In Maine. Love it here. Come every year to teach at the Maine Media Workshops. I’ve brought my kids a couple of times, and I always prepare Caitlin and Claire by regaling them with stories and images of the McNally Clan loading the giant oxcart and trekking into the great North Country, far beyond the mountains and the reach of other fierce, warlike clans. I paint them a picture of their role, foraging along side the cart in the near forest for roots, nuts and berries, dressed in simple homespun garments. They just roll their eyes.
They are used to dad’s overactive imagination. Whenever I have landed a major National Geographic story, I would tell them to gather round the campfire and listen. Father has slain the great woolly mammoth! There will be meat, tea, flour and sugar for the winter! They’re like, “Yeah Dad, that’s great. Can we have some money to go to the mall?”
Oh, well. Here in Rockport, home of the Workshops, one coffee shop, and Chalky. He’s a good guy, really, even though his mandate in life is to chalk your tires and then ticket you if he comes back and discovers your vehicle has overstayed the two hour limit for that parking space. He has the gait of an old dog, the gruff demeanor of somebody who has fended off too many whiny ass parking violators in his day, and a memory like a bear trap. I’ve gotten to know him a little bit, mostly by asking him if he’ll let me do his picture. He refuses. Always. This has gone on for, like, 10 years. It might be me. The idea I have is to close off the main drag of Rockport, put him in the middle of the road and make a chalk outline of his body in the road, like a crime scene, with him standing over it, wielding his all powerful chalk wand like Thor wields the mighty Mjolinir.
The longest conversation we ever had was about the various body parts and organs he’s had go missing. I was very sympathetic, and it was certainly interesting, but didn’t gain me any personal traction in the old parking situation. Son of a bitch ticketed me twice yesterday morning
Last night the class went to Firefly, where I made the above picture. (Tech notes below.) It’s run by Andy Swift, who is an artist, a mechanic, and a genuine Maine character. He restores historic fire engines for a living, and runs his business out of an old chicken barn that used to house 33,000 of the feathered darlings. It is quite simply one of the best places I have ever been, chock full of stuff–fire trucks, wheels, engines, parts, tools, and toys. Andy used to have Osama bin Laden targets in his backyard which he would regularly chew threw with a 30 cal.
Andy also did the restoration on a historic hose wagon that became the ceremonial hearse for FDNY after 911, an emotional, powerful project. I gave him my 911 book back then, and made his picture. Yesterday, I gave him my new book, The Moment It Clicks. Our mood was much lighter. He was laughing and joking with the class. I signed the book for him….”Dear Andy, happiness is a belt fed weapon.”
The lady in the two location pics is Brianna Borkowski, who works often with the workshops, and has always been patient and hard working with my classes. In the top photo, knocked it out with 6 SB800 units. Two are above camera, running through a Lastolite 3×6 Skylite panel. One is below camera as a beauty fill, firing through a Tri-grip diffuser panel, hand held. There is a unit camera left making the warm ceiling highlight, and one in the way back, giving a little squib of light to the far, far wall. And one is bang on in back of the American flag, flying around and creating backlit type effects and shadows.
Then there’s Brianna in the boiler room, all glammed up. We take her to the nicest places! This one is done with Elinchrom Rangers. Two are camera right, out of the room in the parking lot, with 1/2 cuts of CTO (color temp orange filters, the filter that makes a strobe balanced for neutral daylight look like 1-800-DIAL-A-SUNSET. Boom! Got the room taken care of. Lit like fading daylight, when in reality, the place was so dark the AF on the D3 was workin’ hard. For up front, took an Elinchrom beauty dish through a 3×6 Lastolite Skylite Panel, and then filled just a touch with a hand held gold side Tri-grip reflector. Add a dash of Brianna type photo model attitude, and we be done. More tk….