Shooting the Dallas Skyline and The Importance of Location Scouting
So the call comes in, "We just moved here, are in love with the Dallas skyline, and want to decorate our new home with custom skyline portrait art. Can you make that happen for us?" "Of course...and let's do it at nighttime!” was my answer. All the while running through my head was, 'yea, this is going to be awesome, uh...oh crap, I don't know anyone with a rooftop terrace in Deep Ellum'. Let me just say, all of my problem solving training as an engineer paid off for this session.
At the suggestion of my client via Google, Trammel Crow Park looked like it was going to be a great location. But you know me, I like back-up plans, and isn't that one of the reasons you hire a professional photographer anyway? More research turned up four other locations with different Dallas views and lots of little disclaimers like, "dude, I wouldn't go there after dark and definitely not with thousands in camera gear". Great, now I'm going to get shot and apparently robbed.
So the new plan: go to Sketchyville first, in the daylight, and finish at TCP just before the setting sun. But just to be safe, I should probably swing by each location just to be sure I didn't need to hire that big dude at the gym to tag along toting a led pipe.
Well at the end of my scouting trip, I concluded that with some street smarts, we might survive the ghetto, and that it was going to take a 4-wheel drive truck to get us to that park. Like yeah, someone removed the bridge to get us over the leeve. But with some boldness which I had already tested, we could take the construction road to the disassembled park for our great view. Everyone on board? Great, let's do this!
On the day of the shoot, we all arrived at location 1, thankfully without making eye contact with any riffraff. Work fast, work fast; use that hard light to your advantage. Alright, we've got it, let's go to the car.
Oh wait, check out that awesome rustic tin wall. Two second guys, that's all I need, and just ignore that pit-bull junkyard dog telling us he's going to eat our arms for supper.
Now safe and sound at the park with the sun finally looking gorgeous, we get approached by someone. It's a foreman in a hardhat informing us, "you guys can do what you want, but we're locking the gate in about 3 minutes for the night, and you need to decide if you want to hang here until morning." Dang! I already knew there was no way I was going to park anywhere within 5 miles of this location and still have 4 wheels when I returned to my car. So in a last effort, we took to Plan C - race across town to the location that might accompany a visit from the highway patrol. They really don't like for you to park and set-up camp on IH-30 with studio flashes. What is it with this day and my affinity for people with guns?
We missed most of the sunset en route, but thankfully, we arrived right at the best time to supplement sunset with extra lights to make magic in the dark - our ultimate plan for the session.
At the end of the day, it is a true pleasure to work with clients with a clear vision of the portrait art they want, and the cooperation and trust in me to turn that vision into a treasure. You guys are awesome; it's definitely a night I'll remember.
I have watched fireworks from that spot on I-30 and Hampton. It's a good place to shoot the Dallas skyline from the west side. Another good spot and closer is at Beckley and Commerce. I'm looking for a good place to snap some pics at sunset of the Dallas skyline from the east side.
Where did you finally wind up shooting the last couple of shots?
The pictures are awesome! Glad you made it through the shoot without getting shot! :)
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