Saturday, October 27, 2007

Fashion or Art?

Last weekend I had the privilege of working with a small herd of photographers and a few models up in Jerome, AZ. Jerome is a cool little town with an interesting history. If you have an opportunity to go, I'd encourage you to do it.

Both the models and photographers were a mix of folks having a great deal of experience and some who had little to no experience but wanted to learn. I was excited to have an opportunity to shoot with some fellow photographers whose work I have admired and was surprised to find myself in the company of some people I really didn't know but now have a deep respect for their skills and abilities. I think that's called "Networking".

I had a couple of simple goals for the day: Get one or two really good portfolio shots; Learn something new; Spend time working with people whose skills I admire. I exceeded all goals. Maybe I just set the bar too low....... Actually, there was a synergy in working with all these creative folks that got my own creative juices flowing. The morning started off a bit chaotic, but as the day progressed we saw things begin to gel.

At times I'm sure we looked like a nomadic production company.

As the day progressed, momentum seemed to take over and ideas went from merely having the models strike a pose to having them tell a story. Once we all converged on the Gold King Mine and Ghost Town with all it's myriad props at our fingertips, things just took off. Some of the shots had been pre-visualized since we knew a bit about the places we'd visit, while others just happened because of found props and venues.

In short, I did get some good portfolio shots, but the crowning achievement for me that day was this shot of model, April Knapp, taken in the blacksmith's shop at the Gold King Ghost Town.

When I discovered the blacksmith's shop it was already being used as a backdrop for April and they were lighting her with a single flash shot through a translucent umbrella with additional, soft light coming in from openings in the building. The exception was the back of the building where the forge is located. It was all dark.

After watching for a moment and a brief discussion, I took one of my Sunpak lights and placed it behind the forge (and the model) with a gel on it to simulate firelight. The quality of the shots immediately ramped up.

The final ingredient was to coach April into positioning her body in a way that would allow the light to rake across her back and bring the hammer up for a dramatic "scene" to unfold rather than a simple pose. I must say that April was up to the task as she follows direction very well.

The result? Well, I went to get a couple of good shots for my portfolio, and wound up with one that I think borders on great. There are still a few things I need to do in post production, but this is pretty much the shot as taken with some color balancing. I'll probably end up doing a little bit of burn and dodge here and there and will be getting rid of the blower that is just behind her.

Anyway, that's the scoop from last week's shooting schedule. Hopefully I can update this blog more frequently as my health continues to improve. Last weekend wore me out! We're planning another outing in Bisbee this spring........ Can't wait.