Making Lemonade from Lemons
One of the problems with being a photographer and traveling to a specific location with a particular shot in mind is that you either have to do a lot of homework to insure that the scene you shoot will be what you want it to be, or play a little Russian roulette. I was in NYC in February for just one night and I wanted to shoot the downtown Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn, shooting across the East River with the Brooklyn Bridge in the frame. Sadly, on the one night I was in town, it rained.
I was unexpectedly back in New York again a few weeks ago. Ah ha! Another chance for that shot. I was staying in a downtown hotel which would be close by, the weather was supposed to be perfect, but something that I often run into in Europe caught me off guard. As we were driving to the hotel, we actually drove across the Brooklyn Bridge. That was when I noticed something was a little odd. As we got closer, I realized I was once again facing the dreaded scaffolding dilemma. The entire bridge was under renovation and was covered with wood, metal, and various construction netting.
With the invention of wide-format inkjet printing, it’s common practice in Europe for the authorities to cover the scaffolding in a printed image of what the building under renovation looked like, or will look like when completed. Some times the image is so good that you have to look twice to even notice it’s not the actual facade. In this case, there was no inkjet wrapper, just ugliness everywhere. Alas, my image with the Brooklyn Bridge was not meant to be – at least not on this trip.
If this had been a paying gig or even a more serious project, I would have done my due diligence and made a few phone calls and/or scouted web cams that would have told me the exact appearance of what I wanted to shoot. In this case, I just wanted to add the image I had in my head to my portfolio. One of the first things you learn when traveling is to roll with the punches and not get too bent out of shape when things don’t go the way you intended for them to.
You have to make the best of what you have to work with. I still ended up with some nice New York City images to add to my portfolio, and now I have another reason to go back to The City the next time the opportunity presents itself.
Don’t give up and don’t settle for less than what you really want. Make your plans and realize that life doesn’t always turn out the way you hoped it would. When that happens, think on your feet and shoot something else instead. You may even end up with a better image than what you were after in the first place!