Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Gods Must Be Crazy!

The gods, the photo gods, must be crazy mad at me... for something. I have no clue what that something might be but, whatever it is, they're making me crazy with their craziness aimed at me!

For weeks now, I've been trying to get a specific shoot done. But the gods seem to have other plans for my shoot. They have been consistently messing with me, sabotaging my shoot either with flaky models, people's schedules, or rain.

A bit of background: About a month or so ago, the good folks at Innovatronix, Inc.  offered to let me take their latest portable power device, the Tronix Explorer 500Li, for a test spin. "Absolutely! I'd love to!" I told them. "Could you have someone video tape the shoot while your'e using our product?" They asked. I told them of course I could. Some BTS footage? No problemo.  (BTS = Behind the Scenes in case you weren't aware.)

Always good to their word -- I've had a terrific working relationship with Innovatronix for a number of years now -- they quickly shipped me the product. Unpacking it, I immediately saw some big changes they've made from their other portable power devices, most of which I'm fairly well acquainted with.  First off, it's smaller, sleeker, and lighter than many of their other power products. Plus, it came with two -- not one but two! -- easily and quickly interchangeable Li-ion batteries. I have to admit, while unpacking it I became instantly impressed with their new design right down to the bright green trim on the unit. Right out of the box, this baby looks and feels like a robust and reliable professional piece of gear.

After charging both batteries, I decided to fire a few test "pops" with one of my monoblocs. I decided to use my (kind of older) Photogenic 600ws studio strobe. Why? Because it's the most powerful of all the monolights in my kit, and I have about a half-dozen monolights in my kit. This particular Photogenic is a beast! It's heavy and ugly but puts out a lot of light.  To remind myself how long it takes the Photogenic 600 to recycle at full power, I first plugged it into an AC outlet and fired away with  it. It recycles quite quickly, just as I recalled -- haven't used it in a while -- even at full power. (Course, I wouldn't expect anything less from Photogenic's terrific line of monoblocs.)  Next, I plugged the strobe into the Explorer 500Li and started firing the strobe with the Tronix portable power unit. Guess what? The strobe seemed to recycle just as quickly as it did when it was plugged into the AC. Yeah. That's what I'm talking about. I hate waiting for strobes to recycle!

Now don't get me wrong. I didn't do a scientific test with a stopwatch or anything. I'm not that anal retentive. But, for all intents and purposes, any difference in recycling times between using AC and using the Tronix 500Li were negligible at best and not noticeable to me at all. Sure. I'm kinda old.  But I'm not in La-La-Land old. Seconds still seem like seconds to me and I can still judge time, even short spans of time, as well as ever.

Okay. So I start planning for the shoot. I knew I was going to need to call in some favors (and end up owing a few back) to get this "in the can" as they used to say in Hollywood when they were still mostly shooting film. That's partly because I decided on a shooting location that's way out in the desert at the rather desolate ruins of some old, stone house, structure. I've shot there before, although not for pretty girl pics. It's about two hours from where I live. One of the favors was going to be from a video shooter I know. He works often enough during the week that this "do me a favor" shoot would have to be on a Saturday or a Sunday. I also wanted a hot model (obviously) and I was being kind of picky about that. (Plus, I didn't want to deal with an agent if I could avoid doing so.) So, getting a hot model to trek out to the desert with us for a whole day of fun and merriment with yours truly, partially as a favor -- I'm providing some pay -- also meant a weekend shoot.  (Probably not with a call-time too early in the day because, you know, models like to party on weekends, but that's another issue.) My personal schedule mattered less because I'm not working as often these days, me being a semi-retired geezer and all, and it's my shoot after all.

Let me me make this the gods must be crazy story shorter: First weekend, the model flakes the night before and it was too late to replace her for a next-day shoot. Okay. I can deal with that. Not like it hasn't happened before. So, during the week I scheduled another model for the following weekend. The next weekend comes around and it was like deja vu or Groundhog Day or something. Another night-before, flaking, model.  Being determined, I schedule again for the following weekend with yet another model. The next weekend arrives and it rains the whole time! Rain! Here! In Southern California during a drought! In the desert no less! Alrighty then. Like I said, I'm determined. I again schedule everyone for this past Sunday and... yep,. You guessed it. It rained again!  Damn you Godzilla El Niño! I know we really, really need the rain (what with the drought and all) but can you please cut me some slack?  Just for a Saturday or Sunday???

So here I am, trying to put the shoot together again for next weekend and hoping that the gods or
Godzilla El Niño or whomever or whatever will forgive me for whatever transgression I committed,  whatever it might have been. So please, dear readers, wish me luck! I need to get this done!

1 comment:

Ashley said...

I've had projects like this Jimmy where you just want to go out and shoot something interesting for the portfolio but it seems like the entire universe has conspired to make sure it never happens or at best doesn't work out like you hoped. It's frustrating for sure.

These days if something like that happens I tend to put it on ice and keep busy in other ways. In these cases I often find I no longer want to shoot the same thing after a month or two, so I move on. Nearly all shoots have their difficulties when other people are involved but if it's not something being done for a paying client there is only a limited amount stress I can justify before moving on to better things.