In Moab, Utah, a good place to look at rocks. There are magic rocks, you know. Out west, certain formations have strange, almost mystical powers to make people disappear, or do odd things. Witness my bud Moose’s blog from a bit ago, where some guy named Joe Blow Tourist was sitting on such a rock, and simply vanished! Pixel dust. Ended up as a broken pile of bones at the bottom of the canyon.
The rock in question is not in Moab, it’s in New Mexico, the land of enchantment, brother moon, sister sky, and uncle indigestion. The magic of the rock was also visited upon Moose, albeit in a different way…..
Now here we are together, again, amidst the rocks. We went to visit a famous one this morning, dutifully arising in the blackness of the night, and traveling to meet the sun. Our group arrived in the gloom, and of course, there was already someone there, tripod arranged, clad for the long haul in the chilly darkness, shoulders set in absolute determination to get the shot. As we all would be, having spent half the night hugging a tripod, cold comfort indeed.
“Don’t cross that line,” was the cheery greeting to our gaggle of shooters. Understandable. Spending hours stamping your feet in the cold focuses both the mind and the camera, and it is natural to start to feel, well, proprietary, about this mute piece of stone. Reminding him that this rock belongs to no man, and we could all work together to secure a few precious frames produced, well, not exactly a gesture of teamwork.
But salvation arrived in the form of whole busloads of Asian tourists! I turned and saw so many of them flooding into this little piece of canyon land I thought I was watching a battle sequence from The Last Samurai. Bubbling with enthusiasm, each with a point and shoot in virtually every pocket, they quite wonderfully turned the steely, territorial attitudes of the pre-dawn into a something akin to a celebration of spring and sun on the rocks.
Being a people shooter more than a rock shooter, I applauded this event. These folks were great. Talked to a few, shot some pix with them, and then I noticed the gentleman who seemed to have developed a portrait franchise on the left edge of the arch. He posed everybody carefully, shot multiple frames, got subjects to twist hips and legs just so. I think, you know, I look, well, for 6am, damn good.
It was just a terrific, energetic morning. I love watching folks with unabashed photo enthusiasm, all shooting each other against this most famous of rocks, and shooting “me and my baby” shots. There were a few crusty moments as the mentality of “shooting the rock” met head on with the mentality of “shooting me in front of the rock.” But it was cool, and made the whole trek out there worth it.
And I did, at the end, get a rock picture.
Night before our canyon adventures, we had very different subject matter–an old ramshackle town called Cisco. I guess there was one similarity. Just like in the canyon, the old shacks and decaying junk around Cisco did not move. Usually I regard locations such as this as portrait settings. Tina, one of our participants, agreed to be a subject in front of an old trailer. Sun was pretty much down, so a put a flash in the distance, roughly at the angle where the sun had been.
Got an angle of incidence/reflection highlight, and then moved Tina’s wonderful face into the frame, lighting her with an EzyBox Hotshoe softbox (24 inch). Two lights, TTL, done deal.
Off to San Diego shortly, to the NIK Summit. Organized by the legendary Tony Corbell, this gathering should be very cool, and in, of course, a cool place. I feel bad going there actually, ’cause my arrival will probably interrupt their non-stop run of beautiful sunny days. Weather Jonah Strikes Again! Alan Hess already tweeted that he is sandbagging his house and preparing for the torrential rains and flash floods that will attend my arrival. More tk….