July was a winding-down month: I moved out of DC, I got married; my photographic activity for the month was limited to one concert and three model shoots. The concert was the Nels Cline Singers, who tore it up at an absolutely packed Black Cat backstage. My favorite photo of the night wasn’t a shot of the band, but rather this mood shot of the objects at bassist Devin Hoff’s feet. It doesn’t exactly scream “rock & roll” like so many photos of Nels Cline do; but it’s a nice peek into the world of Cline’s experimental music, so much lesser known now than his role as Wilco guitarist.
Best shoot of the month may have been this one with Josie, at an abandoned auto service station somewhere in Maryland. (I forgot to post about this one and may do so later.) It was oppressively hot that day – topping 100 degrees inside the abandoned building – but Josie was a trooper despite a professed hatred of the summer heat. This was the last look we did, inside the pitch-dark interior of the building; I had a three-light setup going on that I’m quite proud of. Obviously, there’s a flash at the end of the hall – that’s an SB-600 clamped to some kind of electrical box on the wall. At high camera right is another SB-600, clamped to some ceiling pipes and shot through a latticed door. Finally, camera left is an SB-800 on a stand, providing just a touch of fill light and Josie’s shadow on the wall. All the flashes were unmodified. Hard light can be great light!
Then I did a shoot with April at another great location, an old textile mill between DC and Baltimore. I posted about this shoot recently so won’t say much here. This was a simple one-light shot, a single strobe camera left with a shoot-through umbrella. I like how the simplicity of the lighting contrasts with the much more complicated setup for the shot of Josie, above – for me, knowing when to get fancy and when to keep things basic was a big part of my self-education this year about controlled lighting.
Here’s another basic lighting shot: a one-light setup with Brittany at Carroll Park in Baltimore. It’s just a single tightly gridded speedlight on a stand cranked as high as it would go and aimed down at Brittany, creating a pool-of-light effect that stands out in the dusky light. Despite how it looks, I didn’t underexpose the background much here – the sun was setting rapidly at this point in the day. In fact, I wish we’d shot this about 15 minutes earlier; just a bit more light on the side of the train might have made this a better shot.
Less than a week before my own wedding, I second-shot a wedding in rural northern Virginia, and put to good use the lighting skills I’d honed in all those model shoots. I actually had my White Lightning X1600 and softbox set up for a while and did some spontaneous posed shots with the bride and a few guests, but my favorite shot of the night was of this guest and her child on the dance floor. I was shooting with a handheld strobe on an off-camera cable, but also had a strobe on a stand behind the subjects, which I was using to either backlight or crosslight various subjects as they and I moved around the dance floor. I definitely need some practice getting consistently cool shots with this technique, but I was happy with more than a few of the resulting photos I got.
And finally, there was my own wedding. I didn’t shoot it, of course (though many jokes were made); I was too busy living the best day of my life. But I did steal a camera from the photographer at the reception and took a few terrible photos just for fun. Many thanks to James and Jenny at Visio Photography for an awesome job and for just being great fun to have at our wedding. (The photo above is their copyright 2010.)
Next up: August and honeymoon pictures from Iceland! But, I have to finish processing them first. Oops.