I was shooting for five weeks in Hawaii for United Airlines and the Hawaii Department of Tourism. Along with some of the top hotels, they had formed a coop in which they all shared in the expenses.
I had sent my producer over a week ahead of time to scout locations for me to look at once I got there and to ultimately shoot. I had told her that I wanted to include some typical well-known tourists attractions, because they would look different when I shot them….why you ask?
For the simple reason that the tourists would get there sometime after breakfast and before lunch, or after lunch and before dinner. Either way, they would be there in the worst possible light, while I would be there before the sun came up and right before it set.
In these types of locations, it’s all about the light, and very few of my fellow photographers ever thinks about that. In my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I’m always stressing that the light is critical if you’re trying to take your photography what I refer to as “up a level”.
Knowing where the light is going to be, how long it will be there, and when it will leave is fundamental in coming home with that illusive OMG photo. The only time light can be second in the thought process is when you’re street shooting and “the moment” will and can trump beautiful light…especially if you’re shooting B/W.
One of the tourist attractions my producer found was on the Island of Kaua’i. It was the Kilauea Lighthouse, and it was one of the more popular attractions on the Island. At a popular lookout point I checked the light with my Sunpath readings coupled with my Morin2000 Hand Bearing Compass. After determining that it was a sunset shoot, I set out to add something to what would otherwise be a fairly predictable photo; even at sunset…another “layer of interest “.
There was a big enough budget that I could do pretty much what I wanted in terms of props. In this case the prop was a forty-five foot sailboat I chartered to have it tack back and forth close to the cliff. Since I knew where the sun was going to set, it was easy to backlight the huge sail.
We arrived at the lookout well in advance to make sure we secured the best spot, free from other tourists that might get in the way; not an option considering what the sailboat cost.
Right on time the sailboat came around the cliff and as it did, all the tourist that were also there started hooting and hollering while clapping at their good fortune. While the rest of the ‘weekend photographers’ shot with their small cameras with even smaller lens, I had my 600mm F/4 Nikor lens on.
The crown couldn’t believe it when the sailboat started going back and forth with the lighthouse overlooking it; they hooted, hollered, and clapped some more. Finally one of them came over to me to see what I was doing since I had a headset on with a voice-activated mike.
What I was doing was talking via a powerful walki-talki to one of my assistants that was on the sailboat with another walki-talkis. I was the one that was instructing the sailboat to tack back and forth. When the word got around to all the others, they began to hoot and holler louder than they had been…and applauded my entire crew.
Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2105 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me sometime. July 26th will be my 27th year at the Maine MediaWorkshop…the granddaddy of them all. I’ve always picked this week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers a completely different set of photo ops: color, motion, people, energy, light, and design. A great way to break up photos of the beautiful coastline, fishing villages and lighthouses that Maine is known for.
Keep those photos and question coming into: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.