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Life Before Photoshop: Shell Rotella Oil Calendar

Look ma, no Photoshop!

Look ma, no Photoshop!

I miss the good old days when you had to actually think before you pressed the shutter; you had just one click to do it right.

By today’s standards, it was very difficult to do it all in the camera, but since we didn’t know any better it seem the natural thing to do; it was the only thing to do!

I often think back to some of my photos and think what they would have looked like if Lightroom was around and Adobe was not just a type of house in New Mexico. Maybe I would have been dangerous, but i like the way it turned out.

Having said all this, I certainly don’t sit around every day pining for days gone by. I like to rely on Photoshop when something I want to do can’t be done at that moment…the decisive moment when I press down on the shutter and record what is.

What I don’t do and what I tell my online students with the BPSOP and my fellow photographers that sign up for my “Stretching your Frame of Mind” not to do is tell yourself that you’ll just fix it later. Instead of moving to the right to create a better balance between the negative and positive space, or to get that telephone out of someone’s head, or to fix the ridiculously overexposed  subject the meter told you was just fine by bracketing, people will sit in front of the computer and deal with it then.

I was shooting a calendar for Shell Oil, and every year owners drive their huge eighteen-wheelers to a designated city in hopes to be featured on one of the month’s pages.

In the past they simply rented a huge warehouse that had a large overhead doors at each end, put up white seamless paper and each rig drove through, stopped, had it’s picture taken and drove out; I wasn’t interested in doing that.

I presented an idea to the art director. The idea was to take portraits of all the owners and try to make it work with a particular month. I sent my producer ahead of time to find me interesting locations I might use as a backdrop. We arrived in Nashville a couple of days early to look at the locations and decide on the twelve trucks we wanted to use. I walked among a hundred rigs looking to pick out the ones that were simply the coolest!

Since I love purple and Manny and his son (who was spending the summer driving around with dad) were great guys I picked their rig to be on the July’s page. We found this great location and went for the 4th of July theme.

What you see was taken on one 35mm Kodachrome transparency, and just one click of the camera.

Visit my workshop at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

Don’t forget to send me photos and questions to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.


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