This past September 11th, I joined a few friends, and a ton of other photographers, at Liberty State Park, to capture the 12th annual 9/11 Tribute in Light. We arrived early enough to get a spot right upfront along the railing. As the sun set, the park became more crowded and tripod space was hard to find.
After we got our shots, we started heading back to the cars, and that's when we met Carl. Carl had pulled up on a beautiful Harley, wearing his fire department honor guard uniform. Everyone in the area with a camera was snapping shots of Carl and his bike. I tried to get a few shots myself, and even convinced Carl to get his bike closer to the Empty Sky Memorial. With all the crowds and other photographers trying to get shots as well, I couldn't get the shot I wanted.
I contacted Carl shortly after that night, and asked if he'd be willing to come back to the park for a shoot with less crowds and the chance to get some good shots. Carl was willing, and we set up a shoot a few days later on a beautiful September afternoon. I was joined by two good friends and fellow photogs Alhaji, and John. The plan was to have Carl and his bike right in the middle of the Empty Sky Memorial. We used the afternoon sun and one Elinchrom Quadra Ranger to light Carl. The plan worked great! After waiting for the sun to dip a little lower, and some people doing an engagement shoot, we were able to get some great shots.
Carl is a veteran Jersey City Firefighter of over 15 years, and Honor Guard member since 1999. It doesn't take long to realize Carl's dedication, pride and passion for what he does. He shared with me his experiences and memories from that horrible day 12 years ago. For Carl, and so many others, that day is forever engraved in his mind. The sounds, visions, and even the smells from that day, will never leave him.
I'm honored, and privileged, to have met Carl. I cannot thank him enough for taking the time to come out for this shoot, and more important, his service to the community. Carl is an amazingly friendly person, and it was a blast doing this shoot with him. He says he's been riding motorcycles for over 30 years, and if you were wondering, that beautiful bike is a 2013 Harley Davidson Breakout Custom.
Meeting Carl, was a reminder for me, and hopefully for all of us, to Never Forget.