Join Steve Simon for an in-depth discussion in this video Reviewing the images of the rides, part of Shooting a Photo Essay: Coney Island.
- Alright. Well, in this critique we're going to move inside Coney Island proper, where the rides are and some of the scary stuff. Now, I'm wanting to concentrate on the rides. It helps me to go in with sort of a clear idea of what I'm trying to get. This way I can concentrate. When you know what you're looking for it's a lot easier to find it. So, I was going to concentrate on the rides, but coming in I would see this gentleman. He asked me to take his picture. I wasn't going to not take his picture. He kind of scared me a little bit. And I'll probably use this in the final story slideshow that I'll show you at the end, and some of the other signs as I'm walking in, even though I'm going for some of the rides.
There was kind of a beautiful moon. I'm going to try it with 'TILT-A-WHIRL' in focus, and then maybe the moon in focus, and then maybe just without the sign and get the moon in a sense of place as just kind of a nice image. The Wonder Wheel signs. This one's a little bit messy here on the side, but this one is a little bit different, a little cleaner, perhaps arguably a little bit nicer, and you can see this ride coming up that just adds an extra. Whether or not I'll leave this in or not, maybe it's a little distracting, I don't know, but I like this little thing coming in as I was shooting it, so I'm very aware of it.
The signs... you saw me when I photographed this 'NO STUPID QUESTIONS!' sign. It was just kind of a fun thing, maybe I'll use it. And again, on my way to the rides I see this gentleman peering in the photo booth. For whatever reason, he was excluded, so he's sticking his face in, and it makes for kind of a cute image, and I'm following him as he buries his head under the curtain there, and I'll ultimately choose the strongest one. This woman was feeding her baby inside one of those amusement games, so I shot a couple of quick frames before she noticed me.
Now I'm getting to the rides. This is kind of what I'm looking for. A woman on her cellphone, not the best angle, but still kind of a cute image. You don't necessarily see people on there phones on these rides. Moments, people kind of relaxing. I like this little piece of equipment here. It says 'Lull', and it looks like a lull in the action, so I decided to keep this in the frame. It's kind of yellowish, and it sort of goes, and as a color image it's yellow, red, and blue, so there's not a lot of distracting color. I think it works really well.
So, I'm walking and shooting and just reacting to whatever I see to help capture the spirit of the event, but it's really the rides that I'm going for. And, there's this swing ride, and you can see the shadows being cast at this particular time of day, so I'm going to focus on the shadows, because I think shadows are often really kind of an interesting thing to shoot. So, it's moving around, and I'm getting different patterns of shadows, and I decided I would do something a little bit different, and that is rotate the image upside down, because I thought this looks kind of cool.
There are no rules necessarily. So, I'm shooting, trying to get a clean separation of all the legs, didn't quite happen exactly maybe the way I wanted. This is a lot better, and because they're moving so fast, you're not thinking, you're just reacting, and ultimately you're going to choose what you think is going to be the strongest image. So, I'm going to think on that, but it's going to be a bit of a tough choice, because a lot of them are kind of very similar, so I'm going to compare them. Hit this carousel, the horses were very beautiful, beautifully lit, but they were by themselves.
There weren't a lot of people, so I decided I would try and make some nice images of these horses themselves in the beautiful light. You can see it reflected in the mirrors, so that caught my eye, I thought I would do a shot of the reflection, and they're really kind of beautiful the way they're made, but really what I'm looking for is the people and the carousel and the horses. So, when the people got on and the kids got on I focused on them. This little girl, she was so cute, and she's going around.
She entered the light, so I kind of positioned myself where the light was and then just waited for her to come around, and I had a few shots, so I was able to photograph a few times, and ultimately I think this was the image that I selected as being the strongest. The kid's having so much fun, and you want to really capture that, that's really what Coney Island is all about, especially for the kids, so you want to capture the sheer joy on their face, and with this kid, he was reacting so much. I'm looking for how people react as you saw, and when I see someone reacting really nicely, I'm going to focus on them and spend time and try and get the best possible shot that really captures the joy on the kid's face, because that really is going to help tell the story of Coney Island.
