Didn't Rene Zellweger have fantastic legs when she was a student at UT?
I always thought so but this image from my San Marcos Street studio has nothing to do with today's blog. It's just here to visually anchor the post......
I crawled out of bed this morning at a quarter till six in the morning. Might be normal for a Dell Executive by not for this pampered Austin photographer. But that was the core issue. I wasn't in Austin, I was out on the road for a photo shoot. So I spent the night in the Wingate by Wyndham hotel in exciting, downtown Longview, Texas. I hit the lobby at 6 for a little breakfast and I knew we were close to Louisiana because biscuits and gravy were front and center on the complimentary breakfast "buffet". I was on the road by 6:30 and in greater Daingerfield by 7:30.
The plan was to get a bunch of great exterior images of the client's building. Actually, two buildings. But when I got there the rain beat me to it. It was pouring down so I sat in the car and listened to NPR. What else could I do? The rain lightened up and the client's people started arriving around 8:30 so I loaded up the cart and headed in to scout and set up.
Three things right off the bat. Set up a seamless background and lighting set up for formal portraits that would match the lighting and the look that we established in the Austin offices on Weds. We did that with the Elinchrom gear in the main conference room. 60 inch Softlighter as the main light and, for kicks, an Alien Bees ringlight on the background. Fill light via a big reflector opposite the flash. One room set and ready. Gitzo tripod with camera and 100mm lens.
Second set up. Our first shot of the day would be eleven people in one group. I found a great stairway and a great place to put a light so the Profoto 600b with a Photek Softlighter went there. I needed a little more light for the background behind the group so I pulled an old Metz 54 MZ3 out of the case and slapped on a radio trigger. Same frequency as the one on the Profoto. I set up a second Gitzo and tested the set up with the second camera. On to the next task:
I needed to find a space in which to do environmental portraits with natural light. I found what I was looking for in the firm's library. Lots of space, a big skylight and some really pretty window light. I marked the floor with tape so I'd know where to put the tripod when I broke down the set up for the group shot and moved gear around. If we'd been in Austin I probably would have brought a third tripod and a third camera system so I could keep everything in place. But out here I working naked. Only two complete set ups and two camera systems.
So here's how the day was planned: scout and get interior architecture shots from 8:00-9:00. Set up three locations fromm 9-10. Shoot the group photo at 10 am. Then, for the rest of the day I'd take each designated person and shoot a formal portrait in the conference room, walk them upstairs to the library and take a cool environmental portrait and then release the subject, unharmed, back into the wild.
We got a little ahead, which was all for the best since the person who scheduled the day for me forgot to leave a bit of time for lunch. At the end of the day I'd shot about 600 frames and logged in over 20 gigs of data. An hour to break it all down and then in the car to drive onward to Texarkana. I didn't make a hotel reservation so when I hit the town I drove to the client's location and then looked around for a decent hospitality property close by. I always bargain for rates when I walk in the door. I struck gold at the Holiday Inn Express.
Back to the routine. Download the cards to the hard drive on the laptop. Back em up to a portable, external hard drive. Burn a DVD. Rinse and repeat. Walked across the hotel parking lot for what I thought would be a lonely dinner at an Outback Steakhouse only to be seated next to a couple of attorneys that I knew from my neighborhood in Austin. What a small world we live in.
Back here to work on a presentation for the Austin Photo Expo. These things always sneak up on me. Back in the hotel I was typing and had the TV on in the background. Saw a commercial for adopting dogs from the shelter and immediately became incredibly homesick for my rescue dog, Tulip.
Laid out new clothes, repacked, took the batteries off the charger and brushed my teeth. Tomorrow I get up, do a shorter version of the same thing I did today and then head back to Longview to get photos of people working on a private jet. Wish I had a private jet but that's one of the things you give up when you decide to become a photographer. Not even Annie Leibovitz has a private jet.......
Tomorrow I'll spend another night in Longview and then head to Dallas for the last leg of the project. So far the client is great, the files are nice and the deposit check (shame on you if you don't ask for one) has cleared the bank. Life is good.