On thinking quick and having fun
I recently shot Reno, NV-based band Courtesy Call in downtown Reno. A last minute location change meant all of my ideas were out the window and I was starting with a blank slate. But this isn’t the time to mope, just gotta be like Yoda… “Do or do not, there is no try.” We scouted a few rooftop locations until we found a nice spot with some good light bouncing around off the large glass casinos in the downtown area, and used that for headshots, which we pretty standard fare, sans one shot in the style of “The Best of Blondie” album cover. In and out in under an hour, and on to the meat and potatoes of the shoot, the band shots.
For this first shot I mounted the camera on the dashboard via ballhead and superclamp, and superclamped a flash to the cupholder in front. I stuffed another flash in a shoe on the floor near the second row of seats (plus I gained ten professionalism points for my high budget shoe-mount light stand) to bounce off the ceiling and fill up the car with light. I hid behind the last row of seats with a PocketWizard in hand and remotely fired the camera. f/13 gave me a nice slow shutter speed to blur the lights out the windows and add some motion to the car, while the flashes froze the action inside.
I told everyone to pretend they were in an airband, turned up the music to 11, and we went for a drive. I’m honestly quite surprised that we didn’t get pulled over while driving down Virgina Street with strobes popping like mad (it looked like a disco in that car) and music blasting. The cops would have had fun with this one.
And as for the ‘RENO’ sign in the back window? A complete happy accident, but I think it’s a nice touch.
Here are a few other shots from the night. My only real instruction from the band was being told that “we will not stand in front of a brick wall/fence/railroad track and cross our arms.” No cliché band shots in sight, I’m happy to report. This shot was pretty standard. 15mm fisheye, ISO 1600, 1/13th of a second to get some motion blur. Contrast boost, vignette, some dodging and burning, and voila. We had a ton of fun all night, and I think it shows in the photos.