Sand Blast Weekend in Asbury Park

The weekend of July 22-24 I had the amazing opportunity to photograph five events that were part of Sand Blast Weekend in Asbury Park, New Jersey. The weather was excruciatingly hot, and working outdoors on the beach during midday was uncomfortable, but I had such fun that it wasn’t all that bad.

Friday was the worst day for the heat, and I started off shooting an exhibition tournament by Asbury Park Volleyball. I admit that I didn’t go a great job at this. It was just too darn hot. My hands were so sweaty I almost couldn’t grip my cameras, and my underwear was so soaked through that it was uncomfortable just to move. After two hours I had to get indoors for some air conditioning. That evening, the Lost at Sea Kickoff Party was much easier to shoot.

Saturday was the main event, the Sand Blast Beach Party. A huge dance floor was erected on the beach adjacent to Aqua Restaurant & Bar in Asbury Park’s Convention Center. The bar and dance floor were packed, the music was great, and no one seemed to mind the heat. The producer, Brad Hurtado of Asbury Park Events, gave me a comprehensive shot list which had me going everywhere from the dance floor, to the bar, to a suite on the top floor of a nearby hotel for aerial views.

Saturday night, in air conditioned comfort, I shot The Gutter Ball, a dance party at the local bowling alley, Asbury Lanes. The space still has the feel of a 1960s bowling alley, and the disco lighting was perfect for “dragging the shutter.” This is a flash photography technique that employs slow shutter speeds to collect enough ambient light to balance with the light from the flash. Moving lights and bodies create light trails and motion blur, in addition to a little camera shake during the long exposure for a great feeling of movement.

The weekend ended on Sunday with the Riptide Pool Party a the Berkeley Hotel. Again, more great music and dancing, in addition to frolicking in the pool. I concentrated on collecting both candid and posed shots. In all, I took 2,850 photos over the weekend. I narrowed it down to a selection of 794 which I posted for partygoers to purchase. It was difficult to choose a limited number of photos to post here. For the complete set, click here to visit the online gallery.

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