A blog by photographer Ray Detwiler.
Radiant Squares Photography is based in Dallas, Texas.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I spoke to someone a few months ago who is the director of sales of a national oil and gas magazine. Upon finding out that I was a photographer he suggested that I should photograph drilling rigs and try to get into the industry as there are a lot of companies that specialize in drilling and rigging in the area that I live.
Having nothing at all in my portfolio to reflect my abilities in this new field, I set out to get an opportunity to get some pictures. At first I simply started out by discussing my idea with a few friends, and as it so happened, my room mate at the time knew someone who worked for a rigging company. He made a phone call and I had a brand new contact.
after about 3 weeks of rescheduling and waiting for weather conditions, I drove about an hour to the drilling site, where I was met by someone who worked with the contact I had made. He showed me around the place and introduced me to some of the workers. They were all very accommodating and friendly.
My goals for this shoot were as follows: 1: Get something that would look like it could be a feature for a magazine article. 2: Capture the workers in their natural element, hard at work, without disturbing anyone. 3: Have fun and get some cool photos for my website.
For the sake of keeping it short, I will skip ahead to the photos so you can see what I came out with.
As time went on the sun went down and the images got pretty interesting. I had 3 lights spread around the platform once it got completely dark. Once they were done their pipeline change, I shot a few portraits of the guys, and then packed up and headed home.
I had the great pleasure of participating in the first global help-portrait day.
This video will explain it better than I could hope to:
I arrived at nearly 10:30 and immediately started setting up. The people there had provided us with a white seamless. I borrowed my friend Mike McLean's dyna-lite kit and headed down there. There were 200 people, in 69 groups! I was at station 1 of 3 and shot about 35 of those groups, including a group photo of 30 people!!
It was a very interesting experience. Some people couldn't wait to get in there and have their photo taken. Some people just refused to smile, while some people wouldn't come near the camera. In general though, everyone there seemed very grateful for the opportunity (either to serve, or to be served).
Some of my favorite moments and the photos that go along with them:
This couple had just had a baby girl. The father would not smile at all, no matter what I did or said - as long as I had the camera to my eye. So I stopped shooting for a minute and started talking with them. After a very short while he was laughing and having fun and while he was looking at his wife and smiling, I really quickly raised the camera up and took a photo. The flash brought both of their attentions right back at the camera and really quickly I got off two more frames before the smile vanished from his face. He came up to me after we were done, while I was showing his grandmother the photo, and told me that I had "blind-sided" him. I thought that was pretty funny.
This guy came with all of his grandkids. Only problem was, he wouldn't smile, and neither would half of the kids. After trying to get one particular child to smile by threatening to have his grandfather tickle him, I got the brilliant idea to have ALL the kids tickle grandpa. So I told them to tickle him, and watched through the camera for just the right moment. Finally they all turned back around and while they were all still laughing I snapped a few frames.
This man was obviously not very comfortable in front of the camera. I got the impression he was trying to just look tough and get it over with. So I started asking him what he planned to do with the photo once he had received his print. He started saying he was going to send it to his "momma". Amazingly, as soon as he started talking about his momma, his face went from serious to happy and I got the photo above on the right.
This guy is pretty well known around the community, as well as the church ministry that works down there, who we were recruited by. His reputation was to never smile in any photos. So when I took a few photos of him, people started asking if he was smiling. I looked back through my files and sure enough he had not been. So I had him and his wife sit in for a few more, and like with the first photo, I waited patiently for some people around us to distract him enough to where he forgot I was there, and sure enough, he smiled and started to laugh. I caught this moment and showed it to his wife. She begged me to send her a copy of just him (the original photo has her in it as well) so she could have something to carry around with her.
Its moments like those that helped make the day a memorable one. Hopefully next year we can do it again!
I have a lot of catching up to do as far as blogs. I apologize I don't always make the time to write about what is going on and what I have been shooting. I am working on rectifying that.
I started somewhat of a personal project a little over a year ago. The plan was to photograph NICU survivors and get their stories.
So far I have done 3 different subjects. I'd like to show you one of my newer subjects.
Meet Collin. He was 18 months old when I shot this photograph. Unfortunately I didn't get a lot of information written down about him but you an see his feet and legs stand out as being part of the issue.
I will email his mother again and see if I can get more info.
I drove out to his house and set up a quick and easy 'studio' setup with a black background taped to the wall and a small chimera softbox as the main light.
Collin seemed to be in a rather bad mood that day and didn't stop grimacing or crying until about an hour and forty minutes into my visit.
I was still able to get some good photos though, which was good.