I’m the type of photographer who can’t stay in one place for too long. My favorite location changes weekly. I believe that if you stay in the same place your work stays the same. A professor in college once told me, “You can live your life in vision or you can live your life in consequence”. The proverbial “roadblocks” we put up for ourselves become actual roadblocks. My favorite location to shoot is anywhere when I am on the road. So much of what I do is through seeing something new and different or having a fresh perspective on something. When you are traveling you can’t set things up, you see things for the first time and you rely on impulse to take a photo of what you’re looking at, at that exact moment.
Last week on a Tuesday morning, I woke up and decided to drive to Niagara Falls. For so many years, I’ve heard how big the falls are and I’ve seen all the photos of them. But, as an old Asian Proverb says, “Better to see something once, than to hear about it a thousand times.” I needed to see it for myself. After a six-hour drive, not knowing what to expect and hoping I wouldn’t be let down, I arrived. Immediately, I was enthralled. The power of these falls is incredible. The sound of the water rushing is frightening. The safety bars, holding you back from the edge, are terribly underwhelming.
When I saw the famous ‘Maid Of The Mist’ boat, my mind immediately washed back to Jim Carey’s scene in Bruce Almighty. I thought it was funny that he had to go on a tourist boat to give a weather report. I always thought “Oh, its just a little mist, it couldn’t have been that bad.” That 20-minute boat ride was a thrill. You can barely even open your eyes! There is just so much water thrashing and drenching you. Niagara’s wind swiftly picks up the free ponchos you’re wearing to protect you from the “mist” and you cling to whatever you can to keep yourself from falling over. You walk off that boat soaked and adrenaline fueled. I had my 35mm camera with me.
Next was the ‘Cave of the Winds’ where an elevator (that was built in the 1920s) takes tourists down through the cliff of the falls. The ride is cold and dark and has the feel of a coal-mining shaft. Stepping out of the elevator, a dark path winds down and then out onto the bottom of the American Falls. The boardwalk path added to my unease. It looked like it could break at any moment. The water rushes by so quickly and powerfully you get sprayed unceasingly. My camera work had to be swift, forcing me to take my photos as fast as I could. When something caught my eye, I’d whip my camera out, take the shot, and then get the camera back to safety under my poncho.
Niagara Falls has been my favorite location to shoot for the month of June. Currently, I’m driving from my hometown of West Chester, Pennsylvania to California where my favorite location is changing with every mile.
AuthorOriginally from West Chester PA, Grace travels the world for the best shot. She grew up on numerous film sets including Warner Bros. Studio and always had a drive for anything creative and out of the norm. Grace moved out to Los Angeles when she was eighteen to study photography at Art Center College of Design. Currently she is being shown at the Co-Lab Gallery in Los Angeles, which is now her third exhibition.