It seems as if the weather rarely cooperates for outside shoots, so one must be ready for just about anything. In this case it was extreme heat. On the second day, I drank approximately five liters of fluid (mostly just plain water). Luckily the shoot was on Governors Island, an oasis out in the middle of NY harbor that is about a twenty minute ferry ride from lower Manhattan. Being away from all the cars and the buildings helped a lot. There is also a cool ocean-like breeze.
I decided this time I absolutely had to something to mediate between me and the elements. I bought a very light dining fly at I. Goldberg for this trip. I did at least open the thing up before I left, but I was not able to set it up. When I got to Governors Island, I realized the design of the thing was just wrong. There was nothing to keep the support poles vertically attached to the top. It really needed an extra set of supports. So, I cut the shock cords and made two long poles and created a kind of improvised curved shell with one end securely staked to the ground. This also obviated the need for a backdrop and holder.
The second day, I really got things down adding some breasting lines as well. I was quite pleased at how clean it looked and it also provided a fair amount of sun protection for most of the day.
Both days of shooting were quite good. The first day was brisk, picking up in the late afternoon. Evelyn Kriete styled and assisted. G.D. Falksen also tagged along and helped with the finishing of the images. Sunday, I was on my own and it was slow up until the very end when a flurry of shooting rounded out the day. I made the 6:00 ferry and hit lower Manhattan with all my gear and a bag full of wet instant film negatives by about 6:20.
I then proceeded up to my cousin's place near 60th and Broadway over land. The whole rig was too large to even think about putting on the subway alone and the taxi fare for a 6.35 mile (I checked this on Mapquest) would have killed any profit I might have made; but moreover, I hate adding to the burning of fossil fuels if there is an alternative. It was decent day for summer and the temperature had dropped to a cool 86F, so I hoofed it. Foolishly, I just followed Broadway, going through some very dense areas: Soho, Union Square, Herald Square, Times Square and Columbus Circle. The whole trip took about two hours, which is about average for human locomotion--three miles per hour.
So many people out! Many tourists and I did my best to be tolerant of them slow-poking along. I also needed to be sure I didn't nail anyone in the shins with my wide load. I did surprising well. As I traveled, especially in the Times Square area, I saw so many artists on the street just trying to scrape out a few pennies. I imagined their workday--sitting there in the hellish heat, uninvited, in a largely uncontrolled and indifferent environment and probably having to scrounge for a badly needed bathroom and having to wait undue time for relief in the waiting line.
A cool apartment with my own room and bath was awaiting me the end of the day. Sometimes we don't realize how lucky and privileged we are. My cousin, who has become a kind of "angel" to my undertakings insisted I take a cab to the bus station on the final return, which I did, but I again went over the streets on the Philadelphia end, about two miles.
Portrait pics to follow in the next few days on http://tsirkus.org