As I always say, what could go wrong? 5 hours of live lighting in front of 950 people. Thankfully they were very gracious, easy going people, who were an enormous source of support and good will all day long. Very cool.
Day started with Drew, Will and I on the loading docks at 6am getting a boatload of gear up into the Wash. DC Convention Center. Ah, the glamorous life of a shooter. At that point, it’s just a matter of racing the clock to get ready for the doors opening at 9. Both Drew and Will worked incredibly hard, going full blast with only 3 hours sleep.
We started simple. Basic TTL strategies, using umbrellas, Tri-grip reflectors, diffusers, you name it. The guys are very tolerant of me, cause, while there is a general plan or outline to the day, I often riff a bit here and there, and try stuff just for the heck of it. We were blessed with two terrific, talented people in front of the lens, Jen and Tory, who worked with us. Tory didn’t even hold it against me that I called him Corey a good deal of the day.
Simple umbrella and a fill board for Jen.
Then a single Tri-grip diffuser for Tory.
Which became two Tri-grips, with Drew and Will hand holding both, along with the flashes.
Tory has one of those faces that really work well with all manner of light, and most folks reacted well to the idea of doing moody, simple light, TTL, really quickly. The two pics above took about 3 or 4 minutes to do, even with me burbling incoherently into the microphone.
Then Tory went the exec route.
This was an interesting set, in that I got myself into the woods using 4 flashes, all of which needed different power settings, but only had 3 groups to put them in to set those power ratings. Something hadda give. Luckily, I was able to play with positioning of the lights, and eliminate the 4th flash when the low flash directly in front of Tory put enough catch light in his eyes. It was a good place to be, though, cause it was good information for everybody in the room. We were on the doorstep of either making TTL work, or sending the flashes a message to all go manual, then ratio one of them down, power wise, with the time honored method of neutral density gels, or just forgetting about wireless hoo hah and going with a radio/manual power solution. Everything we tried was valid, and it was fun for the audience to kind of participate and work this out.
Then Tory got into athletic duds, and we tried another iteration of rim light with gels, and a Honl grid light for the face. Never really finished this photo, but it was going in a good direction. Will is just off camera to the right, hand holding the gridded speedlight.
For the last hour, we bring out the Rangers, just to show how strategies might vary between big lights and small lights. Went with an overhead beauty dish for Jen, with a small softbox underneath of her, for a pretty straightfoward beauty light look. Popped an SB900 into her hair for good measure, again taking a look at ways to mix different types of flashes. Will employed the wind machine, aka the eyeball dryer. I couldn’t resist dropping in a little glamour glow on this in post. The post stuff is really seductive, I tell ya, even for a goober like me who doesn’t know how to use it. I mean, I’m capable in a meager way of doing basic darkroom stuff, but I look at PhotoShop and filters and stuff like I’m a twelve year old holding a rocket launcher. “Wonder what this button does? Holy shit! I just blew a hole through my photograph!” Personal opinion? There are some filters and sliders and moves out there now that should be labeled, “Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here.”
Then at the very end, we put a Ranger Elinchrom with a long throw reflector at the back of the auditorium, along with an SB900. Just threw light at the stage. Any guesses which this one is?
Then of course, at the end, we asked for some audience participation to be Jen’s entourage/bodyguards. Da guys were a hoot.
Lotta fun. Hectic day. Each setup transpires in minutes, and we go non-stop. Many thanks to everybody in the audience, Will, Drew, Jen, Tory, and the Kelby gang, who really know how to pull this stuff together. More tk….