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.