It was 16 degrees on Saturday morning, so the logical thing to do (before my afternoon shoot with Beautiful Trigger) was clearly a photo shoot in an abandoned building whose heating system was long, long out of commission. The day eventually warmed up to a balmy 20+ degrees, but inside a two-story building that gets little sun, the temperatures were probably in the teens all day. Chels was a trooper: we did three different looks, although the day’s shoot was as much a scouting trip as anything else; we bounced around a ton of ideas for a possible future shoot when the weather was a bit more tolerable.
The headline shot was one of the last photos I took; the building featured some of these wall frames, this one covered in thick plastic sheeting. I had Chels press herself up against the plastic and just generally look a bit creepy; I lit her with an SB-900 to her left through a shoot-thru umbrella (it’s a fair bit out of frame and shooting nearly parallel to the plastic so as to avoid glaring reflections), and then added an SB-600 on the floor behind her, with a 1/2 CTO gel. I call this one “She is Watching” – I might do another round of processing to crush the blacks a bit and make it darker.
The first look we did was this super-colorful outfit against one of the more awesome pieces of graffiti in the building. I lit this shot with a single light, a zoomed SB-900 with a CTO gel, otherwise unmodified to give that hard shadow on the wall (this is what the scene looked like with all natural light). We worked with this look for about 15 minutes, which was all that Chels could handle given the total inappropriateness of that outfit for temperatures in the teens. After she spent twenty minutes in a car with the heat on high, we were good to go for the next look.
The next look was one that really took advantage of the frigid temperatures, as the background was a desk covered in ice and icicles. This was a three-light setup: the key light was an SB-900 camera left through a shoot-thru umbrella; the rimlight was an SB-600 behind the desk and outside the frame to the right, shooting into the frame through a 1/2 CTO gel; and the background light was an SB-800 behind Chels with, obviously, a blue gel. We worked quickly again, and I did some wide shots and some more closeup shots like the one below; the only challenge was that at my settings, the SB-800 was on full power and its batteries weren’t doing so well in the cold. So I got a lot of shots where the blue background light is much weaker than I would have liked, despite my shooting somewhat slower than normal to try to allow the SB-800 to recharge between shots.
And then we went to the final look, in which Chels kept her warm coat on. Some of these shots are really my favorites from the shoot; I really like both the headline shot and the shot just above, yet they have completely different feels. The headline shot feels very creepy to me, while the above shot feels almost warm and cozy, despite the stark wood, wire and duct tape setting.
In any case, there were at least 5-6 other ideas we had for good shots in that location that we just didn’t get to do because it was too cold. I’ll look forward to working with Chels and with that building again sometime.