Kevin Louis Jean Colombu – Behind the Scenes

Kev is one of my newer friends.  He is a good bloke.  A great bloke actually.  He is the easiest person to get along with. He’s funny. He’s talented. And he’s one of the most interesting people I know.  Along with his love of graphic design (and most things aesthetic), his love of fashion, his love of photography and his love of food, he has mad-love for fixies.  You might remember my post about my new bike way back (EyeisforImage) when I got my fixie – the man who I contacted for some info and his opinion was Kev.  As soon as I started asking some questions, I could see how passionate he was about the bikes, and cycling in general.  He knows model numbers, part sizes, advantages and disadvantages of any modification and even rough weights of components.  He has built a number of machines already, and I heard first-, and second-hand how crazy he was while building and sourcing parts off-shore and interstate.  I wanted to try and capture this passion and his personality in a series of images, and I hope I have done so for you all.

I scouted a few locations before settling on the ones you have seen in the images. I knew I wanted to include the old water tower at the bottom end of the valley. I knew I wanted a plain wall to have a shadow of his bike projected onto it. And that was all I had to go with. I previsualised these images, and spent a few hours hunting around the area for suitable locations – making sure everything was walking distance. I found a few walls, but the side of Kennards was the only one close that was in shade. This worked well as I didn’t have to overcome the bright sunlight to create a new shadow of the bike on the wall.

We had trouble standing the bike up without any proper stand – lucky Jas had a cup her in car (which I removed in post later) – though Kev’s poor bike still took an occasional tumble. It was only half way through that he realised he still had the dorky water-splash-fender attached over his rear tyre. I was going to take it out in post – as it isn’t generally attached to his bike (damn Queensland tropical downpours! – though like Kev said, they do nothing when the rain is coming down in bucketloads all over your body and soaking you from helmet to shoes) – but I thought I’d leave it in – partly to have a crack at him (haha), and partly to tell the next story. While I was setting up and moving lights around, I turned around to reach for my lightstand and was confronted by a strange appendage growing out of it. While I wasn’t paying attention, Kev had attached his fender to my lightstand to give it a more aggressive, water-protecting look – I was slightly confused by the sight of it as it took me a while to realise what the hell the black thing on my stand actually was – I had a good chuckle when I realised what had happened – the look actually grew on me by the end of the shoot!

To light the first shot, I setup my AB1600 on my new C-Stand and used the kit arm to get some angle on the softbox so I could shoot under it. I played with the feather on the box to make sure I was highlighting Kev’s face, and the light was falling-off down his body. Afterall, this is still a portrait so I wanted him to be the focus. The shot is lit entirely with flash – ambient was roughly 4 stops below. We chatted away the whole time – and I spent a little too much time doubled over from Kev’s witty humour, that I probably missed a few good expressions. Shooting Kev is funny – he’s a photographer also, and I didn’t really want to tell him to do anything in particular in the shot. Every time I’d almost catch him laughing, he’s pull straight into a more serious expression and I’d miss it – on purpose! haha

After exhausting a few compositions I had in mind, we looked for another location as the Sun was still fairly high. I wanted to shoot behind us, against a different rendered wall, but the Sun wasn’t playing ball. I had double shadows and knew that I wasn’t liking the shot – so we moved up the road to another wall and doorway I had seen earlier. I like the bold colours of this setting, and again, we shot away – this time, I didn’t worry about lighting the bike – I was slightly above ambient with my softbox and everything was looking good.

The Sun dropped even lower, so we headed down to the towering structure to shoot against it for a bit. We got hassled a little by a lady who claimed to have hired the venue out for an art exhibition, but she let us shoot away. We were on property that was/is open to the public, and weren’t including any art in the background (even though photographers were free to enter and shoot away) so I didn’t see how we needed to seek her permission – but it’s better to win the public over so that they don’t cause you any grief, than to try and overly defend yourself and lose the shot. While a macho, defensive attitude may still get you access to the shooting location, I can almost guarantee that you will have killed the atmosphere you were creating for the subject – so I recommend you just play the game.

I got plenty of these from Kev. He said it was almost automatic – camera gets pointed towards you, bird comes flying into frame, photo gets taken. He made me work – but it was good.

Thanks for taking the time out to sit for me Kev – and I hope you enjoy the images. It is never easy being on the lens side of the camera, so I really appreciate it. I owe you breakfast at one of our favourites, at least.

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