Monday, September 14, 2009

Is It Any of My Business?

A couple days ago I broadcast via Facebook and Twitter the following: "working with some creative individuals to take over the world".
After my initial post I thought I should spend some time clarifying what I meant by defining some of those terms.
For a while now I have been focusing on the business part of my own photography service. After operating with limited success through word of mouth and social media as my only source of advertising, I underwent a branding exercise and enlisted someone to help me design my website and stationary, all this to refine my brand and help me take my business to the next level.
Once this was complete, I began focusing on the next step, taking my product and brand to the people that I want to see my work. I made the business decision of enlisting a third party to do this for me. I made this decision after considering the target audience that I wanted to see my work, type of work I wanted to do, and my ability to represent myself in communicating with clients and making business decisions.
After meeting with a number of prospective agents and representatives, all with their own abilities and limitations, I decided to engage Luke Boman who directs and runs InRealmMarketing to take on the task of representing me and my brand.
Working with Luke and his team so far has been unreal. His innovative and fresh approaches to putting my work directly under the noses of prospective clients in my field using conventional methods such as telephone calls and physical presentations, as well as the modern approaches such as email newsletters and social media is exactly what I envisioned would be the approach I would like for someone in his capacity to achieve for me.
Working with InRealm has put me in a position where I have very little to lose, after the initial capital outlay and ongoing costs, I can concentrate on my product and continuing with my existing client base, all the while assured that I have someone working with me to reach exactly the type of client I am looking for.
So, that is the long way round to what I broadcast a couple days ago. I guess what I meant by creative individuals was the approach that Luke and his staff have taken to representing me, and by taking over the world I was referring to our playing field, through the internet and the modern economy, the sky really is the limit.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Rocket 3

I was commissioned by a collector to shoot a, now rare, 1969 motorcycle made by BSA ( Birmingham Small Arms Motorcycles Ltd ). The client, an avid motorcycle history buff, wrote a bit of background on the motorcycle: "The model was named the Rocket 3, due to the fact that it has a three cylinder engine of 750cc and was the quickest production motorcycle of its day. BSA owned Triumph, Ariel and Sunbeam motorcycle companies, amongst many other assets, at the time. Originally BSA had been Arms"
manufacturers and had turned to manufacturing bicycles in the late 1800's (due to a lack of military action, I assume) which eventually led to motorcycle manufacture in 1903. Many models were made over the following years culminating in BSA becoming the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. "Unfortunately the BSA group of companies came to an abrupt end in 1972 with the onslaught of Japanese motorcycle manufactures taking market possession and the group was unable to adapt quickly to the changing situation."

The client's garage was so messy it was cool, so I turned off all the lights and used a little flashlight to paint the bike with light.......shots ranged between 75 seconds to 4 minute exposures.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Big Chopper vs Small Flashes

I got an opportunity last week to hang out with the boys at Emergency Management Queensland, the helicopter rescue team that attends to emergencies around the state

I knew that I was gonna just have to go with the flow, as I was shooting a real life team on a normal shift, at any point they could get a callout and have to literally take off.

I packed light, digital SLR, a few lenses, 3 speedlights and a couple stands. Instead of softboxes or umbrellas, I packed Stofen diffusers to soften the light if I needed to. (I could have used tissue paper and rubber bands in a pinch…try it).

Arrived at the hangar around 7.30am and met the boys, nice group of guys. First thing I did was ask where I should retreat to if they got a callout, last thing I wanted was to get in the way as they were scrambling to take off.

I walked around inside and outside and checked out the ambient light, the sun was fairly low and made for a really good key light…perfect.

Outside was a smaller chopper on a flat trailer. It was explained to me that as this particular chopper didn’t have wheels, they took off and landed back on this trailer. I was impressed, landing back on top of something not much bigger than 2 ping pong tables must have taken some skill.

Inside were 2 much larger shiny helicopters. “Brand new from Italy” said one of the crew, “yep, real beauties, only 16 million each” I took a step back to make sure I didn’t pass out along side of it and put a dent in the panel with my head.

The shoot went real good, I had a particular style of processing in my head that I wanted to use, so knew what I wanted as far as lighting goes. To that end I didn’t wind up using the Stofen diffusers, the hard light typically given by a speedlight provided the harsh lighting I would need to achieve that look in post.

Once I had shot inside and outside, the crew fired up one of the large ones and we did some shots on the tarmac. The intention was they were going to take it a ways up in the air and I could shoot them doing some drills. As the rotors intensified for lift off I scrambled over to my camera bag, I had thrown the lid closed but hadn’t zipped it, and the wind from the chopper had blown it open exposing all my lenses to the flying dust….thank Christ for weather sealing. I had time to tweet that experience on Twitter, thanks for all of your amused responses

Just before the chopper took off someone came running out of the hanger, the phone had rung and the unit’s services were needed. The shoot was over and they took off for real. This was not a drill.

I got back in my car; pretty happy with the shots I managed to get…it was time for a coffee.

As a special treat for you the reader I’ve chosen to put up a shot before processing in photoshop. I’ve processed the RAW into JPEG via lightroom and desaturated it at that time. When I was taking the shot I was having the crewman step out of the cockpit in order to add a bit of life to the shot. I had a flash pointed to crosslight with the direction of the sunlight. Although the one flash was fine as far as light went, the shot still looked a little lifeless. To change that, I took a second speedlight off the stand and threw it into the cockpit on the pilot’s seat. The result I feel gives life to the helicopter and indicates that the controls are on, plus provides a nice rimlight on the crewman. You can see the final edit and the rest of the series here.

Hope everyone has a great week.

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