I was recently contacted by Bucks Life magazine, the large-format swanky lifestyle magazine that covers all things interesting in Bucks County, our little artsy, funky corner of Pennsylvania. They were doing an article highlighting some local art luminaries, and they wanted to include me?
Well, I didn’t argue, but they said they’d send a photographer and I said, “wait, I’m a photographer, let me shoot some luminaries for you.” (I can hear you now, marveling at my marketing acumen and self-promotion chutzpah). We negotiated and I walked away with an assignment to shoot 4 luminaries and 1 dimbulb, me.
So I duded up in my best Joe Photog outfit, and invited my old buddy and super people-shooter Pete Byron for lunch (we’re both May birthday boys and always have lunch around our natal days). I was going to shoot the thing myself with Pocket Wizards, but why waste 25 years of friendship and a great eye behind the camera, especially if you can get him for a chicken salad ?
That’s the stream behind my house and I’ve never stood in it to take a picture, but I’ve cleared debris, and cooled off in it, and I thought it’d be a photogenic location (plus, I could just drag the gear out of the garage and not load it into a car!).
I blew the dust off some of my old corporate lighting gear and had the big 4’x6′ softbox and the DynaLite Uni 400 JR., powered with a Jackrabbit battery and triggered with an old Pocket Wizard on the bank of the stream and then I waded in with my precious old 500mm f/4P Nikkor and an old D70 body (I’d risk the lens, but not a current body, to a dunking).
Of course, I had my angle all picked out and tripoded and all Pete had to do was focus and click the shutter….but you can’t tell a shooter of Pete’s caliber how to do a portrait, and before I know it, he’s got the camera off the ‘pod and he’s sitting on the grass shooting from a low level.
An lo and behold, if his angle didn’t kick mine all up and down the proverbial playing field. Now, if he could just use the minus 30lbs filter and press my jeans, I’d be ready for the pages of Vanity Unfair, or Fried and Stream….
What we did technically was just to slightly underexpose the overcast light, and then use the big soft light from the box to create a soft, but directional light on me with the shadows where you want them (not under those baggy eyes!). 1/250th f/8, ISO 200, D90 with the 70-200VR for the tech crowds