Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Holy Exploding Thermostats, Batman!

LaceyYes, if Robin was my assistant on Saturday that's the phrase that would have ripped from his mouth. By 10:30am, it was 85 degrees and I was dripping wet. I'd been talking to this new model for a few weeks hammering out what exactly we were going to do. The place was the Cathedral of Junk. The color was pink. Funny. I had that Aerosmith song playing on the stereo the night before and thought nothing of it.

We arrived at the Cathedral a few moments apart. There was a crew pulling up in a yellow box truck, delivering stage parts for a show from the look of it. I hadn't thought much about it until after she stepped out of her car and they all just stopped and stared. She was decked out in a black and pink corset, pink fishnet gloves and, and black fishnet stockings with matching pink stripes. It all went together pretty well. But yeah, these guys stood there for a moment taking her in.

MischeviousI walked over and introduced myself and we went into the backyard after I'd pulled my gear out of the car. She'd never been there before so we did a brief walk through so she could get a feel for the place.

Now, if you've never been to the Cathedral of Junk, let me describe it to you. First the Cathedral lives in a quiet south Austin neighborhood just off of South Congress. You pull up to the residence and ... well, you don't see it. It's a nice little neighborhood. You have houses and flowers, trees and dogs, and the occasional white picket fence. But as you approach the gate, you catch your first glimpse of the Cathedral. The structure is ever growing. Magnanimous and BeneficentIt lives and breathes as it's owner, Vince, finds new ways to build upon it. There are bottle sculptures, junk walls, the inner throne, buttresses, stairways to heaven, and even a crows nest of sorts.

One of the photos I'd wanted to get was of her sitting on the throne in a distinctly magnanimous and noble way. The Cathedral is a fantasy and she just fit into it like a pink and gothic fairy. Unlike the cake, this is not a lie. We chatted a bit while I set up one light. With space tight within the inner workings of the Cathedral, I opted to ditch the umbrella and go with a hard light. It was sunny inside, so I just needed to offset the blast of light and try to overpower it a bit. One thing I realized is that I miss using my D40 for times like this. Extreme ambient control and still usable with the SB's and the Pocket Wizards. 1/1600th of a second was sorely missed that day. But I made due with the D300 and some stopping down.

LaceyOne thing new that I decided to try was CLS in TTL mode and just using the flash compensation settings. I'm mixed over this. Because there was such a large amount of ambient coming from the sun, I had problems with it picking the wrong exposure value to set on the flash. If I had to do it again I'd use it in manual and just dial everything in. But, it was hot, getting hotter and I wanted to move fast before I passed out from heat exhaustion. Glad I picked up a few bottles of water for us to partake in during the scene resets.

LaceyWe ended up shooting in four areas: the throne, the bench, the alcove, and the archway. The throne was my favorite. I just love the way she looks there. The archway followed. I wanted some fill coming in from the sun bouncing off the ground and light coming in from the clear, blue sky. I really like the look of that northern light. It is delicate and different from flash. The slightly blue tinge to it just does it for me (and I really want to play more with it; just need to find a good place with a bunch of quality northern light coming into a large window).

By 11:15, I was packing up and calling it done. It was just too hot to be comfortable. I knew I'd gotten at least one good shot. We chatted for a few minutes and then parted ways. The Cathedral was definitely a worthy place to shoot. Even if the heat DID almost kill me. ;-)

Lacey in the alcove
The lovely lady in the photos above is Lacey Starr. I met her through Model Mayhem. She was definitely fun and easy to work with. I had her laughing shortly into the shoot. Once that happened, I knew I'd be shooting with her again. And as for the pink? Yeah, I can see how Aerosmith finds it an obsession.

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