I like silhouettes. I like the simplicity, the drama, the emotion. I’m a silhouette guy. My clients like silhouettes also and I usually do whatever I can to make them happy.
In 2010 I was shooting a wedding on an old farm in rural Minnesota. I showed up pretty early and we were right on schedule when the bride asked me to shoot a silhouette of her and her future husband. I jumped at the opportunity and started scouring the landscape to find the best location. It was 1:00 pm so there wasn’t any shade to be found – a necessary ingredient for a silhouette. We discovered one of the old barns and pulled the heavly rusted doors open and began setting up the shot.
I would stand in the dark barn and have the couple stand at the bright, sunlit entrance and a silhouette would magically be created. With several thousands of dollars of equipment I walked through the barn on crap covered floor. “No big deal,” I thought, “it’s just my shoes.” I positioned the couple in the door entrance and took a couple test shots. They were good, but not perfect. I needed to be up higher. I looked around for a step stool, or a ladder but couldn’t find anything. The only thing that I could find was stack of broken cinder blocks. I dragged one through the crusty dung on the floor and carefully positioned it. More shots, still not high enough. I started dragging a second cinder block over with the intention of stacking them but quickly realized that this was going to get dangerous in a hurry.
Instead of two cinder blocks, I went back to my single, broken cinder block and proceeded to stand on my tippytoes trying to get the perfect shot. Still not high enough. I stretched on my tippytoes just as high as I could go then, bam, ouch, wow, I fell to the filth covered floor with two cameras, two lenses, and two flashes crashing to the ground. It felt like I was pushed out of a three story building, In fact, I fell about 8 inches, dislocated my shoulder, and my legs were covered in blood.
The plus side to this was no one saw me fall. I had positioned the couple to face AWAY from me for the photograph and my wife was outside of the barn with the bridal party.
I stood up, thinking I must have been kicked by horse, and told the couple I got the perfect shot on the way down, a little crooked, but “I can fix that in Photoshop.” I popped my shoulder back into the socket, took some Tylenol, checked out my equipment and continued shooting for the next 8 hours hoping none of the guests noticed the cow sh*t on my back.
Today I travel with a step stool.