Monday, 30 August 2010

Schoolboy error

See that white bit, that's cloud that is.
You'd think I'd know by now I realise. But that is clearly not the case. Even after shooting a season of World Cup mountain bike races where it rained at every round bar two, (Yorkshire and Scotland. I know, who'd have thunk?) I can still turn out unprepared. Take last Wednesday for example. On a catalogue shoot for a major high street bicycle retailer I decided rain gear was not appropriate. Actually, that is not 100% true. The truth is the weather had been warm and dry, with fantastically lit August evenings of the kind that make the English (whoops, UK) countryside so lovely. I was lulled into a false sense of security. The Gore stayed in the house. I had a thin Howies waterproof and a beanie hat in the car. Didn't even take 'work' shoes. The shoot was in two parts - cyclocross and then a night time mtb session to show the various lights on offer.
Like most photographers , I had already built an image in my mind that I wanted to capture. Flashes were staying in the bag. Natural light would rule. But, like a lot of days, that notion was cut into quarters and sent to the four corners of the photo kingdom, as we arrived at the location to find it in a cloud. Thick mist shrouded the area. A regular pea souper guvnor, make no mistake. In the trees the mist was not as dense. I managed to capture some images shooting wide open (2.8) at ISO3200 (it was pretty dark, get the picture?) Anyone who has shot in these kind of conditions knows that the human eye makes it look way better than it really is. Flash has to be close to have any effect. It's very like running high beams in fog: doesn't work. Wall of white. Not great. So that was hurdle one to overcome. One of the images is above. Natural light. Mood. I like it.
Yooohooo. I'm in here. Somewhere.

Then came The Big One. Night time shooting. It was always going to be strobe lit but by the time the light had dropped enough to use the bike lights (about 5pm. Did I say it was dark?) the rain had come on with a vengence. Plastic food bags over the strobes and Pocket Wizard Multis did their job but before long I could feel the trickle of cool rain run down my pants. UK pants not US pants. I got the necessary shots. We were all pleased with them. But I haven't had wet and minging jeans like that since I was a teenager. I took the pic above to show the river of running water coming down the trail, but even that doesn't do it justice.  I walked into the bar for some some post shoot food like John Wayne walking into a showdown. Lesson learnt. Probably not.

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