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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Playing with knives

One morning while meeting with a client in a local eatery, we were kindly interrupted by this soft whisper. Looking up from the computer, we noticed this extremely beautiful woman who took ownership of that whisper. At the time she seemed more interested in talking about food, so I sat quietly waiting for their conversation to end. However, my client did reference that I was the photographer of the photos that were displayed on the laptop, and this beautiful woman, name Juliana, made small talk about my work. I gave her a business card, and we finished up our business. Not really expecting to hear anything from her, since she gave my client one of her business cards, but failed to return my gesture, I took no offense to it. How off target could I have een when a few days later, I did receive an email from Juliana. We scheduled a meeting with one another, and she told me about her business, and I told her about mine. By the end of the meeting we had scheduled a few photo sessions. The first one being with swords as a prop. She and I tossed a few ideas back and forth, and Juliana let me take the reigns and lay out a plan. She liked it. A few weeks went by with me tending to other business and she stayed busy with her own business. Eventually we had a second meeting and I laid out more detail of what I had in mind as far as location, wardrobe, and other resources. Basically this second meeting became the kickoff meeting because by the time we finished, we were both super pumped up. Juliana had seen the locations we would use, and she thought they were excellent. Our final meeting came on the day before the shoot. This meeting was suppose to be a measuring & fitting appointment, but my seamstress had to call off of the program due to a family situation. Nevertheless, with my best game face, I told Juliana that the seamstress had given me explicit instructions, and I was going to get this costume made... with less than 24 hours before the shoot. I had never sewn anything in my life, but I had a plan. While browsing for some more ideas, Juliana and I came upon another photo that really caught my eye.... Suddenly I wanted to scrap the entire idea of what we were about to embark on as far as wardrobe, and redesign the costume (with way less than 24 hours). My brain was really processing at this point, and I had a full vision of what this costume would look like, but best of all, it would require no sewing what-so-ever. Juliana looked me straight in the eyes and said "I trust you". I wake up at 4:00 a.m., make a final weather check, and start packing up to drive to the first location. Enroute I noticed water starting to hit my windshield "NO WAY" Then everything started to play in my head, "what if the fog machine fails? What if the costume looks really horrible and cheap? Would Juliana really wonder if I was ready for this shoot or if the rain became a good excuse for unpreparedness"? I pulled myself together and after another mile or two the rain stopped, then started, then stopped. Upon arrival at the 1st location, I looked up at the sky. It didn't look anything like the weatherman had stated. I hesitated to start setting up the lighting gear. I finally found an alternate way of shooting this, even if the rain started falling. There were some pretty large oak trees with full leaf covering, and this would slow down the somewhat light rain enough for us to get at least a few good shots unless it started raining bigger knives than the ones we would be playing with. Right on time as usual, my business partner/partner-in-crime, Emerson aka Belles Lumieres arrived and we went over the new game plan. "Let's go for it Blue" he stated and we began setting up the gear. About half way through the setup, Juliana arrived and repeated to Emerson what I had told her "when you arrive the lights and everything would be ready to go, and we'll just need to get you into wardrobe".... (thank you very much Juliana), I thought to myself and after a few more minutes we had everything setup, fogger machine tested, and we began assembling the costume. It looked amazing and way better than anything amatuer. Juliana had been successfully transformed from a business woman to a barbarian. Then presto... the rain began to fall heavy. But not heavy enough to be considered "cats and dogs" or "knives" for that matter. For a brief moment of panic, or for safety, I forget?? We did unplug the strobes and the fogger machine. But once I realized that the tree canopy was keeping us dry, I said let's do this. I had won, and the rain once again stopped as suddenly as it started. Well the rest of the shoot in the 1st location went without incident. We eventually abandoned location #2 for a few reason, and moved to location #3 with the notion that it was okay if we got rained on because it was now full daylight and we could shoot natural light with our camera gear inside of it's "rainjacket" However, we didn't have to use them and we got amazing shots utilizing a one light strobe setup. We played with knives and got away with it. If you want to try it, here are the camera settings:
Location #1 Nikon 24-70 lens, F8, ISO 200, Shutter speed 1/125, 2 gridded strobe setup (1st strobe lighting subject, 2nd strobe in background aimed at fog
Fog machine. Time of day approximately 1 minute passed sunrise (6:54 A.M)
Location #2 Nikon 85MM 1.4, F4, ISO 100, Shutterspeed 1/100th, 1 gridded strobe (for fill light).
Thank you Belles Lumieres for assisting me with yet another crime of Passion into Art (Belles Lumieres will be departing for an assignment overseas so I am going to try and squeeze in the next project with him before he departs), and I definitely look forward to my next project with Juliana. Be sure to check in again and find out what our next project will be about.

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