Been out in Santa Fe, shooting a new segment of the Kelby Online Video Training sessions. This one’s devoted to the update in the Nikon CLS flash system, the SB900. Above is my friend Thomas Wingate, who runs Eaves Movie Ranch, which is just a fun place to shoot pictures. I’ve been out there many times, and keep finding different stuff. Thomas, as always, is a natural in front of the camera. One of the all time great American faces. Mt. Rushmore comes to mind.
This was done in an old warehouse in downtown SF. I rummaged through the garage, which I have mentioned is an archive of old props from shoots gone by, and pulled this American flag. It is somewhere around 25’x 15′. I had it made back in ’96 for a project I shot for LIFE, which involved asking the ’96 Olympic team to take their clothes off. Used it a few times since, such as this shot of heavyweight lifter Shane Hamman, of the 2000 US team. This was for a Geographic story on the limits of the human body. He is leaping from a standing position, and he’s over 350 lbs.
For Thomas, we backlit the flag with 4 SB900 units, each banged into a wall behind the flag. There’s a slit in the flag I can stick a camera through, and Thomas just stands in the wash of light. Needed the big flag, cause those sunglasses are like frikkin’ TV monitors. The light hits me, too, so you can see my shadow behind the flag, which I toned down a bit in Photoshop. (Hey Moose, I used Photoshop!)
The videos have been fun to make and I always learn stuff as I go. Work with Jason Scrivner, “The Scriv,” the shooter from the Kelby Crew. Surprised he still puts up with me. This time around, he had to wade waist deep into a lake with his sticks and very expensive video rig. We both went in to photograph beautiful sea creature Deidre Dean, who is one of the most expressive and daring models I have ever worked with. She’s always up for a photographic adventure, and actually takes me seriously when I say, “How about you get made up like a a wild ass mermaid and take a dip in a cold lake? I’ll be in there with you, with a whole bunch of expensive electronic equipment. What could go wrong?”
Shot with one SB900, and a Lastolite all in one umbrella, used as a shoot through, and shaped with a whole bunch of black gaffer tape. We had just about the whole umbrella covered, except for a small opening, maybe 10 by 20 inches. That’s a pretty good way of controlling the light, so you light her, and not the water. No law of nature says that once you put an umbrella up, ya gotta use all of it.
The umbrella’s on a c-stand extension arm, being held by the intrepid Norah Levine, a terrific Santa Fe based shooter. She has teamed up with Karen Lenz to help me out here. (How much help do I need? As Jim said to Sherriff Bart in Blazing Saddles, “Oh, all I can get.”) They’ve been a terrific team, keeping things moving, getting everybody to location on time, and making sure I don’t swear too much on tape.
In Santa Fe for a couple more days, which is a great place, home of the Santa Fe Workshops, and a whole bunch of nice people. I mean, you gotta love a place where the community college offers courses in “Animal Tracking” and “Concealed Carry Training.” Take ’em both, and it must mean you can sneak right up on an animal and they won’t be alarmed cause they don’t immediately know that you have a gun.
In a couple days, Vegas-Baby-Vegas, for PhotoShop World. I tell ya, it’d be tough to measure the tremendous and positive impact Scott Kelby has on the field of visual communications. Between PSW, his books, lectures, blog, and the online training series, he raises his voice, and it echoes for a long time. I mean, via his blog, he got just about the whole world walking of late to shoot some pictures and share skills and enjoy themselves. If one of those powerful bastions of my photographic youth, say, Time magazine, had announced a walkabout for taking pictures, about oh, 3 or 4 people would have hit the streets. More tk.