📸 A follow up to my ominous rant about being prepared!
Ahhh, Ireland. Land of Guinness, sheep, and weather. Lots of weather. Yesterday morning before a photo session, I wrote a post about preparing for a promo shoot, with the intentions of returning to gloat about how well everything went because of my impeccable planning. Today I'm (quite literally) licking my wounds and counting my blessings.
Turns out Canadian President Justin Trudeau was staying in the location where we had planned on shooting, Farmleigh in Phoenix Park, Dublin. Of course, we only found this out when we were suddenly surrounded by armed police, who I'm sure were curious why a grubby antifa looking dude with a huge bag, was blocking the convoy route, accompanied the cast of Alice In Wonderland.
No shooting there then. Just to clarify, I mean shooting in the photographic sense. I've no quarrel with Justin Trudeau, though I do think he might have spent July 4th doing something more productive than interrupting my photoshoot with his merry band of black cars. Some people think they're sooo important.
Plan B... To the forest!
This is where I wanted to shoot in the first place, but clients tend to have their own ideas sometimes. Of course, being Ireland, we had four seasons in one hour, so setting up our tea party was bizarre, as we battled blistering dappled sunlight and wind that would rip your skin off. Alice put in an epic performance. I've never seen anyone open their eyes against a raging tempest for so long without shedding a single tear. Impressive!
I don't like those gaps in the trees, but this was the most dense bit of cover we could find near our cars. I'll definitely touch them up, though the budget for this shoot didn't extend to extensive proofing and retouching. Basically, I'll be picking my favorites and giving them a once over, as agreed. That's something I failed to mention in my post about preparation. Managing expectations and agreeing a price is a good idea in advance of paid work.
Light 'em up!
I was reasonably happy with the lighting. I purposely underexposed the background and went for a really punchy feel. Above and slightly left I had my Godox TT685 mounted on a light stand with a "softlighter" type modifier for key light. To the right, my fill light. Another Godox TT685 but with my Rayflash as a modifier. Only for the wind, I would have used a larger modifier here. Unfortunately I only have one sandbag and that was working overtime to keep the key light from launching its own moon mission.
Some observations from zooming in: The Tamron 45mm is as sharp as a butchers pencil, and my fill light was a little hot. Ceis la vie. Not the end of the world, but something I should learn from. Theater people are a law unto their own. Crazy but very professional. No tantrums or slip-ups, these guys stayed in character for over an hour. Not even a single epileptic seizure from about 200 flashes in quick succession, while I forgot their actual real life names. "Rabbit, head down please... Mad Hatter, be more weird... Alice, you're nailing it."
They also wanted a shot out in the open, with the sky in the background. This presented me with a problem, as the sun was trying to outdo the wind in the pissing-everyone-off stakes, and it was winning. So I shot with the sun behind the talent, and lit them with the two Godox flashes in split fashion...
Not my favorite shot from the day, but I gave the client what he wanted. Of course, just as I was setting up, the wind picked up and knocked over my key light, turning the flash off and dismounting the modifier. And that's when I learned a valuable lesson: Releasing a light stand grip, and letting the flash mount slide down onto your fingers is not very clever. You end up with a huge gash in your hand and so much blood all over your light modifiers, it would effect your white balance. Not the best look, not the best look at all.
Thankfully we had more shots than we needed at that point. That was as they say, a wrap. Better not high five them with blood dripping down my wrist. It was time to go home. Enough madness for one day.