We were planning a shoot, months ago. There was still snow on the ground at that time. Time went by, everyone was busy and the conflicting schedules made it nearly impossible to meet. We had made a few tentatives but there was always something happening. Last weekend was it.
We met in the Centennial Park parking lot early in the morning. There was heavy rain in the forecast but to my great surprise, I woke up that morning to an almost clear blue sky. Rain was making me a bit worry because I was planning on shooting with the Alien Bee rather than the hot shoe flashes. My Bee does not have a rain cover and judging by the last few days’ weather, rain was not giving a big heads-up when showing up.
After discussing the different outfits and makeup, Lucy started preparing while I visually scouted the place. We had planned on shooting in the playground, which was the reason for starting at 7am while kids are still having their cereals. I knew we would not be able to shoot there forever so I spotted a few other places.
The shoot went very well. It took only a couple of frames to get the angles going and for both of us to understand what was working and what wasn’t. After the 1st kid showed up with his grandparents in a slow and shy pace, wondering if they were disrupting anything, I signaled them to come over and take the playground. We moved to a tree stump Lucy spotted for a few frames until we decided to change to the second outfit. On the way back to the truck, we stopped near a cedar hedge for a few more frames of this outfit. In order to get the light out of the way, I extended the boom arm to its maximum length. I did not have my counter weight but the battery pack attached to the base of the stand was heavy enough to hold the off centered flash.
The shoot was going well until I heard that crashing metal sound. Disaster! The Alien Bee had taken a 10 feet+ plunge to the ground. They say people see their life flashing by in near death experience; I saw all my near future shoots fly by thinking “I need to rethink the lighting!”. After assessing the damages, I realized the weight at the bottom of the stand was sufficient and that I simply did not tight enough the tightening screw holding the boom angled; the screw slipped and let the arm crash to the ground as fast as gravity would take it there. When I unhooked the banged-up beauty dish from the front of the flash, I realized the flash bulb was gone. It dislodged itself on impact. I was certain it would be shattered to bits and pieces but it wasn’t. I was certain the prongs would be severed but they weren’t. What the heck? I plugged the flash bulb back in, reapplied power and sure enough, the flash was working. The flash literature states that thing is made out of the same material as bullet proof glasses. You know the type of BS marketing facts? Well, I don’t think it is such BS after all… I slapped the beauty dish back on the flash, brought the boom back into the stratosphere, tighten the screw like there is no tomorrow and finished up the shoot like if nothing happened. A man has his pride…
The last outfit was meant to be shot on a trail in the woods but after 4 or 5 feet in, it looked like the trail was pitch black with all the foliage around it so we found a small opening between the trees to finish up the morning.
I get many requests for shoots during the year that don’t get executed because of scheduling conflicts. I have a tendency to think if they don’t happen it is because they were not meant to be. I am happy that Lucy and I kept pushing to set a date. It is better late than ever.