To quote a time honored phrase from old school Nat Geo coverages, “It was raining when we arrived.” And it continued, and it got heavier, and the day got more bleak, and I got wetter and wetter, and the cold got inside of me, sapping my spirit, numbing my bones and making my eyes cross. The carousel on the edge of the Potomac was small and cramped, and, well, what can I say? It wasn’t that country fair spinner with lush, hand painted horses and the echoes of the laughter of children and the fond reverie summertime high school dates faintly wafting through the air. No field of dreams here. Just a plastic reproduction on the edge of a busy, cluttered riverside. But it was handy, and reasonable, and doable. Which makes many a location a wonderful thing despite limitations.
My shoulders slumped, as they have on many an occasion, when my feverish photo dreams run aground on the rocky realities of a daunting location. But, the crew was there, and a wonderfully talented clown, Matthew Pauli, was arriving. Permits had been arranged and fees had been paid. Put the camera to your eye numnuts, and find a picture!
First step was to shift my camera into incandescent WB. Gotta give the sky some chance at color. Then….backlight! Gotta make it feel like the carousel is spewing light and color. Two Profoto B1 units, full power and covered with half red, half double CTO gels gave the background some life. Up front, a Profoto 1×3 strip, fitted with an egg crate, illuminated Matt, the life of the party. Another B1 with the same, an RFI 1×3 with an egg crate, low and to camera left, gave the up front carousel critters some pizzazz. And then two SB-5000 units, slaved off the bigger strobes, punched up the nose of the zebra and the interior wall of the carousel. Gotta bless Justin clamps. We had one of the SB-5000’s attached to a horse’s tail. He didn’t seem to mind.
Shot on a D5 camera, with a Nikkor 24mm f1.4 lens. How is it possible to say that despite the gloom I described above, I had a ball? I’m like a two year old in the sandbox. Give me a shovel (D5 & lens) and a bucket (some lights), and I’m happy, even if the sand is wet. Getting your eye in the camera and trying to work it out is the perfect prescription for dismay, in my skewed world. I mean, you have to, right? Monies have been paid. People have arrived, often at their own personal inconvenience. And they look at you to spin something out of, potentially, nothing. And that is what you must do, in jovial and congenial fashion. Dark and rainy thoughts about the unjust nature of it all stay in the sub-basement corridors of the photographic mind. The howling and angst can be released back at the hotel, your own, solitary, personal horror movie that, at the very least, you don’t have to pay a rental fee to play. Nice, huh?
Many thanks to Rich Harrington of RHED Pixel and ThinkTAP, who has commissioned a series of shoots in the DC area. More tk on what shape these pix, and the video accounts of creating them will come to. Should be fun, and instructional. And thanks to the wonderful crew, who laughed amongst the raindrops, and Matt the clown, who lifted our spirits.