We took the ever lovely Melissa down to the basement just yesterday, and she was her elegant self in decidedly inelegant surroundings. Really only one flash in the picture. It is a vertically arrayed small strip light, plugged into a Quadra head, with a Light Tools egg crate covering the surface of the strip. It is boomed over head of Mel. Now, truth be told, there is a full blast Ranger head with a long throw reflector outside the building, firing through an incredibly dirty window off to camera left. But, I was dragging shutter so thoroughly to bleed the daylight pouring through the back doors of the boiler room, that it really had very little effect. In fact, I overshot it, by firing too fast for it to recycle, so there are frames where you see the hint of it, and many where you do not. That is actually not a bad ad hoc strategy to use occasionally. If you fire before a pack can catch up with you, your take will have an erratically occurring bracket of exposure that occurs. Considering how imprecise most of my calculations are on location, most of the time, you wouldn’t notice.
The key to the pic is not flash. It is shutter speed. Daylight outside was intensely bright, but I needed it to slide around the boiler and fill this dingy room with light, so my shutter for this is around a half second or so. The tank blocks the backlight, and forces it to creep around the walls and light them up. If I can get a combo of shutter speed and the sun to light something I’d ordinarily have to put up a flash for, all the better.
Had met Melissa back at the dawn of D3. I had 5 of the first prototypes of the Nikon D3 in North America delivered to my studio a few years back, with a mandate to shoot the bulk of the catalog to accompany this new, super secret camera. (The secrecy thing was no joke. We had to even get the caterers at the studio to sign non disclosure agreements.) Wanted to push it to see details and patterns, so the shot below is what we worked out with Melissa.
Surprised she came back, after the first time meeting me and having me wrap a snake around her neck. She handled that and more with aplomb and style, as always.
The workshop staff is also quite stylish, I think. They are a great bunch, very talented. And for a workshop series with 15 total participants, having a manic group of 7 staff members makes sure details get attended to, and as many questions as possible get answered.
And, as I mention above, we are taking it on the road. Drew and I leave the gang behind and head for Portland shortly to run an intensive, all day, two day workshop in that fair city. Here’s the link.
On Saturday, after the workshop, we’re going to hit the streets and cover something called Plunderathon, a Portland tradition involving pirate themes and lots of alcohol. Dunno what I’m getting myself into. I think it may be another name for ritual sacrifice of East Coast based photographers who use flash. Unsure of this. It’ll be a cool couple of days, and I’m really going to push myself and the class to respond to the terrific locations that are lined up. Also, David Hobby is in town that weekend, giving a seminar. Which is sold out, but would worth checking out a wait list on. (Maybe David and I can get together at Plunderathon, dressed like pirates?)
Tomorrow night, Drew and I head for London, to do our first international stop for Kelby Tours. Should be cool. I love London, and have lived there for brief stints, both as a student, and then on assignment for the National Geographic. Can’t wait to get back.