The challenge a 15-minute photoblitz, a photographers hide and go seek game. My trip actually did not start in a mall. I was left out in the cold by a closed Gay Lord Hotel, inaccessible harbor, and beach. The National harbor was still filled with an amazing amount of views, but none that inspired me at the time. In my frustration I tried to think of somewhere that could lead me to what I wanted and needed. All my time in retail work led to me to think of shopping centers. Stores are made to be visually appealing they make visuals, apply art, and other tricks to make the shopping experience more pleasurable. Multiple stores would mean multiple different displays and styles. The best place to find multiple stores is in a mall. Tysons Corner mall would be the closest mall to me for use, but an issue with the amount of foot traffic switched my thoughts to Tysons Corner II which held the more expensive stores. There the foot traffic would be lighter. So off I went.
This is one of the only times in my life that I can recall when the main focus of my trip to a mall was not the actual stores. I don’t think I ever took an even shorter trip either. A ticking clock of 15 minutes was my challenge. Armed only with my phone, watch, and a list of photo ideas to try and capture. Hard to ignore the sirens call of a shopping trip.
The next step I took once I had arrived was not actually the photoblitz. I walked around coffee in hand looking around at the scenery. I wanted to get a sense of what I had to work with and come up with ideas. I was not somewhere I frequented.
Link to provided map: https://www.tysonsgalleria.com/en/directory/map/
Then I steeled myself and started my time. At first I was skittish. I am not one to put myself in uncomfortable situations to take pictures. I was approached many times by store clerks and mall cops if “I needed assistance”… I must have looked like I was looking to steal something. I persisted and just told people I was doing a class assignment on photography and went on my way. I became bolder with my actions and started to produce photos I was actually proud of.
This photo took me quite a couple of takes and even though people were looking at me weird I wanted the right shot. What can’t be seen is there are multiple other glass art pieces similar to this one around it, 9 in total if I remember correctly. They each had interesting shadows but this one being on the lower shelf than the others had more shadows and interesting light to me.
This lit up tree was another experiment in the uncomfortable to me. I had to lay on the floor, my head at the base of the tree, my phone nearly at my forehead, and the flash at its brightest to be able to get this picture. I did it multiple times and with a couple of different trees.
Oddly enough this is something that also took me a great deal of pain to produce. Clothing looks nice on a hanger or on a person yet when you photograph it that way the lighting can really set the picture off. I do not think the workers really appreciated me taking an item and laying on a table. I had to work with what I had; which was not the best in lighting choices.
The whole experience wasn’t bad. Getting my phone at just the right angle to make a stark change from “nature” to modern technology in this photo was fun. I essentially played with timers to put my phone upside down inside a planter at an angle to catch a glimpse of what was on the other side. The trick was to make sure I did not get any of the seating of flooring in between.
Once I started to get on a good roll I ended up liking the experience. It was fun trying to come up with different ways to capture shots. I had to get pretty creative sometimes.