Photoshoot in Long Island City, Queens

According to family folklore, I knew how to dance before I knew how to walk. Perhaps because of this, I have always been drawn to a dancer's flexibility and grace.

Since I grew up dancing in front of mirrors in rooms shaped like boxes (my bedroom included), I knew that was the last place I wanted to photograph a dancer. I wanted some juxtaposition.

I met Sarah, a dancer / yogi / marathon runner outside of Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City, Queens. I chose this place admittedly out of convenience, but also because I knew it was a spot where the city meets some nature.

We had planned on shooting the week prior, but New York City's heatwave had been intense. I knew Sarah would've been fine. After all, she runs marathons and does hot yoga.

However, I was nervous that sweat would be visible in the photographs, and, honestly, I'll take any opportunity to lessen the use of Photoshop!

The day of the rescheduled shoot, Sarah met me right after completing a full day of work at her law firm. After some quick warm-up stretches, she was ready to go.

One of my favorite things to do when photographing is to play around with depth of field.

I do this by framing the subject along a long depth of field. For example, in the above shot, Sarah is rooted in the foreground, standing atop a beam and nestled beneath a drooping tree. Just behind her lies a bench and some shrubs. That alone would make for a decent photograph. However, in the above shot, the skyline in the background adds a third layer, and it is this depth that I love.

I also love how the soles of Sarah's feet gave a less-pristine, more-rustic feel to the shots. Had she worn shoes, the photographs would've had a completely different feeling.

* Fortunately Sarah didn't mind getting her feet dirty.

After we finished photographing by the waterfront, Sarah quickly changed into her next outfit. Anyone who's performed multiple dance numbers in the same act knows the art of changing stealthily!

For the last round of shots, I wanted to see what it would look like for Sarah to dance barefoot on concrete.

We found a street not too far away that had bright colors that played off the colors in her dress.

This old building had bricks that also surprisingly worked with her dress. The bricks' fading colors seemed to be subdued tones of the ones in the vibrant dress.

As we were walking back, Sarah commented on the beautiful sunset. Last minute, we decided to stop by the piers one more time and snap a couple of photos.

Lesson learned that day: Sunsets set behind skyscrapers real fast.

It was there one minute and gone the next –– "Symbolically appropriate to dancing," I thought.


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