Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Shot in the Dark

(Snapped on 11/17/10)

I awoke last Tuesday, jittery with excitement and rarin' to meet the day head-on. It was to be my last chance for the next five days - to get out there and take some self-portraits.

I spent the morning digging through the Mount Everest-sized pile of thrift store clothing that I've amassed over the last few decades, but which I've significantly fortified over the last few months - and walked away from the excavation with both arms brimming and my head full of (what I thought were some) innovative ideas.

I spent the afternoon pounding the pavement - stopping into various locations where (after considering my costume selections) I'd decided that I wanted to shoot...places where it would be necessary to have permission though, in order for me to do so.

I had packed my car with all the essentials that I'd need for the four very different shoots, juuust in case any of the property or business owners/managers decided to let me take my pictures that day. One guy said, "No" another said, "Yes" but asked that I do it some other time, please. And the two remaining shoots were "maybe's" until I was able to solicit the "first in command" for the final stamp of approval. But! I did rustle up a hospital gown (BIG thanks to the local Emergency Clinic!) something that I'd had an astonishing amount of difficulty doing, up until that point.

I was glad about the gown, but bummed that I was going back home without any new photos to download. Back to square one, with nary a notion what to do for my consolation nighttime shoots - I did as much of the local thrift store circuit as I could squeeze in before cocktail hour, hoping to find key pieces that might move me - and Honey...lemme tell ya'...did I ever!

The "old lady" pics. were the result of an of amalgamation of the clothing and wig that I purchased that day along with an interesting suggestion that a trusted photographer friend had recently offered...I loved my middle daughter's reaction when I showed her my fave from this group. Her lower jaw dropped, her eyes popped and she said, "Mom...your pictures are getting so much.........better!" which I took to mean, "not so naked for once".

I mentioned in my last post, how much planning and organizing goes into pulling off back-to-back shoots, especially those that have nothing in common with each other. Last Tuesday night was one of those times. I took the "old lady" pics. first, out of the three on the night's docket, because I knew I couldn't recycle the wrinkled face that I'd drawn on, plus - I staged this series just up the street from my house, so it was no sweat for me to swing back by my house to wash my face, fix it all over again, change my costume, and pack up everything else that I'd need, before leaving out again for the next two shoots.

(Snapped on 11/17/10)

I did my make-up and hair for the "pretty" shoot, knowing that I was gonna intentionally mess it all up for the last pics. of the night, stepped into the (way too big) nighty that I'd plucked from the rack at the thrift store, put on my Carhartt and my warm, comfy Uggs (the best for slipping on and off between shoots) and drove to a nearby town.

I parked my car in a dark, hidden lot and carried my things to the gazebo (I was so happy to see all of those party lights - I'd completely forgotten about them!) It was 11:45 on a Tuesday night, and although I was technically trespassing by being on the park grounds after hours, I wasn't nervous about it at all. Who was gonna see me? Besides possibly (but not likely) a motorist in the late night traffic out on the main road - which was a pretty good distance away... 

It had stopped raining for the moment, so I set up my camera out in the grass, kicked off my Uggs and left 'em layin' there with my jacket and got right to work, snapping about 15 pics. like the one above. There was something about this group that bothered me I tried shooting inside of the gazebo instead, to see if that would make a difference...and right away I was glad that I had...

(Snapped on 11/17/10)

It started to rain again, so I went out to the grass to fetch my jacket and boots, and brought them up to the gazebo to keep dry...and thank goodness I did because not 30 seconds later, a car pulled into that dark private parking lot and pulled into a spot near my car. I was shitting a brick, thinking, "Oh jesus lord, now who's this?" Dreading having to diffuse the unwanted advances of what I was certain would be some lecherous perv...I crouched down so I wouldn't be visible above the railing, pulled on my boots, zipped my jacket up over the sheer nighty and like a dumbass - rather than just grabbing my stuff and hot-footin' it back to my car - I started clicking through the pictures I had taken. For some odd reason, I felt the need to make sure that I'd gotten at least a couple of photos worth keeping, before accepting that my shoot in the gazebo was ovah...

Sitting on my haunches, my eyes fixed on my camera, I heard a man who was mere feet away from me say, "Hey". I didn't look up I just said, "Hey" back to him. The man then said, "Whatchya doin'?" I replied, "Takin' pictures" I then looked up to see the man squatting just below the steps that led up to the gazebo and holy crap - it was a cop - not a nefarious molester, as I'd feared...

(Snapped on 11/17/10)

(Indulge me, if you kindly - while I wax romantic for a moment...)

My sensible head knew that I was most likely in a world of trouble, but there had been something so sorta tender about the way that the officer had knelt down before me, and calmly questioned me in his kind and gentle voice. And when I'd finally lifted my head to size up the soft-spoken intruder - that initial zing of panic after realizing he was a cop, morphed into a flutter in my tummy cuz he was so damn CUTE!

