So I’m home after 26 days in a row on the road. Great arrival at Kennedy. Usual deal. One of those line shepherds at passport inspection, probably pulling in at about a deuce, deuce and a half was screaming, I mean screaming, at people to make sure the lines moved fast. Have your documentation ready, have your passports out, your tie undone, your pants down at your ankles, and your vaccination card open! I mean she was operating at the top of a pair lungs that sounded like they were powered by a Cummins Turbo Diesel. She meant well, but for all the world sounded like a Marine DI shouting, “Quit your grinnin’ and drop your linen!”
Or something like that. Oh well….home and it only took about 3 minutes to get yelled at.
But happy to be home, for sure, even though both of my pieces of luggage went missing. They’ll show up. I don’t get upset anymore. Happened so many times, I just shrug. Used to have one of those T-shirts that said the rings of Saturn are actually made up of lost airplane luggage, which actually might be true.
So after some interrupted jet lagged sleep, I come downstairs and wander towards the kitchen. Annie’s already up, and the TV is on, and I hear a familiar voice. Wait a minute. Who is that? At five frikkin’ thirty in my house??!!
Annie’s watching David Hobby’s new lighting DVD set at 5:30 am on Sunday! I mean the Strobist community is a lot like church and all, but geez…..
A little background. Annie is beautiful, wonderful, fun, smart, kind, decent (about this time, the question forms in your head, “So why’d she marry you?” I know, I know….). She’s also a real good photographer. And a perfectionist. “Perfectionist” and “photographer” are not terms that mix well. My work is so far off course sometimes I coulda captained the Exxon Valdez. I accept that and am used to the whole ongoing photo proposition about the day to day, unpredictable, on and off relationship between the windshield and the bug.
But not Annie. When she takes on a job, in this case a pregnant portrait of a dear and beautiful friend of her’s, she feels the pressure. As we all do. But unlike many of us dyed in the wool photogs, she actually does something about it, like prepare.
And obsess. We talked about the job, as we always do, and she was stressing a bit, and studying. I tried to make her feel better, and mentioned it was kind of relaxed and low pressure, i.e., she’d be among friends, unlike most of my jobs, where I can count the minutes till I wear out my welcome with an egg timer.
She countered with the fact that her friend, who’s got one of those faces the camera just loves, was very excited about the picture, and had gotten her three year olds’ hair cut and, you know, made everything just right. I mentioned the haircut and all as being the least of it. “I heard they put an addition on the house and had the whole place painted, just for the photo,” I said.
She had two words for me, and they weren’t “happy birthday.”
Hence, Strobist on Sunday. It’s cool, actually. The DVD is terrific. Complete, in a word. David’s got a straightforward way of representing the mysteries of flash that make it seem not mysterious at all. I figure that’s at least a bit about his career as a newspaper shooter. When you pound the pavement for a big city daily, you get real no frills, real quick. Down to earth. Improvisational. Fast. Call it good photography that is grounded in common sense. All of that is in these DVDs. If he’s not sold out, order ’em. They’re so good, even Nigel has taken to relaxing and having a brewski, and figuring out strobe.
Three light setup. boom on a c-stand overhead with Honl snoot, Honl grid on another light for the Strobist DVD package, and a light with a full CTO behind the screen for a bit of separation. I tried to figure out what filter to use for David, but came up short.
Part of the deal was closing off the room to ambient light, and a 3×6 Lastolite Panel worked fine for the skylight. Popped it on a c-stand and ran it up there to seal the deal.
You might have noticed the strobes at my temples in the top photo look, well, a little different. More tk….