Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rainy Daze

Selective Color...

Once in awhile we get some rain in Bakersfield and usually I stay indoors, but this past weekend my buddy Rob mentioned he was going to photograph a model and hopefully get some rainy weather images.  I secured a model for the shoot and packed up my Mamiya, 35mm Film camera, and dSLR and headed downtown.  Brian met us at the local coffee shop and we prepped our gear for the rain.  "Prep" refers to buying a box of one gallon plastic bags and rubber bands to enclose the cameras.  I also brought along my tripod, an SB-900, two pocket wizards and an old lightstand.

Umbrella - Nicole

As we started shooting, the rain began to fall steadily, which made it difficult to use my Waist-Level viewfinder on my Mamiya, so I put it away and switched to my 35mm camera.  As I started "stealing" shots of Rob's model, I received a TXT from my model stating she was in a fender-bender and couldn't make the shoot. 

To all you models, please rethink becoming a model, I've had cancellations from models due to: 1) death in the family, 2) car accidents, 3) vomiting, 4) menses, and 5)unreliable transportation.  Be honest and don't commit to a shoot, especially if you aren't into it.

Brian and I basically watched Rob and Nicole work, while we "B.S.'ed" then once the rain increased we decided to head to The Padre to get out of the rain and try some more emotive images.  Nicole was really open to all three of us working with her to get different looks and as we decided to head back out, Brian wanted to try an environmental shot with the Prospect Bar in the shot.  I pulled out my SB-900, handed it to Brian and used Nikon CLS to trigger the speedlight.  I decided to bounce the flash off the white walls to overpower most of the ambient fluorescent lighting.  Tried a couple shots, changed the flash power and settled for this image.

Prospect - Nicole

After a few more minutes, we called "wrap" and headed to HOOTERS for Fried Pickles. Definitely a fun experiment for me and learned somethings about shooting in the rain.
What did I learn?
  • Get better Rain Gear for my cameras - Although nothing was damaged, I struggled with trying to focus and keeping the lens devoid of rain spots.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff - Even though my model canceled, I still got some decent images of this cool Honda Metro scooter



By the way, the first image of the post is a private joke among us guys and the use, or misuse of Selective Color.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mi Padre, También

I originally wanted to do a photoshoot using solely film, but to be fair to all involved I brought along my Nikon D700 so I could get the ladies images in the event something went wrong with the film. It's interesting how there are more risks when using film; incorrect exposures, developing mishaps, or equipment malfunctions can occur when using old film cameras, but with dSLRs most of those "challenges" don't happen.
I had the two rolls of film developed that I shot during my session with Heidi, Taylor and Sammy at Padre Hotel.  The Mamiya was loaded with Portra 800 120mm, the FE2 was loaded with Portra 800 35mm and the Rollei was loaded with Ilford 3200 B & W film.  I managed to burn through two rolls of 800 Portra on the Mamiya, but only shot about 8 exposures on the FE2 and 6 on the Rollei.
Taylor Portra 800For the Mamiya, I used my Sekkor C 80mm f/1.9, shot at f/2,8 and 1/60th shutter, same with the FE2.  The Rollei was set to f/4 and 1/60th since anything slower causes the shutter to stay open.  All available light and meter readings were taken on the shadow side since that's what you do for Negative Film.
Samantha - Portra 800I used the tripod on some of the Mamiya images since the "mirror slap" can cause you to shake, even minutely, when the shutter is pressed.  Overall I really like Portra and how the tones are somewhat muted.  Guess I'll need to find another model so I can finish up the rest of the film.  Anyone interested?
Negro y Blanco
These images have been scaled down to 1024 x 7-something and 72 dpi, but the actually negatives have a lot more detail.  Enjoy the film images.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mi Padre

Taylor - B&W
One of the more controversial landmarks in Bakersfield is The Padre Hotel. After many stalled attempts by investors to restore the hotel, it was finally completed in 2009, and originally built in 1928. I've been wanting to shoot there since many of the local photographers have held sessions at The Padre. If you follow my Facebook posts, I've been inspired by and his work with film.

I contacted models Taylor and Samantha, and Make-up Artist Heidi-Jo to find out if they were willing to collaborate. Thankfully, all three agreed and I booked the Corner Pocket Room for Sunday, March 5. I chose the Corner Pocket since it has windows on the North side and windows on the East side. Simply, sufficient window light with the hopes that I wouldn't need any speed lights.
The rates are really reasonable at The Padre, especially if you inquire about their Half-Day Rates.  I know what your thinking, Half-Day rate for some Afternoon Delight?  Business is business and it's cheaper than the more contemporary and sterile looking hotels in Bakersfield.

Heidi and Taylor met at my house at 9:00 to start the make-up process, then we headed Downtown to wait for our room to be readied.  As I was sitting in the Lobby, my cell phone rang and it was the front desk notifying me they were ready.  The Receptionist seemed alarmed as we were talking, I walked right up to the desk.  After checking in and setting up in the room, I brought out my four cameras.  Yup, my Nikon D700, Mamiya 645 1000S, Rolleiflex TLR, and my Nikon FE2 35mm.  I brought 8 rolls of film, from Portra 800 to Ilford 3200 Black and White.  I left my speed lights at home and figured I would do whatever it took to use only Natural Light, or Available Light
SamanthaAfter an hour into the shoot, Samantha came upstairs for her Hair and Make-up.  Heidi does such an excellent job and because this is for fun, she can experiment and do "out of the box" work.  That's the beauty of collaborating, we aren't there for a client, we are there for us and to try different things.  I couldn't imagine doing photography full-time and then trying to squeeze in time for more artistic pursuits.

After shooting with Taylor and burning through one roll of Portra 800 120mm and half of the Portra 800 35mm, I switched over to Samantha.  I haven't worked with Samantha in over two years, but it didn't take long for us to get back in sync.  She has got to be one of the sweetest models I've worked with even if she is Canadian. lol.
Samantha - Portra 800
We went through three wardrobe changes and another roll of Portra 800 120 mm, but I didn't finish the 35mm roll, and only finished half of the Ilford 3200.  So that means I'll need to shoot some more film.  It's hard trying to shoot with Film and Digital since most of the models are expecting their images quickly and developing color film takes some time.

So What Did I Learn?

Uhhh....nothing really except that keeping photography my hobby makes me appreciate the freedom I enjoy.  It doesn't mean that I don't fall into ruts, but at least my income won't suffer from when I'm uninspired.

Thanks Heidi, you are a wonderful Make-Up Artist and I enjoy your creativity.  Taylor and Samantha, you really make my job effortless.

I have some things in the hopper, but nothing that "wows" me.  Although, I'm looking forward to shooting my Aussie girl, Darnah in April.

As always, here's a Behind-The-Scenes shot of Heidi working on Samantha

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