I don't get crushes anymore, I really just don't. I don't have time to go looking for the object of my desires, and besides - I'm totes jaded about men and relationships and all that - after years of rapaciously dating unsuccessfully...

That's why it felt so strange to be silently swooning, when I shoulda been terrified that he was more than likely gonna take me to jail. I listened as he explained about the security cameras in the park, although I did wonder what took him so long to come bust me. I'd photographed myself for more than 30 minutes, and the police station's only 3 minutes away - if that. I was attentive as he educated me on the severity of indecent exposure (a class 1 misdemeanor. Huh. Who knew?) However I silently queried whether it's truly indecent exposure - if there's no one around to see your if a tree falls in woods, blah, blah, blah...

Understandably, the hot cop was having difficulty grasping why I was doing what I'd been doing. I figured my best line of defense against being mistaken for a pervert - would be to tell him about my blog as well as show him the pictures in my I did, which also afforded us more time to hang out.........(ok, now that sounded kinda messed up)

Before sending me on my way (on foot, to sneak my last photo shoot - hee hee!) the hot cop strongly urged me to keep mum in my blog. Aghast - I argued, "How could I?" It was my most thrilling story to date! But even as I write this entry, I find myself torn. I would hate to think that something I say, might wind up biting him in the ass, especially since (he's so CUTE!) he displayed humanity by granting me amnesty. Yes, he let me walk - but it wasn't for a lapse in his devotion to the force...the guy took his job very seriously, that was clear. He just happened to be that one reasonable cop in a million, and I happened to be lucky enough to get him.

I'm not sure what repercussions could ensue, should he catch wind of this little expose. Naturally, I'd prefer that he show up at my door holding flowers (or serve me breakfast in bed?), but if he must show up to serve me a warrant - so be least I'll get to see him again.........(What tha I mental or what)

(Snapped on 11/17/10)

I hurried down the 3 or 4 blocks to try and reach my last destination (a quiet side street with this wonderful row of dilapidated buildings) before the skies opened up. As lightening struck and thunder clapped, I undid my hair and rubbed my eye make-up then frantically changed out of the jacket, nightgown and Uggs and into the hospital gown. I was not fast enough to beat the terrific storm that blew in like a veritable hurricane, however. I have never known November weather to be anything like that before...

(Snapped on 11/17/10)

(No. That is not me "acting" in this photo...that is actually precisely how I felt)

No mincing words here, I struggled with this shoot. My camera was exposed to the elements so, many of the photos were distorted by the raindrops that repeatedly rolled down the lens. ALL of my clothes were soon drenched (my beloved Uggs did not survive the ordeal - RIP) and the only dry thing I could find in my bag to use to wipe the lens - was a hair scrunchy, which actually worked pretty well. The temperature wasn't too cold really (maybe 55 - 60 degrees?) but the whipping wind and that relentless downpour, coupled with the me only wearing the gown - caused me to became so cold that my hands and whole body began to shake convulsively. I wound up shivering so badly that I could no longer set the timer on my was definitely a very freaky feeling.

I swapped out the gown for the soggy nighty, put my sopping wet jacket and boots back on (yuck) and defeated - I schlepped all my gear the however many millions of blocks it now felt like I had to cover, before making it back to my car. 

Now...wouldn't it be just so wildly romantic if the hot cop read this - and instead of feeling exploited he felt compelled to look me up? *sigh* I know, I know - it's not likely to happen, but at least it's a shot in the dark...


  1. Wow, that was a close call. I did this in North Dallas a few years ago.

    But the photos look excellent. They have a very dreamy quality that might have been hard to repo in a studio.

  2. Yeah, I got pretty lucky (weaseled my way out of a similar situation just yesterday, matter of fact!) Ooooh! I would LOVE to see the pictures that you took in you have a website where I could go to see them?

    Thanks btw, for checkin' out my blog - I really appreciate it!

  3. I love night shooting! The light is always kinda freaky, coming from some combination of metal halide or sodium street lights, neon from signs, incandescent and fluorescent from inside buildings, headlights, and (if you're lucky and have a really steady hand (me) or a wad of aluminum foil (you) moonlight. Just shot at nightfall yesterday on South Beach. Gotta download and see what I got.

  4. I was really intimidated by nighttime shooting at first, but I soon discovered how much I love it! It's taught me that there can be beauty in imperfection...

    But let's face it, Steve...the results that I get vs. the masterpieces that YOU create - are in TOtally different leagues...You have some sort of steady-hand SUPER power, haha! Your nighttime shots are magical, artistically and technically (*bows reverently*)

    You better let us know when the South Beach shots are up!!!