The Shoot Thor Almost Zapped

The Shoot Thor Almost Zapped

It’s the end of May, the weather forecast is looking amazing on this particular day. It’s rolling the dice to schedule advanced outdoor photo shoots here in the PNW. And by “advanced” I mean 2-3 days out. Yes, that’s still considered risky for outdoor shoots here in the Spring.

This day, the odds were in our favor, the weather report indicating only 10% chance of rain for the evening’s shoot (aka, it’s not going to rain and the forecasters will put that 10% chance in there just for a safety disclaimer, and it’s a good thing they did). An hour prior to the shoot, as I was prepping the gear for the shoot, the skies were blue, birds chirping, and all things were panning out just as predicted. Fifteen minutes later I hear a boom. “What was that?” My assumptions led to a sonic boom, considering we live on the fringes of an Air Force base. I went to the window, eyes to the sky, hoping to maybe sneak a peak of the jet, but found something entirely different. Yep, a thunderstorm. I truly felt like I was dreaming as just 15 minutes prior there wasn’t a cloud to account for in the sky and the weather report conceded the same, yet it was dark outside, like almost dusk dark but it was only 5pm. It was pouring and lightning poppin’ faster than my flashes on a shoot. “What the hell, weather guy?! Didn’t see that large, angry, dark lightning mass the size of half the State on the radar?” I loaded the car and on my way to meet the rest of the production crew my phone rings, it’s the crew going, “um, so… there’s a huge ass thunderstorm outside right now.” Hair and makeup on the model was almost done, and I said we’ll wait it out to see what happens. The storm left almost as quickly as it came, and an hour later you would have never known it ever happened. Luckily, the dice did still eventually stop rolling, they just… rolled, tilted on almost the wrong numbers, and then finally landed on the right digits. The production marched on and we headed out for our location shoot.

Fifteen minutes later I hear a boom. “What was that?”

Our location lay 10 minutes from downtown Tacoma, out in the industrial area. The highway out there that services the commuters between Tacoma and Federal Way has a rather large median in places, some times spanning 100 feet or more. This mound of earth is home to a rather large collection of scotch bloom shrubs. For those who don’t know, they are large, weed-like plants, but they are particularly cool for a month or so when they reach full bloom, casting a vibrant yellow on the landscape where densely populated. I had been itching to conduct a photo shoot in a field of them for some time, so when London Couture needed a concept for a Memorial Day themed shoot I offered it up. They liked the idea, a bit of color to compliment all of the white clothing, combined with the additional tones provided from a sunset. A sunset that we almost didn’t get…

This is one of the many reason why I enjoy the blog. From looking at these photos, you’d never know that just an hour earlier it looked like the skies portrayed in ‘The Matrix.’ I get to tell the back stories, describe the challenges, the things that worked or didn’t work, and all the other quirks that take place. All the things that are never told via the visual photography get to be revealed here. Almost comical the things these photos don’t reveal – the recently passed storm, cars presently whizzing by on each side of us at 60 mph.

Golden hour only lasts… well, an hour. The real sweet spot is that last 20 minutes before the sun tucks behind the horizon. Because of this short window of time, we only get to shoot one “look,” as they call it in the fashion world, with that last 20 minute chunk, where the colors in the sky catch fire. So the first look is more of your fun-in-the-sun type of look, with the second look being more dramatic and shadowy with less sun flare and more color (is that a word? Shadowy? Spellcheck didn’t bitch at me so I guess we’re good).

We also brought along a few white accessories, so I made sure to highlight those in a couple shots.

Before you know it the good light was gone and we were not sorry it was, as the mosquitos were horrible out there in the brush. Note to self – get giant can of bug spray and toss in utility gear bag. More to come on the blog…