Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Look up

So here it is, Labor Day. A day both free from but acutely aware of, well, labor. Even though we had just returned from camping the day before, an impromptu photo day was planned. Our dear friend Megan was in town for a visit and, living life as she is in NYC, was missing our little adventures. She demanded a photo day, and we all agreed.

Showing up at Liz’s house, I found the ladies applying (and these are their words, not mine) their “war paint”. I realized that I had a) some time to kill and b) no plan what-so-ever as to what we were going to shoot. With these two tastes that go so great together I muttered “I’m going to go outside and do whatever it is that I do”.

Liz lives in a area densely populated by row-houses and some light industrial buildings. In fact a small, empty, and ivy-covered warehouse is just across the street. We’ve shot there before but only under natural light. So I dragged out the AB1600 and Vagabond, a few modifiers and started to set up.

I loved the look of the ivy covered walls of the warehouse and knew that was probably my best starting place. It’s pretty much a can’t miss thing to shoot against a wall covered in the stuff. But I kept looking at the sky (or at least as much as it as I could see from street-level). Late(ish) afternoon on a warm September day; deep-blue skies with just the right amount of clouds. We don’t get many days like this ‘round these parts, and even fewer chances to shoot on them. So while I liked the ivy I really wanted to get some of that sky.

Every time I start to crouch down my female friends give me that look. They call it the infamous LouStein angle. Shooting low and up. Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s probably one of the least flattering angles you can shoot someone from. I get it. But when your at ground level, especially in the city, you don’t have much choice. You’ve got to go there, knowing that your going to get some awful captures in the process.

But sometimes you don’t. Laying on the ground I twisted my body so I could get her face away from the building in the background. Problem was, no mater what contortionist trick I pulled I kept getting that parking sign in the left side of the frame. Looking at a few test shots I realized that nothing short of moving Liz and the whole lighting rig was going to change things. Better to just except it and hope for the best; why fight when you can switch.

Liz and Abby sat me down later with a plan. They are going to give me a seminar on all the things women are self-conscience of when it comes to their looks. I expect that is going to take a while. But, as they explained, it was a service that no “camera geek” could ever give me in any workshop. I’m inclined to agree.


  1. pay attention during the girly-self-conciousness-seminar, I suspect the girls are right: no geeky photography session will teach you that.

    otherwise: love the image!