Last Saturday, the weather was finally nice enough to setup an outdoors shoot and after the long winter here in Michigan it was certainly a welcomed opportunity. My wife and I packed up the Dodge Ram with too much camera equipment (I like to be overly prepared and luckily I was) as usual and headed out to the Elba Equestrian Complex in Elba, MI to meet up with the outstanding model Samantha Skowronek for a somewhat spur of the moment photoshoot. I packed up my Alien-bees strobe, lithium battery pack, two stands, two flashes, Beauty dish, huge shoot through umbrella, 43 inch reflector, wireless triggers, my trusty Sony Alpha a99 and my Sony Alpha a77 as backup (as if a backup to the Sony a99 would be needed ever) plus an arsenal of lenses.
After meeting up with Samantha on the location, we "quickly" grabbed all the gear and began our long hike into the 5500 acres of Elba Trails. The light was pretty harsh at first but we managed some to capture some great images from the first location using my Sony a99, Minolta 50mm 1.7, a gold reflector and the use of some shade.
After about twenty or so minutes of shooting we packed up all the gear or so we thought and hiked about half mile to the next location. The next location had hundreds of towering birch trees that I had planned to use my giant shoot through umbrella and my Alien-bees strobe. Well --- that didn't happen-- as I forgot my power cord to the strobe in the truck, but no worries because I had my Sony HVL-43 in my camera bag along with my light meter. As luck would have it, my light meter decided to fall out of my bag somewhere along the hike:) Although, I didn't have try too hard to get the ambient light to mix the way I envisioned it with the flash because of the OLED viewfinder. Here are a few photos from that location.
We spent about thirty minutes at this location and got many great photographs. After another frantic search for my light meter and no luck locating it, Samantha decided to get ready for the third location as I packed up my quickly thinning gear collection.
The third location was an open field of sorts and the sun was starting to go down enough to where the light was getting less harsh. Still astonished at how I could lose my light meter, I began to setup for the third location. I used an octabox with my Sony HVL-43 adjusted a little over the eye level of Samantha pointed down at the gold side of my reflector which I had lying flat by her feet. This allowed for beautiful catch light in her eyes from the octabox and light from the flash to bounce off the reflector making the shadows less harsh under her chin and eyes.
All-in-all, it was a great shoot and we captured some beautiful images, even though my luck with keeping gear in my bag was not so good. I guess the moral of this blog is make sure your gear bag is completed zipped up when you're hiking through 5500 acres of woods. Also, have a backup plan in case you do lose something or something breaks because bad luck happens sometimes:) BTW, I did end up finding my light meter after scouting the first location for a few minutes.