LESSONS LEARNED // 2016 CHEVROLET CAMARO
"34 miles out."
"Almost to leahood"
"This car is rowdy."
These are the messages I received from my buddy Nick a couple of weeks ago. Of course I knew he was talking about the monster of a Camaro the Diode team picked up just a few months ago.
I was already hyped as shit. I've known about this thing for a few weeks, and knew it had undergone a fresh wrap, had some HRE's (obviously) paired with a test version of the Magnaflow hi-flo catback system and some kinda crazy science that looks like a Garmin on the dash that tells the ~4,000lb rolling hunk of American steel to go fast as hell. The reason I know this is because Nick and I hopped in that babe and teleported to Mexico where I was kicked in the face with surprise by this thing. If you look at numbers its not crazy impressive, but being engulfed in that thing listening to Daft Punk and watching the color changing LED's across the dash as we very confidently conquered corners at some significant speed rates with minimal body roll was impressive. I don't know what kind of corn they're feeding the boys over at Chevy, but it must be some good shit to be going into the bodies of the absolute genius' who led the design team of this rowdy machine.
When it came time to shoot this babe it all happened REALLY quick. Nick was at a show all day, and gave me a call somewhere around 8pm saying he was on the way to the studio. I freaked a little because I wasn't there and just did what I always do in this situation...called Travis Young, DUH. Who basically agreed to come out before he even knew where he was going.
Travis is by far my favorite person to be around a camera with. Not to mention he takes some of the best BTS images I've ever seen, which is why whenever he's around and a shoot turns into a blog post you'll see more of his images than anything. Dude's got some serious talent packed in that long haired head o'his.
OK OK ON TO THE SHOOT!
Right as I got back to the studio and climbed all 65 stairs to heaven the boys showed up (OF COURSE) Leaving almost no time to shove the cheeseburger I just bought in my mouth. So after I took about 500 more steps I made them watch me eat that beautiful sandwich before we loaded up and headed out!
I FORGOT TO MENTION THAT TRAVIS WAS SHOOTING BTS STUFF ON THIS ROLL OF TUNGSTEN BALANCED CINEFILM IN HIS DOPE LEICA. The colors from this thing are incredible and heavily influenced the color pallet and light flares of the final images in this set.
LOCATION was easy for this shoot since the studio is in the historic building part of town. I've been a little skeptic of shooting here since we moved in mainly due to the mass amount of senior portraits, weddings, engagements, and other nonsense I trip over on the walk to my front door, but I knew no matter what we did would look wildly different from anything I'd ever seen shot here before. Not because I think I'm good or anything like that, but because we had no plan. No reference images, No suggestions, No vision. Forcing me to go with the flow and just let shit happen.
JUST. LET. SHIT. HAPPEN.
There was about 10 minutes where I tried hard to try when we were looking for the "perfect location" and it got boring quick so we just turned around and headed back to my old benching spot under the 12th St. bridge, a spot that I've seen cars shot at no less than 10-15 different times (one of which won an ADDY Award last year). Oh well! I like this spot and theres train tracks, it doesn't get much better than that!
Since there was no plan we literally just pulled the car in and got right to work. I didn't want to overthink this whole thing so I just started with the first thing I saw that looked nice which happened to be the driver rear 3/4. From there I just kind of walked around and waited for the light to hit the very carefully sculpted body lines of the Camaro. Lucky for me there wasn't much time inbetween shutter clicks, it just kinda happened. There was no specific technique used in this set. Everything from lighting to composition to retouching was influenced by something encountered on the day of, which ended up working out awesome.
GEAR USED | ESSENTIALS.
CAPTURE ONE PRO
1x CANON 5DMKIII
1x SIGMA 50mm ART
1x CALUMET Tripod
1x PAUL C. BUFF EINSTEIN
1x PAUL C. BUFF VAGABOND MINI
I recently went back and looked at a bunch of my favorite work, and I realized that every image I picked as a favorite had a common trait: it was dark. I don't really have an explanation as to why I favor dark and moody, but it's been my favorite aesthetic for the last few years (4 to be exact) and it just really does it for me. (I'm lying I have a very in depth and detailed explanation, I just won't bore you with it right now, maybe another time....but probably not)
I've also been REALLY into dynamic motion in stills for the last few years, and am still trying to figure out how to do that properly. We got pretty lucky with a couple of nice dynamic elements during this set, including a couple of cars, trains, and something like 10-15 random bike riders. The spirit of Bob Ross must have been creeping around with that many happy accidents on deck.
ANYWAYS- While you're looking these over see if you can spot the influences and pull things together, I worked pretty hard on these and had an absolute blast seeing them come into their final form. The whole set was one giant question mark and I just kinda did whatever popped in my head without paying much attention to wether it really belonged there or not. I just kept becoming pleasantly surprised and running with it until I ran out of ideas. Having the ability to do things like this on a Friday night until 2AM is why I ABSOLUTELY LOVE my job, and truly believe that I have the best f****** job in the world.
The process of working as a creative content producer/retoucher to me feels something like that feeling when you find a new song that you just absolutely love, and keep loving. And when it's over you play it again, and again, and again. I hope this makes sense to some of you, even if you have nothing to do with the creative industry...I genuinely hope that you've found that one thing that makes you as f****** hyped as taking pictures makes me.
IF YOU'RE NOT IN A POSITION WHERE YOU GET TO SMILE LIKE AN IDIOT EVERYDAY, MAKE A F****** CHANGE.
I wasn't planning on dropping any deep bombs in this post. But since these images are some of my favorites to date it only makes sense to bring a little attention to the reoccurring element thats been essential in the creation of all of my best work to date. It seems that every time there's a really shitty event or series of events it puts me into a funk that leads to some dope photographs. And since 2017 has been one of the most annoying years to date filled with being robbed, moving out of my childhood home, being robbed again, frozen bank accounts, and the worst breakup of my life I can only assume that there's loads more dope content on the way!
(spoiler alert: there is, a bunch of it.)
CHEERZ TO ALL KINDS OF GREAT SHIT, AND MY MOM BECAUSE SHE'S EXTRA GREAT.