Jim requested that I find a creative location for the bikes. He wanted to get away from shots of the bikes on a solid color backdrop. I couldn't think of a better location than the Haw River Ballroom.
But first, I needed more gear! I've gotten away with just my cameras and a small on-camera flash for years. But I'm starting to get more requests for product shots and portraits. So I knew I needed more flash power to step up my game. I went to Southeastern Camera in Carrboro and found a nifty pair of used Interfit Cyberflash 300s. These are really portable flat panel strobes that have adjustable output and can be set up as slaves of each other - meaning that when one fires, the other goes off instantly. I bought an extra 10 foot light stand to add to my new set of stands and about 75 feet of extension cords. I also bought 3 Phottix Atlas II wireless flash triggers. They aren't quite as fancy as Pocket Wizards but more than adequate for me at the moment. And maybe the best thing of all is my new Sekonic light meter. Why haven't I bought one of those before now?
This shoot was really my first paid gig for a client with this newly improved kit. I learned a lot about how the flash units work together. I was able to take pictures that I wasn't able to pull off before.
On location at the Haw River Ballroom, I loved the "thrills" sign next to the stage. I thought that suited the bicycles well. And the staff at the Ballroom was really accommodating when I asked them to turn that on and put away a whole bunch of ping pong tables covering the floor (and when I asked them to roll a huge screen off the stage (and pack away a large set of speakers and associated cables)). I'm guilty of being demanding (hopefully politely) sometimes when I have a shot I want to try. Result? Awesome bikes on an awesome stage.
I'm pretty happy with how it all turned out, and luckily, so was Jim. Here's a snippet of what he said in his email to me:
"Holy s*&#! ... I'm speechless--there are so many great shots & new creative stuff you worked in it's awesome. It's amazing to me that you could do so much in a new environment with a new subject... So, obviously, GREAT JOB I could not be happier!" - Jim Kish
So, that felt nice.
Stephen L. Garrett