It’s been a couple of weeks since I shot at Boulderwelt. It was a fantastic experience, although it left me with a nasty cold and a sore throat (not from the cold). I ended up with close to 60 awesome participants and hundreds of images I’m really excited about. Regarding the future of these images, I’m currently working on a couple of ideas although I’m not yet completely sure what final shape they will take.
The basic setup worked pretty much the way I’d planned, with one key light through a softbox on the subject and one strobe firing into a white reflector which in turn reflects the light onto the background. Note: I switched from a white styrofoam to a big white Lastolite reflector as it was easier to transport. I triggered the strobes with the D90′s internal flash gun which worked great for the most part. For reasons I haven’t figured out yet, sync reliability kept decreasing as the day went on, which bugged me a lot. It started great with maybe one misfire out of 40 shots until late at night it fell below 50% (!). Still unsure what was happening there, changing batteries on the strobes didn’t help either. (I wish I’d had a couple of Pocket Wizards for this gig, they are definitely on my shopping list once I’ve got enough money…) Note: I haven’t confirmed this, but one reason could be that the D90′s IR trigger output level decreases with decreasing camera battery power. (I didn’t change batteries on the D90, only on the strobes…)
Pictures to the People
The fundamental idea of this project was that everybody should be getting their images in full resolution for their own use. I didn’t know how many people it would be beforehand, but I knew I would have to be prepared for getting out pictures to a lot of people quickly and efficiently. I’d worked as an assistant for a Munich based studio recently where we had a day-long casting for an advertising campaign. In order to keep track of some 40 applicants, we had them hold up a piece of paper with their name and contact information and took a picture of each. It’s a great way to keep track of people you photograph, since you’ve got a connection between their faces and their contact information right there with the images you take. I decided to steal that idea, so I had everyone write down their email addresses on a piece of paper and took a picture of them before moving on to the “real” images. It still took me a whole day to get all of the final images out, but that was mostly waiting for the files to upload on my server. (Everyone got a download link for their zipped pictures)
As I’m browsing through the finished images, I’m overwhelmed by the many great people I’ve met in the course of these two days and how much fun the whole affair has been. One question I’ve been asked many times was “why?”. As I told the people who asked me during the shoot, when you’re trying to make money with your photography, you run the risk of losing touch with the reasons why you started shooting in the first place. You stop shooting simply for the fun of creating something cool. And creating something cool was the main objective for this project. I wasn’t even sure what exactly would come out of it. But I knew that with some planning and a handful of great people, this could really turn into something nice.
Of course this doesn’t mean that I would mind if some kind of paying job came from this. Ever since turning my hobby into a profession, the basic idea of advertising myself wherever possible is present in the background and I don’t mind that. It’s part of being a professional photographer and I accepted that as part of the job. But the real reason for this project remains the pure fun of creating something. Of going out and doing something instead of sitting at home and thinking about doing something.
So, why not?