Sunday, June 23, 2013

"It's not that common, it doesn't happen to every guy and it is a big deal....."

Rachel's parting words to Ross after their attempted reconciliation had failed.

Couldn't help hearing Jennifer Aniston's voice yesterday as I drove down the M27 west from Portsmouth having dropped a model off after our shoot in the New Forest had ended before it had begun.

The day began with howling wind and rain and me on the computer at 6 a.m contemplating whether or not to book a studio slot in Southampton rather than the outdoor shoot that had been arranged a month ago for the New Forest. Having checked Sky weather and then double checked by using the BBC the forecast seemed to be more optimistic than the view out of the bedroom window and I decided to 'give it an hour' and then decide - knowing that with the model due to catch a train at 8:30 from Horsham I didn't have much room for manoeuvre.

Well the weather cleared and Janis asked if I could take her to Sainsbury's on the way to Southampton Central - I duly did and found myself with  time to kill so I headed for the location to check on ground conditions - it has been raining on and off for the last week or so.

I'd scouted several locations during the past month, I wanted a combination of standing and falling trees, some woodland cover and some ferns for the various shots I had planned. It came down to three possibles and I really wanted the one that offered the most privacy, not because we were planning on shooting lingerie or nude (we weren't) but because the mood of a location shoot can be easily broken if you have to keep worrying about people passing by. The location chosen was between Lyndhurst and Burley, sufficiently off the beaten track to avoid prying eyes but not so remote that it would involve a long hike from the car with the various equipment and props required.

As I had time to spare I thought I would take some test shots, although the clouds were moving fairly rapidly from west to east I thought I could at least get some idea of settings, light readings, shutter speeds etc, fired off a dozen or so shots and was pleased with the results - so off to Southampton Central to meet the 10 o'clock train from Horsham.

Back at the site I talked through the various scenarios with the model, we then found a suitable place for her to use as a changing room.  I then set up the lighting stand with the flash, took the remote trigger out of my bag and fired off some test flashes, everything was working fine. I then took my camera out of the bag and set about taking a couple of test shots with the off camera flash - the camera refused to work, an error message appearing in the screen - one that I wasn't familiar with.  Whatever I tried the camera refused to play ball, or even play cameras. There was no phone signal and I had ceased carrying the manual around ages ago (which wouldn't have made any difference anyway as there is no 'error message' section). The model did say that whenever things failed for her she threw them on the floor, nice idea but not practical with a camera and lens that cost over £1,000.

Having reached civilisation I phoned home and asked Janis to Google the error code and text me with any useful tips. In the meantime we headed for Portsmouth, the models base for the weekend. Two hours or so later I arrived at home and went online to check the message - you know those moments in life when you feel really stupid, well this was one of them. The problem was all of my own making, I had accidentally turned the aperture ring around on the lens which automatically stops the camera working - the ring is a throwback to the old days of manual cameras, these days it serves no function other than causing photo shoots to be cancelled!

The good news is that we will be shooting again in three weeks time, the model at least has enough faith in me to not want to cancel on the grounds that I'm a complete arse.


A Northern Bloke said...

Oh, no! Nightmare scenario!

I'm getting into off-camera flash at the moment : made affordable (for me, at least) by The People's Republic of China!

Hope the shoot in three weeks time goes well and, as usual, I'll be looking forward to seeing the photos.

Paul said...

Hi Shy - indeed the stuff of nightmares, funny thing is that I was reading a list of 'common mistakes' by photographers and they didn't included cocking things up yourself.

Good luck with the off camera flash, much harder outside the studio to control the light.

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