Is sometimes hard to do. We talk so much about lighting, in general, and on this blog, but the thing to always remember….where you put the camera is much more important than where you put the light. Put the camera in the “right” spot, everything flows, including the sense of the light. Put the camera in a tough or “wrong” spot, man, you can have a rough day. For this recent job on the 21st Century Grid for the Geographic, the light was whatever it was gonna be. The real deal was the towers. Get the camera on the towers.
The above was shot pre-DSLR video, with a little mini-cam Drew had in his pocket. Very rough bits and pieces, which when we finally looked at it, had enough there to connect the dots. Drew did a great job stitching it together here in the studio.
In “Shit Always Happens to the New Guy” category….
I got into those little carts you saw in the video, and went out on the wires. The things are a bitch, excuse my French. Powered by a little gas engine, those rollers crank along and will chew up anything in their way–loose bits of clothing, camera straps, thumbs, you name it. They roll over your fingers, it hurts. They grab a piece of your hoodie, and they will reel you in like a fish. I was finally getting used to the drill, chugging along with the guys who were putting in spacer bars, when my engine blew. I was on an uphill section of the wires, so, due to gravity and lack of experience, I just started sliding backwards, and banged right into the next lineman’s cart, whose name was Joe. He took it in stride as both are carts rolled downhill, gathering momentum and speed. He shouted to me, “Don’t worry Joe! See that spacer comin’ up? We’re goin’ no further than that!”
And the spacer did, in fact, stop us. Which gave us some breathing room to analyze our predicament. They considered dropping a “long line” to my cart and towing me up the wires, but I didn’t have the experience or the arm strength to tie it off at the top of the towers. I think for a minute they even considered long lining me outta there, and that woulda been fun. In the end, it was decided that Joe would take my cart, I would get into his, ’cause the motor still worked. They would then tow Joe up the wires, with me putting along in the background.
Which meant, of course, we hadda switch buggies. Joe looked at me and took some dip out of his back pocket. He said, “Joe, before we do this, I’m gonna have some West Virginia cole slaw!” Then, still clipped to the wires with our safety lines, got up, out of our respective carts, and did a little dosey-do on the wires to switch it up. Finally got up near the towers, got out of my buggy, straddled the cables, climbed back up the drop ladders they got up there, and got picked up by the chopper. I was played out. Think I fell asleep in the rental truck before we even left the parking lot.
You develop a healthy respect for what other folks do for a living, I tell ya. As the linemen said to me, “Yeah, everybody likes to just flip a switch. Nobody thinks about where the juice comes from!”