Just finished another year with my dear friends and family, Moose and Sharon Peterson, Laurie Excell, Kevin Dobler, and of course, the chip off the old Moose, Jake Peterson, seen above. Out near Bozeman, Montana, they’ve got this city that is basically the archeology of rural Montana (is it redundant to say “rural Montana?”). This repository of Montana history is called Nevada City. Anybody else think that’s odd?
At any rate, they’ve got old houses, jail cells, water towers, general stores, barber shops, and of course, my favorite, old trains. They’ve even got a historically significant, two story outhouse, which I imagine created some interesting problems if both floors were active at once. Every time I see an outhouse and have a camera in my hands, I think of Rich Clarkson’s story about being on site at some location and the corporate staff photog came over to meet him. He was trying to impress Rich and let him know he was available for freelance work, which is understandable, since Rich is a legendary shooter and editor who shaped talents such as Chris Johns, Jim Richardson, and Brian Lanker back in his days as the DOP of the Topeka Capital Journal.
Rich is a pretty easy going sort once you get to know him, but he presents a somewhat flinty, no nonsense editor exterior, so the meet probably had this poor shooter nervous cause he introduced himself as being “the in house photographer, but I do outhouse work.” Ouch.
I stared for a while at this railyard jalopy. It didn’t move.
But I had a thought, always dangerous. Wonder it would look like if the sun were setting off to camera right? With clouds like this, you can conjure the direction of late light, so I dialed in a little angle of incidence, angle of reflection sunset type of deal.
Spread out 4 SB800 units in a line, designed to fan out warm highlight along the length of the rail car. That did okay. Lit the train up pretty well. Couple of problems occurred, like light spilling immediately onto the ground in front of the flashes, giving away their position. A little gaffer taping, and some artful cropping (What’s the easiest way to get rid of a problem in your picture? Crop!) and it was starting to look okay.
Programmed in minus 4 stops EV into the D3. Yikes! Had never done that before, but it seemed to work. Now I got highlighted train, cool moody sky and a big black hole in the foreground of the picture. Enter Jake.
We swiped his mom’s hat, and his bud Tyler’s jacket, stuffed an SB900 into the Lastolite EzyBox (just like its name, pretty easy, nice light), moved that off to camera left, gave it to a Moose to hold (they’ll do that, its just part of their moose biological instincts) and knocked out a few frames.
Very happy to be a part of DLWS. Great friends, good times, pretty stuff. I mean, being the sort of people oriented, general assignment knockabout photog I’ve been for my whole career, I’d have to bribe somebody or get an editor really drunk to get an actual assignment to go to shoot sunrises and old buildings in Montana. If I asked to do something like this, my editor friends would look at me like I just lost a few more of my marbles. (“No, Joe, no big sky country for you. But we do have something involving people who don’t want to be photographed standing around in an ugly fluorescent lit room!”) Oh well.
DLWS goes to Yellowstone in January. I can’t believe I’m looking forward this much to freezing my ass off.