Let me start off by stating that the photo you see in this blog is by no means my usual awesome work but it sure does tell quite a story. And a story you shall receive.
Before getting into the story, a quick note on the shot seen here. Bad resolution and quality due to heavy cropping. Had I been using a telephoto lens, well, the results would have been much cleaner. Why didn't I shoot the subject with a long lens? Read on my friends, read on.
A Typical (atypical) Saturday
It was a nice August weekend in Philadelphia. As usual the wife had tasks for me to complete. Usually tasks that I'm not overly enthused to complete. That day's objective was to go to the local DMV to take care of some documents. The location of the closest DMV is located around 8th and Arch Sts, downtown Philadelphia, walking distance from home. From there its also a close stroll to the beautiful, historic Ben Franklin Bridge. This bridge also has a walking platform that allows pedestrians to walk, jog or bike from Philadelphia to New Jersey. Knowing that I would be close to the bridge I decided to pack up the camera gear before heading out to do my chores.
The DMV, no matter what city it is located, must be one of the most unhappy places to visit. I enter and the line is similar to one waiting to get onto Space Mountain at Disney World, only not as exciting. The elderly receptionist greets you with nothing. No hello, not even any eye contact. It was almost as if she were a robot, reciting the same rules to each person as they nervously pass one by one, hoping that they have all of the proper documentation for whatever they may be there for.
After what seemed like an eternity of standing in line, it is finally my turn. Coming as no shock to me, I didn't have everything I needed. I am then quickly ejected like a bad piece of food in a factory conveyor belt. REJECT. Slightly embarrassing as the others watch to see who makes the cut. My emotions were mixed though as I was relieved that I now had much more time to head over to the bridge to do some work. I B-line for the door and I was trapped, all exits roped off, forcing people to make their way through the herds and exit the other end of the building. I wanted out and wanted out now. I decided then to go under the ropes. My emotions quickly turn from slight embarrassment and relief to, Get Me The Hell Out Of Here!!! Due to having my large camera bag on my back, my jeans were slightly falling down, like a gangsta rapper. Well, while squatting under the ropes, the pants split down the rear end and the sound echoed through the wide open lobby. I then ran out as I heard a few chuckle. It was awful to say the least.
Once I made it outside, I was torn (mentally and physically) to wether or not I should plan on shooting another day. I decided to pull my shirt down as far as possible and march on.
I made it safely to the bridge without anyone noticing the large hole in my butt. Maybe they did but nobody said anything and that was good enough for me.
I've always wanted to do Ben Franklin Bridge photography. It is a very old and amazing work of construction. A symbol of Philadelphia and its many hardcore, hard working blue collar residents. There are many great shots of this bridge, but I wanted to make something different. Most of what people see hanging on walls are from the same angle. Shot from the Camden, New Jersey side, capturing the bridge and Center City skyline. On this day I wanted to go for something a little more abstract.
I start my hike up on the platform. From a distance, you don't realize what an uphill battle this can be. I headed for mid-span without taking a shot. All of my gear was its bag, on my back. Before being hasty about what I would shoot, I first wanted to take it all in. Basically, the goal on the way up was to scout out the area and do some brainstorming of what my main subject would be.
Approaching the first tower I realize how awesomely huge this blue monster is. It's difficult to describe in words. One of those, 'you have to see it to believe it,' moments. The views, just spectacular. At this time my mind has tons of ideas on what and how I should shoot the behemoth. Almost at mid-span, the gear is pulled out and prepped for putting the memory card to the test. I had emptied all images from the card before this shoot, knowing that I would load it up with lots of large RAW files. Yes, always shoot in RAW, no matter what (why?...for another post)!
Mid - Span (the plot thickens)
Slightly winded, I finally am standing between Philadelphia and New Jersey, high above the Delaware river. The cap is removed from the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM that I rented from my friends over at Calumet on Columbus Blvd. (Deleware Ave. for Philly Natives). I thought this would be the appropriate wide angle glass for what I had intended to shoot. I also packed my always trusty Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM (never leave home without it).