Poor Ben. Dragged out of his bed in the early hours of the morning by his mean father and made to go along and assist on yet another photographic assignment. It's it any wonder he's counting the days until college? Is it any wonder that he chose a college as far from Austin, Texas as geographically possible?
I'm sure I mentioned it the day before....The schedule...but it seemed to come as a complete surprise to him as he tossed some peanut butter on some whole wheat toast and washed it down with a bit of coffee. The assignment was to go to the Texas State History Museum and make portraits of ten or twelve of the executive team. Some in the board room against a gray background and a few outside in front of the giant Texas Star.
I'd pretty much packed up all the gear the night before. We just had to wrangle everything into the car. Ooops. He borrowed my car last night and when we fired it up today the little needle that tells us how much gasoline we have was perilously plunged into the "red zone." The car's computer estimated we had enough fuel left for 22 miles. We decided to risk it.
We packed three different backgrounds. One canvas, one muslin and one seamless paper. We ended up using the seamless paper. We packed four Elinchrom mono lights, we set up four and used three. We toted along the Barbie Make-up case and put it to good use on one person. We brought a GH4 and a GH3 along with us but we just ended up using the GH3. It's a great raw file shooter. I also brought an embarrassingly rich selection of expensive lenses but ended up using the cheapo Sigma 60mm f2.8 DN lens for almost everything. It's nice, sharp and well behaved.
It was good to have Ben along on the shoot. He helped carry all the junk to the car, listened patiently (for the hundredth time) to my sage, fatherly advice on the way over and back. He kept the posing stool from falling off the top of the cart and destroying some rare Texas artifacts. But most importantly Ben was the stand-in for every set up we did. The image above shows his almost reckless excitement at sitting in for the initial tweak of the lights. A 60 inch umbrella to the right and a (passive) silver reflector to the left side of the frame. A little hair light from the right in a small, black umbrella and a background light which was simply a mono light with a standard head, fitted with a grip spot. No black painted straws, just a Broncolor 20 degree grid spot.
We got through our shoot, re-packed everything and then went across the street to see the new "Dogs and Cats" show at the Blanton Museum. A very nice exhibit which included five beautiful prints by Elliott Erwitt, a print of Igor Stravinsky holding his cat---by Henri Cartier-Bresson and a luscious print of Sandy Skogland's, "Radioactive Cats." There were paintings, three dimensional pieces and sketches that spanned the centuries, from the ancient Egyptians to the near present. In all, a good show and well worth the $9 admission. Of course we didn't pay a cent. It's Thurs. and the museum is open to all for free. The show is certainly worth more than that.
After our brush with art we headed out to our favorite, local Chinese restaurant where my child was greeted like a rock star. He had the Mongolian Beef. I had the "Happy Family." Then we came home to unpack. Seems like a good use of child labor except that he's now eighteen so I can no longer tease him in the work place. He's much too serious for that.
Why flash instead of __________??? Who knows? It's been a flashy kind of month. I guess when you are busy with jobs on location it's comfortable to default to the well known routine. Either that or I'm going through another crazy artist phase were I eschew all novelty and delightful uncertainty in my life in an exchange for the safe and known. (Boring). I'm sure it's a passing fancy.
I've come to the sad realization that when Ben leaves for school in the Fall I will need to break in and train a new assistant. This is going to be a difficult process.
Early reviews of Photography's block buster, action adventure novel of the Summer? Go see for yourself...