Portraits – Prospect At a Glance

Deciding to go play with my new Alien Bees strobes, I stopped by Prospect for a portrait session.  When I walk in with a few bags no one seems to take notice. The minute I get out a 5 foot soft-box that stands 9 feet in the air, everyone is interested in what’s going on.  Comments such as, “Whoa, shootin’ a commercial or something,” or “You ain’t gonna photograph me with that thing,” or just plain old, “Damn,” spill out of the guys’ mouths.  I tell them it just looks fancy, but I don’t really know what I am doing – I only brought them to make me look more professional 😉

I had a location all dialed in.  I spotted a cluster of work bins with a clear area. It was gritty and raw.  Chains hung over the metal, scrap lay about the floor, and exposed concrete dotted the background.   I returned to my gear, and heaving my bag on my shoulder, I started to walk to my spot, mulling over ideas in my head.  But in that time, a crew had moved into place, and started working in the very spot I had wanted to photograph.  Quickly realizing these guys are not going to move for a photo session, there’s only one thing to do: Deal with it and move on.

Standing tall at 6 feet 8 inches, Kevin sees it all and doesn't take lip from anyone.

Back near the entrance, the only other spot that seemed worthwhile stood by the front door.  The background was high quality plywood that had a nice grain, and I thought it would handle the lights relatively well.  Not a lot of glass for flare or reflection, and it would give a nice warm quality to contrast most of the other images I have, which are quite hard and gritty.

Firing off a few test shots, I was up and running pretty quickly.  First on the chopping block was Kevin.  He’s the head guy on the floor.  I will venture to say his official title is superintendent, but I could be wrong.  Chatting with him during the shoot, I learned that he surfs, and we instantly had a little talk about breaks, boards, and good sessions of days gone by.

He’s got a son who’s beginning his first year at Cal Poly SLO, my alma mater (ipso facto e pluribus unum…)  Heading in as an architecture major, he’s got his work cut out for him, but it sounds like he’s ahead of the curve.  Having CAD on his computer at home, he plays with it and will be ahead of most of the incoming students, and possibly some of the outgoing as well.  Jeez…I feel dumb.

Tommy Knows Construction.

Next up was Tommy.  He has been a fixture at Prospect with his sense of humor and hard work.  Something of a camera buff himself, I got a few questions on light, aperture, and other technical issues.  He proved an excellent subject, and was willing to try a few ideas.  Thanks Tommy!

Michael, aka Mark Twain, chewed on his stogies while laying down the eco-mat. All around nice guy.

As I walked through the building, I looked over and knew this guy was my next victim.  The Mark Twain of Eco-Mat, Michael had the mustache and cigar to complete the package.  I asked him quickly if I could take a few images of him, and then he could get back to it.  No more than 2 minutes.  I think I took a total of 7 shots and that was it.  Got a great look from him.

Taping drywall isn't easy at all - even though Marin makes it look silky smooth.

Marin is helping with the drywall, and although he was a bit hesitant at first, a few jokes from me and his cohorts allowed him to open up a bit.  Lucky guy is getting married soon, and I am sure the food and festivities will be amazing, as it’s going to be a double wedding with his cousin!  Never heard of that before, but hey, two parties into one?  Sounds amazing.

I know it's been a rough day, but don't do it man!

And finally Ravi.  What can I say that hasn’t been said.  Chef extraordinaire, business partner, construction foreman… the list goes on and on.  That being said, when he picked up the hammer, I wasn’t sure if he was wielding it as a tool or weapon?!  If a weapon, I think he was looking for some self-inflicted pain.

Food Rock Star - he'll never tell you that - but taste his food and you'll understand.

More to come!

See you down the road.

-Todd

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