14 Feb Love And Photography Persevere
I’m happy to share a story of love, on this day, Valentine’s Day. This tale of love is, in its own right, a story of perseverance, but we didn’t realize this shoot was going to be a trying adventure as well. Stephanie and Ryan, a couple who adore each other, that much is clear in the photos (truly, they didn’t need any encouragement from my end). Only months after finding each other, Ryan was deployed overseas with the Army for 8 months. A strenuous ordeal for even married couples with years under their belts, something you’d find hard for a dating couple to endure. Not only was the 8-month period endured by this couple, it was conquered. By all appearances on their Facebook traffic, their relationship grew stronger, and they celebrated their one-year anniversary during his deployment.
It was September, a few months since his return and I got them in front of my camera. It was just at the tail end of a major construction project in downtown Tacoma, and there was a spare lot where the city would store large pieces of staging equipment. One of these pieces I used for a test shoot with Alice (click here for that), and I wanted to utilize it one more time, but for a couples shoot before I lost my window of opportunity. The equipment had this rough, industrial look (obviously, being construction equipment), and with both Ryan and Stephanie being huge fitness “buffs” (hehe, get it?), I thought it would be complimentary to stage them in and around it. The structures were situated where arms could grasp on overhead, showcasing muscles and the whole bit. It was a solid plan, that is until the storm showed up…
Did I mention I have the worse luck ever? I’ve had to have mentioned that at least a couple times in the 400 articles on this blog. Any who… September graced us with a couple large lightning storms, and this was one of them. We had everything planned out, the outfits that would compliment the environment and style, I was excited. On-location, I literally extended the first light stand and thunder roars over my head and rain came down in a buckets, instantly. Like a movie, no, better timed than a movie, all I could was laugh. For one, I wasn’t about to deploy my gear to get destroyed by rain and electricity. Second, I wasn’t going to ask this loving couple to pose in what was literally a big metal box to get fried. Well, crap.
My mind racing to find something that would work for a backup location which would have somewhat the same vibe. A couple minutes in the car and I remembered a really cool (and covered) car park structure. It too had pockets of bar and beams that would be used to “hang” our muscle-bound subjects on. Awesome, this was going to work out after all. Or was it…
Yes, another paragraph for yet another speed bump in the road. At location numero dos, 15 minutes spent scouting and setting up a handful of lights to create the visuals I needed, yet not even past my test shots, a security guard quickly approaches. Oh, and to the photogs reading this, if you get the line, “who is in charge here?” from a member of security, that means they are shutting you down, and they are just looking for the person to deliver the bad news to. I love my lighting, I use it all the time, but the downside is that anyone in the surrounding quarter-mile area will know I’m there, creating a lightning storm of my own. Even the security guy said, “I wouldn’t have known you were in here if it weren’t for the flashing.” Gee, thanks for rubbing it in… My eyebrows strainingly-raised in epic sympathetic form and in my most kindest voice, I asked for 60 seconds, informing him I just spent the last 15 minutes setting it up. The sweetness of the guard was revealed, “one minute,” with a smirk. I honored the time and literally banged off what I could in a singular minute. I got the following photos.
Ok, got my, like, 5 shots in. Good not great. But you see that over-the-top, cliche brick building across the way? It had a fairly large overhang and my last hope. I questioned the guard, “how about that, is that off limits?” “Nope, all yours, go crazy,” he happily shot back. It wasn’t ideal, brick is something I consciously avoid like the plague, unless for some reason a shoot really, really called for it (usually avoiding brickwork for, well… yeah, you get it). I had yanked this couple all around town and we have just a handful of frames to show for it. I was going to make this shoot happen. With the rain coming down in sheets and the thunder rumbling, we took the dry, covered brick wall with a smile.
We ditched the shirts to showcase those fit bods, even though we didn’t get the chance for fun props to hang them on, and made some photos. Oh, and I just want to point out that it’s always the most fit people that verbally complain about their bodies. A phenomena that I’ve encountered many-a-shoots. Ryan, our herculean subject here, was bitchin’ about some part of his body he wasn’t in-love with. Seriously, Ryan, yer good bud. Stephanie was quick to shoot his complaints down faster than I was. It was funny.
The rain, the lightning, and not even security could shut down this love nor this photo shoot. The shoot went in a completely unintended direction, but that is location photography (and love), and we make the most of it. These two sure do as well. It was a pleasure capturing these Ryan and Stephanie and watching them interact. Two really great people, who no doubt have a fun and loving future. The storm past as we were wrapping the shoot and I had them hop out into now the lightning-free openness and snapped a couple quick ones in the street.