A Little History – Part II

Picking up where we left off…

I’d been shooting for quarterly reports and presentations, as I mentioned earlier. This was fun. I’d get a list of “targets” from the publisher and get to leave my desk to meander about the facility to find these folks and take their pictures. Anything that gets me away from the everyday ho-hum of my desk is a good thing. Anything that does that and involves a camera is a GREAT thing!

So in early spring of 2007, I was approached by the Hospital Police Chief and was asked if I could take some pictures of his staff over three shifts for use on a story board for Law Enforcement Appreciation Week. Who was I to say no?

I worked it out with my powers that be (again, thank you, Brenda!) to make some adjustments in my regular “banker’s hours” schedule to go shoot one night on second shift and another night on third shift.

This was one of the most cool day-job assignments I’d ever had! I got to go places I wouldn’t normally go; the morgue, the roof, inside the police office. The more pictures I took, the more I realized that this really needed to be something I needed to do part-time. Even the first shift shots I took were fun. I am partial to the one of Lt. Williams directing traffic one chilly spring day. I got to get on my belly in the dirt, prop on my elbows and shoot a really unique angle, and they loved it! Who am I kidding? I loved it, too. And for those of you who don’t know, cops are a unique & different breed, so that made the entire project even more intriguing!

It was about this time that Johnny told me that if I was really going to be serious about this I had better start getting some of the equipment I needed. I made a list: lighting, backdrop stands, backdrops, more lenses (I am so partial to my 50mm prime!) and I turned into a total eBay junkie during this time. If you don’t think my feedback score shot up! J

I ordered backdrops first, and thought I would try the economical route: A backdrop clamped over a shower curtain rod in my dining room doorway, some environmentally friendly fluorescent bulbs and clamp lights from Lowe’s, a tripod, and my kids and their friends as guinea pigs. Some of these portraits came out alright. I figured if the folks at WalMart could do it, so could I. (Little did I know then that the right equipment makes ALL the difference in the world.) But from this humble set up came some really neat portraits.

Finally I decided to get the stands and the lighting equipment, etc. I even went out and bought a book on lighting technique. It didn’t help much. But the backdrop stand and light stands/umbrellas looked REALLY cool, even if I was producing incredible shadows in some of the portraits I shot. Now, I like shadows, but I don’t think the average consumer does. Even that horrible discount 11×14 on my wall doesn’t have shadows…it makes our youngest boy look like his head is the size of a basketball, but it doesn’t have shadows.

Coming soon in A Little History – Part III: Home Study and Going Into Business For Real, This Time!