And then, these swings, they're pretty cool. These are the reflections you saw in the shadows. This was kind of a scene that I hadn't seen before. I thought it was really cute, the mom, those must be her kids or she must know them, and she's photographing them in the hil-en-ren. As a photographer I can appreciate some planning went into this, and I bet she got a really cool and different shot, and I got a cool and different shot, so I really like that one. And this ride, here it is at the bottom. I just put this image here to show you, but really this is where the action is. This thing goes upside down, the expressions are crazy, the legs are flailing all over the place, and I'm shooting, shooting, shooting.
I'm looking for the one shot that really kind of captures the maximum expressions that people have or legs that are just kind of crazy flailing. I think that's going to really help to tell the story of Coney Island, the thrill rides. Some of the rides you can't see faces, because people are caged in, so I wanted to photograph things where you can see their faces, and then went back a little bit later when it was a little darker and the light is a little bit different, and that's kind of interesting too.
Unfortunately they're not that many people as you can see on this particular one. So, you do what you do. Here you can see kind of a plane ride and then this, so I'm trying to frame it in a different way. This I thought was kind of cool, because there's and actual plane, and it gives it a sense of height, and even though you can't see the faces you see the legs all over the place, and I think the plane adds something to it, so again I'm going to have a hard time choosing. Here's another one, another angle where you've got the plane and you've got the American flag, and I kind of like the graphic nature of this one too, so we'll see which one ultimately I pick.
This was kind of cool, because you've got these Canadian geese flying, and I decided that I noticed them as you'll see in another picture that they were coming, and it looks like this one guy is sort of looking at the Canadian geese. I would too, I mean he's up there with them. Ah, there's the one where you can see them in formation, which is kind of neat, so you've got to be ready, click click, shoot shoot, and ultimately you might use it. So when you saw me shoot through the fences there were a couple of things that I was shooting at.
It was this sort of catapult ride, where I was trying to get the light was really kind of ... It's just graphic, it's almost black and white. I wanted to see the feet there, but I also decided I would actually include the fence in the shot, just to sort of see what it might look like as a graphic element, and I think in this particular shot I kind of like it. It's high lit, you can see a little bit of the light there, you can see their feet, and you've got the pattern, which is really cool, so there was one shot that I did through the fence. And, this was the other one that I saw.
I love the graphic nature of the sun setting and the roller coaster tracks, so I was waiting for the roller coasters to go by, and I was kind of shooting as it did. This one I turned to black-and-white and I made it a little bit lighter, so you can see the expressions on the faces. But, I'm following it, you can see the catapult ride and the roller coaster, but it isn't really quite exactly what I'm looking for. We're getting closer here, it's a very graphic image.
Getting closer here too, because you can see the joy on the face of the person here, so I'm shooting, I'm shooting. I'm getting closer. This one I kind of like, because you can see the guy there, and I might crop this a little differently, but it's graphic, and you can see what's happening. Ah, here it is, so this is the one that I really liked from here, because you can see the nice outline, it's a very graphic image. It's going so fast there, I put them right at the tip of the frame, and sometimes that can be effective, just to have your subject right at the tip of the frame here, but he's kind of the major important.
He's like, "Yee-haw!" he's going at it, and it's really kind of cool. And, here you've got this one, but I think that this is the one. And, then I went back a little, and I included the head and people up there. This one I really like from that too, because you've got the head, you've got the graphic nature, and I think it's the little things that make a difference, Because you can see all five fingers, that just gives it just a little bit extra, and that's what I'm always trying to do, and I'm encouraging you to always try and push to get that shot that's just a little bit extra, a little bit more special.
This one was probably my favorite I have to say, and it was just the sheer joy of this woman right front and center. You've got the great profile there, the sun setting. This one will likely be my ending image for the slideshow, because it ends on a high note. The sun's going down, she's really kind of happy, and I think it's really kind of storytelling and will really finish off the story very well. So, there you go. There's the critique from the rides at Coney Island.
- Getting the lay of the land
- Shooting action shots
- Photographing rides
- Photographing food and people
- Reviewing the images from Coney Island