Sometimes you go into a shoot knowing that its going to be a test of everything you're made of.
This was one of those shoots.
something you should know - I HATE NEW YORK CITY! more than anything on earth. driving there is on part with dying very slowly of something horrible to me. id rather be fighting a bear-shark with only a cup of water - then drive in new york city. FUCK NYC! anyway...
Now, if you've read the posts prior to this - the night before the shoot - you know im on less than 20 hours sleep for about 4 days... I was up at 9am to drop of Gage, had a shoot at 4,
So Nessa (assistant) came by around 7pm, we got some dinner, then I was going to have her drive to New Jersey.
About 30 minutes into the trip I started feeling really ill, and HAD to take over driving to avoid making some sort of mess of my aforementioned dinner.
So leaving at 930 I assumed there wouldnt be any traffic.. yyyyeah, most 3 lane highways were down to one lane. AWESOME! - so massive traffic the entire way... why wouldnt that happen? as soon as I hit the NY boarder, traffic was pretty much stopped at like - fucking midnight - ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?
We go through the lincoln tunnel - and huzzah - we arrive at the hotel - which has a decent view of the NYC skyline.. - SEE!
Anyway, so I needed to get a 3rd Dynalite Jackrabbit chord in order to do the shoot, and very luckily for me, B&H is only 4 miles away from the hotel!!! YESSS! photo-nerd time!
So I meet up with the band for a bit to plan the next day, and crash out.
I wake up around 930 so i can go to B&H... and oh my fucking GOD! worst ever.
I get to the lincoln tunnel - and its stopped traffic - takes me about 40 minutes to get to the other side. - once on the other side - everyones GUNNING it - and stops short - so im about 2 inches into the "DONT BLOCK" grid - cop knocked on my window - and i get a $150 ticket - because i was dumb enough to drive into NYC - FUCK YOU NYC! SERIOUSLY! - everyone around me was beeping and there were $300 fines for beeping but nope - just me - $150 ticket... AWESOME! UGH!
I get to BH - get my gear and get the FUCK out of that shitty city, back to jersey. It took me over an hour to go 4 miles there - and about 5 minutes to get 4 miles back to jersey.
SO! after that misadventure (FUCK YOU NYC! WORST CITY EVER!) - I check out - meet up with the band - and my new aussie friend James Hartley (check out his work here - http://www.hartleyphoto.net ) - who was helping me with the shoot along with Nessa, and being an all around awesome guy.
So for those who dont know - Iron Thrones are the "No Label Needed" Winners - it was a contest presented by Scion - where they front all the money to one winning band - that a label would usually put into a band (recording, clothes shopping, ad space, video documentary, and of course: a jeremy saffer photo shoot! hah) - more info on the contest here: http://metalinsider.net/nolabelneeded
So we start off by their studio in what was an abandoned building - which is apparently only occupied by teenage-mutant-ninja-kitties - and it most certainly smelled like it. - Because we started at noon - the sun was directly above us - which was a bit tricky for the begining of the day - i hate shooting around noon - or even being awake by noon! so, I started with a beauty dish boomed above the band - shooting with the 24-70 2.8 - iso 125 F18 - at a 40th (to bleed in some natural light) - but in the end the first shot looked WAY too natural for what I wanted for this set
So I took out the dish - and put in two umbrellas instead - turned them up a bit - took a knee to shoot upward and get a spill of the building in the shot to really capture the environment - for this one - I used almost the same settings - i turned my lights up a bit from 25% to about 50% to really battle the sun - this was with the 16-35 2.8 lens - then dropped my Fstop to 16 - and again shooting at a 40th to bleed in some of the natural lighting - and for me - this is a much more effective shot for a metal band trying to shoot in a decayed area
Next we did the standard - shooting against a blue sky - which i normally do by throwing the sun behind the band for rim - and use front lighting or split lighting for the band... unfortunately the sun being directly above us, and trying to shoot upward, gave me nothing but lens glare - I blasted all my lights to try to fight it - and this was the one shot i got that i actually was happy with - i dont remember why i jumped by ISO to 400 - but its 400 for the rest of the shoot for some reason.. the settings are ISO400 - F22 - 200th - the lighting was split lighting with two umbrellas - and the sun gave them a nice beauty/hair light that hit their shoulders for this one
The last spot by the studio we shot was under the bridge which was loaded with cars - so i got down REAL low to cut out all the cars around them - and shot them against the top of the garage using two umbrellas to throw light up behind them - and a beauty dish for a main. - dish was at 25% - umbrellas at 50% - the first shot i wanted to really get the bridge in there - so i dropped my shutter speed down to a 25th at F20 - and for the second shot i jumped it up to a 100th at F22 to make a really selectively lit photo
After that we drove around the corner and i spotted a little area that I knew would be KILLER for photos - it was a metal shed/barn that would reflect light perfectly - with grass below it - and the perfect blue sky above it! YESSSSS!!!! I saw it and was like "OK! SHOOTING HERE NOW!!"
