Friday, April 18, 2008

Livin' La Vida Strobist

Michelle Christina... or maybe we'll call it "Strobist Pickups".

On Wednesday, I went to a benefit show held by a local photographer, Jay B. Sauceda. He was doing an open house at his studios in honor of a deceased friend. Jay B. has several of the displayed photos up on his Flickr stream. The photos of Heather and Michelle were some of the most striking. The composition and color was just stunning.

I knew a few of the other Strobists in the area would be showing up so I knew it would be a good evening to hang out and get better acquainted with people I didn't know. Chris (Definitive Images), Greg, Tom, Julian, Dom, both Peter's, and a few others ended up gathering around and doing a bit of planning for the upcoming Dunvegan Keep meetup on April 27th. This is going to be a great chance for everyone to work with light. After awhile, some of us migrated outside and came upon Ben, Carol, and James. Food soon became the subject of interest and many of us trekked down to Nuevo Leon on 6th Street. (A word of warning: double check Chris' directions. ;-) The food was good but the sopapillas were a bit over-seasoned with cinnamon.

After dinner, a few of us were kind of restless so we meandered back to Jay B's to see if we could find a few other folks willing to do a bit of late-night shooting. I had my gear, Chris had his. All we needed was a model and a place to shoot. Walking back to the studio, I pointed out the outdoor stage (seen in the photo above) to Chris, so we went scout it out. Certainly worth using; the place was covered in graffiti and murals.

Inside, Chris found Michelle, one of the models that Jay B had photographed for the benefit. One simple question later and we had a willing subject, a place, the gear, and some photogs ready to have some late night fun. So, off we all hiked, just a random group of people walking around East Austin with no real plan other than to have fun and take some photos. The photog community in Austin is beginning to gel and become more cohesive, especially when you consider a bunch of us are just amateurs and people trying to break into the business. The pros seem willing to lend a hand, give some pointers, and make it feel open and welcoming.

About an hour later, Michelle and her boyfriend had to depart, so the rest of us decided to set up a group shot for the evening, located around one of the playscapes that was next to the stage. It took us about 30-45 minutes to get the idea down and lights set up. Chris had some good guidance there (as well as when we were shooting Michelle). Once we had everything set up, we got about a dozen timed photos with all of us in the picture (me, Carol, Chris, Ben, Peter, and Andrew). I'm looking forward to seeing the photos once Chris posts them.

The shot above is a three light setup. The main light is a Nikon SB-800 shot into a Westcott umbrella at camera right. There's a Nikon SB-800 at camera left providing a bit of hair and rim light. Finally, there's a Nikon SB-800 at camera right that's up close to the wall providing some illumination to highlight the detail in the mural.

One of the things I learned Wednesday evening during all of this is that if you want to shoot, just shoot. I'm finding that the more I shoot, the more comfortable I become with the equipment. I still need work directing models. I froze up a bit working with Michelle because I didn't have any idea what I really wanted to come up with. Some of the photos other folks took were pretty cool and it was interesting to watch a photo progress, one move at a time.

For now, more practice is needed and I'm looking forward to doing more Strobist Pickups.

If you'd like to see more photos from this, check out the set on my Flickr stream.

No comments: