our gear up and relaxed in the park for a bit. This was such a fun day!  

Shout out to Tom for some of these BTS pics!