Anyway - I started with just a single beauty dish boomed up above nice and high - the only problem with shooting like that is you cant get super wide shots because the light will be in the images, but I was going for CREEPY! - the settings are: F18 at a 200th - and again - going for a DARK vibe - which - this was during complete daylight - no shadows anywhere to be seen... when they saw this photo on the back of my camera they flipped out - and were like "HOW THE FUUUUHHH???" - its my job homie, its what i do! hah.
Next I brought in split lighting so i could do some wider shots - get more of the environment in there - and even bring in the sky, and the grass below them a bit more - the settings for these shots are a 125th at F18 - the lighting is two umbrellas split behind them (giving the halo of light behind them) and a beauty dish boomed up and pointed at them - but turned down low - so it would be more of a fill then a main.
Next we ate some burritos and moved onto a very industrial area - where it seemed every building was made of metal (PERFECT!)
I started off by doing something I dont normally do... shoot natural light... WHAAAT?!? I really liked how soft and cold the light was hitting on this wall - and really wanted to use the selective focus a bit more for a solid depth of field - so I popped on the 24-70 2.8 - dropped it down to 2.8 - at a 160th - and dropped my ISO to 100 (not sure why i even brought it up to 400 to begin with, maybe because its my safe spot *shrug* - anyway - i really like the natural look here
We moved down just a few feet to a red metal wall and i continued shooting natural with the same settings - then i popped in a beauty dish and changed my settings to ISO400 - F22 - at an 80th (to bring in some of the sky) - obviously this isnt edited with the beauty dish in the image
Next we moved along to an overpass - and shot against it for a really standard "new jersey" type of shot - which is kinda weird thinking about it, because the band is from minnesota i think?
here I used two umbrellas behind them and a beauty main - shot at the same settings (f22 - iso400) but dropped my speed down to a 50th to realllly bring in that bridge and sky (because at this point we were losing light)
I found yet another giant metal wall to shoot them on - and it was a MASSIVE wall so i knew whatever I was going to do was going to be perfect for them. for some reason pete decided to mess with his hair and that shit stayed STRAIGHT UP! with no effort! - looked like a troll - so i snapped a quick natural light shot of it (iso 100 - f2.8 at a 200th)
Then i started doing real photos - I started using the beauty dish from above - and powered it up to make shadows more harsh - the shots are at iso100 - f16/11 at a 160th/200th to really cut out any ambient light and go super metal
next i wanted to experiment a bit - so i used two umbrellas behind them against the wall - but brought them out FAR away from the wall - probably about 8-10 feet. and used a beauty dish as a main - for some reason i struggled for about 5 minutes trying to get the exposure the way i wanted - changing the power of the lights - and just being a generally frustrated dude (as this was the end,.ish - of the shoot, and the batteries, my assistants, the band, and myself were all very worn, with all of us having more work to do for the day) - so eventually i powered my umbrellas to 50% - the dish to 50% - and shot it at F22 at a 100th iso400 - and the goal was to really make it so the wall wasnt right on them giving hard horizontal lines - and MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
then we did a fun windmill shot - which you know - a good break in the seriousness - much needed! - i should have upped my speed to 200 - but this was a quick haha shot
last set we did was just next to that under a construction spot - i tried a few different things and hated it all then just did the split lighting with the dish main to finish up quick - and its the same settings but F20 instead of 22 - i shot thru two metal poles - then got close and shot angled against one of the umbrellas for the horizontal shot.
After finishing up - we went back to the studio - i met up with Kathrine who came to my workshop just a few days earlier - then hung for a quick second at the syndicate office - showing them some of the photos (as they are essentially the ones who hired me and who are paying for the shoot).
Then I started my trek home... and jesus fucking christ I hate new york city. seriously - when i saw "welcome to connecticut" i nearly had a party in my car. it was allllll traffic til that point. FUCK YOU NYC! YOU ARE THE WORST!
so - all in all - it was a very successful shoot, probably my favorite of the year so far in terms of how much went into it - and the outcome. but, on the other side, i never ever ever want to travel through new york city again in my entire life - ever. fuck that place. seriously. worst. ever.
so keep your eyes open for iron thrones, as they will certainly be seen and heard - LOUDLY! in the near future
and metal injection did a behind the scenes video as well as a quick interview with me so that will make an appearance at some point at this location - http://metalinsider.net/nolabelneeded
aaand that was the longest blog i have ever written, kudos if you got through it. sorry if youre from nyc... move!