Success Story 1
Every assignment is a challenge, especially very difficult requests like capturing a client’s tractor-trailer on one of the New York City bridges. This request was from a major trucking/transportation company who transports goods with 32 trucks in the New York metropolitan area. This still remains the toughest photo challenge request I have ever received.
My nature and training taught me to never run away from a tough challenge, but to embrace it and find a solution so, I scouted two of the great New York city bridges that might work. The great Verrazano bridge had no close vantage points to shoot a truck and have the clients name readable, however the awesome George Washington Bridge has a wonderful vantage point; the Fort Lee Historic Park. Right next to this park, is a point that enables one to get close enough to hit the bridge with a football. This was a complex shoot; the first attempt to capture the shot meant setting up at dusk in the park, timing and communicating with the client’s driver, (who was driving the tractor trailer and when he was approaching the focal point of the upper roadway of the bridge and I had to make sure not to use any language such as “ I am ready to shoot” which security could pick up as a terrorist threat and invade the park with flashing lights to stop me). It was a stressful shoot.
My goal was to shoot at dusk or dark to achieve the most dramatic photograph possible. I had received a tip that the GW Bridge will have its’ massive lights on Veteran’s Day, a week away, so that was the ideal time to shoot. These special massive lights are so expensive to run they only turn them on a few days a year on special holidays. The sky light slowly started to dim like a fading room light on the dimmer switch, the background sky was a majestic deep blue, the traffic was moving fast on the lower level and perfectly slow for a still shot of the truck on the upper level. A massive American flag was hanging from the center support of the bridge and blowing gently. My vantage point with set up tripod was ideal. Conditions were perfect! I began to shoot away as the light quickly dimmed and I rapidly adjusted my camera for many lighting exposures to capture that one perfect exposure. As it became darker and shooting 25-35 exposures, I had that exciting feeling inside knowing that I had captured something special and I did! The shot later became an award winner.
Unfortunately, when the tractor trailer pulled up on the bridge inside my focus frame, the lights on the bridge were simple too dark to Illuminate the clients name on the truck, so the only solution was to schedule “Shoot Night 2”, in the clients parking lot to shoot their massive truck and photo compose it with my bridge shot.
Four days later in a massive parking lot, I directed their driver to park the giant rig at the perfect angle I needed to match the angle of the truck on the bridge. I set up about 5,000 watts of light to illuminate the truck and make the light appear to come from the side railing of the bridge on the company’s name and 2 sets of high beam lights from behind the truck created the perfect natural looking headlight on the truck rear. I climbed in a basket forklift and had my client lift me to a height of about 16 feet in the air and had the driver move forward and backward until I found the perfect height and angle I needed to match the angle of the traffic on the bridge in my view finder. I had to repeatedly refer to my printed photo in hand to judge the angles. The scene I set up with my client’s brightly lit truck now had clear legibility of the client’s name. All that was needed was some retouching from my ace retoucher to compose and park the silhouetted truck on the upper deck of the bridge. The upper deck traffic was crawling, so the still truck was exactly what I needed to digitally park it in the ideal spot of the photo.
The final result seen above was a bronze medal winner for Best Photography with the Art Directors Club of NJ. It proudly hangs at 5 feet in my client’s lobby. This photo also worked perfectly on the clients’ brochure covers and as framed gifts for numerous clients. The emotional reward of hitting a photography grand slam home run was tremendous.