Where to find Graffiti?

Welcome back to my Senior Stories series! In this installment, we will take a quick dive into my first Class of 2023 senior session of the year! The location choice for this Gates Chili senior came about when there was an interest in having graffiti in the shot. Did you know that probably the best graffiti you will find around Rochester, NY is at Cobbs Hill Park? I didn't until just recently.

One of the great things about photography is that it carries the photographer to interesting locations that they would not have otherwise found themselves in. I grew up in Fairport. Despite having lived around Rochester from 1990 to 2003, I had never once visited the Cobbs Hill Reservoir. In fact, it was not until I did a shoot there last summer that I really went to explore it. But even then, I did not realize that there are abandoned water towers a short hike into the woods until 2 weeks ago. Who would have guessed? Well, if you go to the east end of the reservoir, you can pick up a well-trodden trail that will take you there in about 1/4 mile.

Cobbs Hill Water Towers. Pick up the trail (purple) at the east end of the reservoir..

Don't Compete With the Background

My client wanted graffiti. Once at the water tower, it was not hard to provide that. The graffiti adds a really edgy element to the images that could easily overwhelm the subject. However, it is also busy enough that it can serve as nice background noise in the resulting images. The trick is making sure that there is a plan to work with it as a background.

Two approaches were taken to make this succeed. First, I made sure to communicate with my client beforehand the importance of wardrobe selection. The fact that he is wearing simple black and white t-shirts makes him stand out against the noisy background. It worked incredibly well and looked great. The second step was to use off camera flash. By lighting my subject, he is one of the brighter elements in the image. The viewer's eye naturally is drawn to him rather than the graffiti. Between those two steps, we came away with some images that I think are incredible. Check them out below.

Pick Your Background

The colors at the water towers change about every 10 feet. For that reason, you can get all kinds of different vibes in a small area. Below are some of my favorites where the greens, violets, and blues in the background dictated the tone of the image.

Oh yeah... The Cobbs Hill Monument

A staple of any trip to Cobbs Hill Reservoir is the iconic monument at the west end of the reservoir. It is the closest thing we have in Rochester to an ancient pillared building. It oozes character. The most important thing I can tell you about it regarding photography is that it takes direct sunlight in the afternoon. That can work to your advantage if you shoot closer to sunset.

But When the Sun Goes Down...

There is always flash to create a different kind of image, like the ones below.

Until Next Time...

I hope you enjoyed this installment of senior stories. Remember, it is not too late to book your Class of 2023 senior session! If you like what you see, reach out! I would love to capture some incredible imagery for this special year. I consistently get great reviews from my clients and would love to do all I can to impress you as well.