Here’s another project I hope to bring back to life. Almost a decade ago I managed to get some people from Craigslist to stand in front of my camera. I had this idea, using the 1000mm lens my dad gave me (a Sigma 1000mm f8 APO vintage 1990’s) to photograph people around sunset to make silhouettes.
I put out a call for people that looked interesting in profile. For example, mohawks, big afros, shapely people etc. I got a really pretty woman and her daughter, and a couple of punks the guy had an awesome mohawk.
Technically I found this more challenging than I expected. The use of the 1000mm lens is very tricky. It’s about a meter long (as implied by its focal length.) That’s not including the lens hood. And I was using this Nikon mount lens on a Canon camera with manual focus. But manual focus wasn’t much of an obstacle. It was trying to point this lens where I wanted it- and to avoid showing anything behind the models. Also, being maybe 30 meters away made communicating with the models tricky. That and the fact that the waterfront path lied between me and my camera and the subject- so I had to pause as cyclists and pedestrians walked through the scene.
That having been said, I’m very happy with the results. The punks looked great from profile. The young woman had a really nice figure and the guy’s mohawk was as the best I could imagine. And you can tell they were genuinely in love.
The other set of models were very different. A lovely young mother brought her daughter along. She told me her daughter had a great day- I wish I asked them to come back for another couple shoots. I particularly liked the shots of her with camera in hand.
I post this now as a reminder to repeat this idea. I’ve got some better gear for the task. I’ve got some other silhouette ideas. It’s time to open up this project again!
(note the Mohawk couple is not model released for whatever that’s worth)
Recently I’ve been hiring models. There are a few reasons- I want to add something different to my stock photo library. I also need to hone my people photography skills for when they really count. So often I have a shoot and find myself fumbling with concepts I could have worked out when I wasn’t under alot of pressure. Having a large diverse library of people also seems to help getting my foot in the door for some gigs too.
In my most recent casting, my first model was Gina. She’s got a great look and was a real pleasure to work with.
On the unfortunate side,I found right before my shoot that all the lighting gear I meant to test was at my dad’s so we worked under natural light. Not to say that’s bad, but part of what’s in this for me is sorting out the lighting options. On the plus side with El Nino we had a giant softbox overhead (heavy overcast!)
Gina had a number of looks and outfits that played well for the shoot. We shot in a local park here in Alameda. All of the scenery was nature- which was nice. But I also wanted a mix of urban as well. Gina offered to do another shoot that I wanted in her neighborhood in San Francisco and I hope to make that happen after I’m done going down the list of all the great folks who’ve replied to my modeling request.
One of the sources for image requests I subscribe to was looking for a photo of a girl with a bike. They had a sample photo that looked promising: it was that of a girl, face not visible and a black English three speed bike almost identical to the one I had in storage. They wanted it to look like spring. The sample photo also showed blue skies and a patch of green sorrel in the foreground- something easily found at the park near me. As it happens I have a girl (my lovely 12 year old daughter Ella.) The request called for spring dresses, something Ella didn’t have, but my wife Bridget sent out an email to friends for said garments (ironically several of the mothers in our group wear the same size as my 12 y/o daughter!) And within a few hours we had a selection of spring dresses. Regrettably my seemingly perfect bike in storage turned out to be unacceptably rusty. I’ll have to have it fixed up, it’s my all time favorite bike. Fortunately I had yet another similar bike- a modern copy of a Dutch bike (made in Taiwan for what it’s worth.) Bridget did a little art directing, I think the photos turned out pretty well. We’ll see what happens!