Getting copies of annual reports on which you've worked is like Christmas in June. Here's the latest one from the Pedernales Electric Co-op...

I like working on annual report projects because it's a quick, deep dive into a company and it's a concentrated photography experience that really calls on various skills for success. There tends to be a very high shooting to use ratio with the images, but that's to be expected. Art directors like to have a big "catalog" of possibilities to work with when they sit down after the shooting to finalize their designs. And in large companies there are always more people with input who might like to try something a bit different. 

The images for the Pedernales Electrical Co-op project were mostly shot in the last week of April and the first week of May. The art director and I traveled all around the central Texas area photographing people working with clients and at infrastructure facilities. We made about a dozen shots of the CEO in different locations and made hundreds of images of an electrical substation so the AD could get the exact angle and configuration she wanted of the final cover. You can see from the shot above and the shot below that the cover is wraps around to the front and back; it's a highly cropped image that, in person on the printed piece, stands up very well. No noise, no grain and no softness. 

The image was shot using a Nikon D810 camera and the inexpensive but potent Rokinon 14mm f2.8 lens. A lens profile was applied in PhotoShop. And yes, I was pretty much shooting directly into the sun...

I got a copy of the AR in the mail last week and it has a few mailing nicks and bungs but I wanted to share it with you since I wrote about the assignment when it was in progress. It's fun to finally be able to show the printed work. While I realize that a lot is lost in translation when the brochure has been photographed (with a few unfortunate glare spots) and radically down sampled for the web but I do consider the double truck spread printed on a traditional printing press to be the litmus test for technical quality and file integrity. Also, at 11x17 inches (print in hand) you'll be able to see every glitch you created or passed by in post processing. Personally, I'm happy to see that there's no trace of banding in the uniform sky areas. 

Below is a partial sampling of the spreads.....

Scouting locations is a wonderful thing. We knew exactly at what angle to put the trucks to get light on them and still get some modeling....we'd been there before.

The key to doing projects like this for me is to know what to expect in advance, to pack a kit that allows you to move quickly but still handle a wide range of lighting challenges, and to always be genuinely collaborative with your creative partners and polite and respectful to all the people you'll need to cajole into cooperating. I depended on the Elinchrom Ranger RX AS flash system for the heavy light lifting in some shots, the Cactus triggers and various shoe mount flashes in most interior locations, and the Nikon D810 with the 14mm, 25-50mm f4.0 ais lens, the Sigma 50mm 1.4 art lens, the Nikon 105 f2.5 and the ancient but sharp as a tack 80-200mm f2.8 Nikon zoom. Nothing fancy but nothing crappy either. 

One of my most important tools on this job was my tripod. Lots of the images in the other spreads, as well as every portrait in the AR were done using a tripod for support. A simple tool but worth so much when you are aiming to print big and deliver consistent quality. 

As I tell Ben, "This is what I do at work."


  1. Thanks for posting this! After reading about how you created the images, it's neat to see the final product.

  2. Thanks for showing this. Great result from a lot of work, bravo!

  3. Well done. I really dig the way these photos are lit.


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