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Bizarro-Shoot in Bizarro-World
Old 12-14-2005, 11:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Okay, so that was weird.

I had scheduled a photo shoot yesterday with a Nigerian model named Agatha. She's an amateur: I've worked with her before and while she's really built and has great features, she was very tight and didn't project or pose well. She kept asking me very nicely if I'd shoot her again, and my portfolio is sort of skewed toward the Caucasian side, so I thought I'd give her another shot, especially since she agreed to do a "Girls in Towels" shoot. (Note to models: I will give pretty much ANY model a TFP session if she will agree to shoot for my "Girls in Towels" project.)

About 5:15 (shoot starts at 7 PM) I realize that I've done something very, very stupid. Something I've never ever done before. (I've done stupid things before, just not this one.)

I left my camera bag at home.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

No camera. No light meter. No lenses. No CF cards. Nada.

BUT WAIT!

Here's the part where it starts to get weird.

I bought a computer for somebody online the other day (it's just a little service I provide.) When I bought it, the place I bought it from offered me a 25% coupon for any digital camera they sold... which included the EOS 350D (aka Digital Rebel XT.) Plus I had a $40 off any purchase of $200/more. Plus there's a $75 rebate on the camera. Plus free shipping. I couldn't NOT do it. So I bought a $900 camera for like $650.

And guess what? It arrived yesterday.

Now I still have no lenses and no CF. I thought, "No problem. I'll rent a lens from Calumet." Except... they close at 5:30. (I thought they closed at 6.) Can't get there that fast. No dice. Central Camera? Helix? Both closed. But there's a Wolf "We Will Take All Your Money and You Will Thank Us, Pukeface" Camera a mile from my studio. A frantic call. "The only EOS lens we have in stock for less than *obscene amount of money* is the 50mm f1.8." Fine. I'll take it. Over to there I run. They have the lens. I buy a 256MB CF card for a RIDICULOUSLY high price, but I'm desperate. And - o joy - they have a hotshoe to PC adapter so I can run my strobes. Ring it all up, Mr. Barnum. Back to the studio!

Model shows up five minutes late, which in Model Time is early, but which gives me a fun twenty minutes or so of, "If she doesn't show up... rassen frassen ()&$(*#!"

So I explain to the model I have one non-zoom lens and ONE CF card, which gives me sixty shots. If I want to zoom in or out, I have to do it with my feet. Can't use my tripod, because I have to stand with my back against the wall to get a full frame shot. (This lens equates to 85mm on a 35mm camera and the model's only about ten or twelve feet away from me.) No bounce flash off the ceiling (I usually use my 420EX Speedlite to trigger my strobes and also to get a little hair light.) What we got is what we got. She says, "Well, okay, we'll see what happens."

This is what happens:



(I only have Elements on this computer. Slight levels adjustment, no other significant retouching.)

Holy.

Bleep.

I have to ration shots like water in the desert. So every shot, I frame up carefully. Every shot, I pose the model precisely. Every shot, I watch my lighting, watch my shadows. The lens may be a cheap piece of plastic, but it's a prime lens, and it's a fast lens, and it does not let me down. I end up doing one of the best shoots of my career to date.

And the model blows me away. Her posing and energy have improved 500%. She's much more comfortable with her body. And the outfits she brought! Wow! I never would have expected them after the last time. There's the one above. There's a "naughty nurse" outfit which, while somewhat cheesy, shows her off like nobody's business. And she does the towel shots with a smile and a flash. And speaking of, no bounce flash for that, either. So ISO 800 and off we go. And those are great too. My Muse was having a great deal of fun with me last night.

Now, the shots do still need some work (she has sort of rough skin and I like to fix that up a little bit.) But when you consider the conditions I had going in, I'm frankly amazed with the success I had. So let that be a lesson to you - never give up. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

M
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Re: Bizarro-Shoot in Bizarro-World
Old 12-14-2005, 11:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Great story and wonderful shot!!! I'd love to have a chance to shoot her. She has such a fun, different look.

Maybe I'll try to come up to Rolandos next Chicago workshop and be able to set something up with her.
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Re: Bizarro-Shoot in Bizarro-World
Old 12-14-2005, 02:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Your story possibly illustrates to folks with the "I need to buy this, that, and the other thing" syndrome better than anything I've read in a while, why most photographers keep saying, "Learn the basics. The rest will follow." (Although a digital Rebel XT with a 50 mm f/1.8 isn't exactly a Holga...)

Nice photo, too.
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Re: Bizarro-Shoot in Bizarro-World
Old 12-14-2005, 04:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

I *did* have my strobes: I keep those in my studio. However, the lens limited me severely in what I could *do* with them. Fortunately, I have had many opportunities here and at Rolando's workshop (see, I *was* paying attention!) to see how you deal with lighting issues. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

M
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Re: Bizarro-Shoot in Bizarro-World
Old 12-14-2005, 04:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Oh, that was her Pam Grier vibe. You want to see "fun," here you go:



Again, I don't have anything but Elements on this machine and I didn't have time to do anything other than a levels adjustment and clone out a few stray hairs.

She has a *really* amazing butt. Normally I don't go for thin girls as far as my personal tastes, but I must admit she looked *really* good. This, by the way, is the same model I tell the "I don't like to smile" story about. She still doesn't like doing it, but she's gotten a LOT better at it. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

M
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