When I was a copyboy at the NY Daily News, I would be sent via radio car to Madison Square Garden to pick up the photog’s bag of film. It was usually Geno Kappock, or Vinnie Riehl, and sometimes Charlie Ruppman. All good shooters, very economical. Most of the time for an entire half of hoops, there would only be two rolls or so in the bag. The NY Times guys would throw me their bag, too, and ask me to drop it on the way back to the News. Usually there was a two dollar tip involved there.
Times have obviously changed, and the internet has replaced the radio car as the vehicle for imagery. Very thankful PhotoShelter has integrated itself so well into our workflow here. On a recent assignment, a chopper job for ESPN on the NYC Marathon, we started filing as immediately as we could after landing. (Thankfully, we used Westchester County Airport as a base, only minutes from my studio.) We were on deadline, with the prospect of ginning up lots of large files, quickly. We had to come up with pictures of the runners at every borough. Below, the runners cross from Queens into Manhattan.
(Don’t know about other shooters out there, but for us, FTP sites seem to be notoriously finicky, no matter the client.) Enter Photoshelter. We started filing and dropping hi-res selects into our site, and sending ESPN links to pull imagery off of. I shot thousands of frames up there in the wind, with three D5’s on consecutive high and a chopper that had a tough time holding position. Nice thing about the site is that size and numbers aren’t an issue. With our other transfer mechanisms, there are limitations to transfer size. This feature alone, with Cali and I in the studio late into marathon night, was invaluable. I would make picks, he would rough them out in PhotoShop, and then slingshot them onto PhotoShelter. That would leave me to help flesh out captions and locations and the like. (We had GPS on two of our cameras, but not the third. When a frame from the third one was picked, I had to dive into Google maps etc. and figure out our air position relative to the streets below.)
ESPN kept pulling down pix, and came back with additional requests, more frames, and more possibilities. It was a constant online chatter back and forth, via email, our PhotoShelter site, and ESPN. We made their deadlines, and they put up a feature about the race on Tuesday. We had also cleared social media usage with them, so having the selects up on our site meant over the next series of days, no matter where I was, I could pull imagery via my Iphone and drop it into Instagram, extending the reach of the coverage. I also had the whole race coverage to pick from remotely.
Having an enormous amount of fun making pictures and working with them at the intersection of all these technologies. That night, we downloaded off of Lexar 128 gig XQD cards, through high speed readers, into multiple computers in the studio. Selected and modified imagery via Photo Mechanic and PhotoShop. Launched them onto the internet via PhotoShelter, where the client pulled them down and relayed them into their systems. Used GPS devices to coordinate locations. Pushed out the pictures on social media platforms. All within hours. As Russell Crow, playing Captain Jack Aubrey in Master and Commander said at one point, “What a fascinating and modern age we live in.” They should only know.
It is indeed a long way from a bag of film in a radio car, stuck in Times Square traffic on a Saturday night. More tk….