The path of the photographer…or, in my case, the generalist. A generalist is defined loosely as “one who offers a range of diverse skills and an intelligent mix of knowledge from a variety of disciplines.” Being a photographer, my degree of intelligence can occasionally range from stone cold dense to lightning quick–depends on the day. So, a more apt and reliable analogy might be that of a utility infielder on a ball team. Can’t play one position the absolute best, but I can fill in on any number of positions with a reasonable degree of competence.
Generalist skills were in demand on this recent trip. I left home for Norway on Feb. 16, hit northern Norway, then southern Norway (if such a thing really exists), and then Romania. Home for a one night laundry drive-by, and thence to New Orleans. Basically, forty straight days on the road.
Taught a wonderful workshop with dear friend and photographer Tamara Lackey and had a blast with our extraordinary and adventurous photographers In the Lofoten Islands – where the sea eagles rule the skies. Shot with the Nikkor 180-400 f4, 1/4000th, zoom at 310mm, eye detect AF auto mode. Amazing bird, coming right at me. Following and tracking from an unstable RIB boat.
Bird portraits! Flipped the TC on the lens and got to 500mm, ISO 3200.
From the northern islands of Lofoten to Stavanger Foto in the southern part of Norway. Terrific time working with Andreas and all the staff, and especially the photographers who came out on a cold day! Human portraits! With Profoto lights, large and small. For the below, I used a B10XPlus unit and just blasted it from a distance at a window we had covered with some impromptu diffusion. I put lights far from windows in a situation like this as it feels to me that when the strobe generated light finally hits the building, it looks and behaves more like daylight. (Not a scientific observation, just a gut call, as in, it seems to work out ok when I do that.)
Working with Micke! Micke Johannsen is a Profoto staffer with infinite knowledge of the system. The people at our workshop asked that we build a multi-light setup with the lovely Jaumela Wiseman. Had some fun with her doing her best Catwoman in the old abandoned steel mill look. Lots of lights here, but the main is a Profoto 4′ Octa with a grid.
And then, a quick example of flash duration and how it enables the technique of flash and blur.
Then to Romania! On assignment for the city of Bucharest, I was there for less than 24 hours and found myself atop the Arcul di Triumf, one of the most notable monuments in the entire country. Up there at dawn with Valeriu Valentin, whose job it is to replace the flag several times a year.
And a segue from there to Sofia, in Bulgaria, where I shot models in a super small water tank for an illustration for La Fantana, a beautifully future-thinking water supply company.
The terrific thing about this project is that I was working with my dear friends at Fast Idea Production, helmed by the creative powerhouses of Ionut Ionescu and Andrei Marinescu. Between them and their production staff, nothing is too big or too small. We simply tackle the work in concert, and the spirit of the assembled crew (we shoot video simultaneously with the stills) is over the top. Such great energy and friendship surrounding these collaborations.
From the water tank in Sofia back to Bucharest, and, as often happens on a commercial shoot, an overnight adventure. Below, shot at about 1:00a.m., and needing to make daylight. Strobes out on the street. Key lights inside.
And then to NOLA! Music abounds, both for the young and the old. More pictures, and the sharing thereof. Our workshop group, courtesy of the amazing duo of Liza Politi and Ari Espay, who run Fancy Girl, Street Boy Productions, got introduced to The Roots of Music, a fantastic music education effort for young people in New Orleans. Wonderful to photograph these kids, and sending back images! Below, the band warms up, and excellent photog David Maloney shares a just created portrait, below, with his subject.
Exciting trip, lots of locations. Lots of pinging on various skill sets. Tracking and long lens. Lighting portraits. Getting up on top of buildings at sunrise. Water tank work, with flash lighting above, below, and behind. Creating daylight in the night with flash. Rolling with the music scene in the Big Easy.
Whatever skills you have in your bag, you bring them to wherever the picture is.