North by northeast and west
I wish I had more time and resources to travel. To explore the unfamiliar is a tenet of human existence. Through exploration, an individual transcends from a previous level of thought, knowledge, and experience to a higher one and breaks further free of ignorance. Of course, that is much easier said than done, given the realities of life and our daily responsibilities. That is why I jump on any feasible opportunity to go on a road trip, anywhere.
My faithful lenses and myself have been fortunate enough to travel cross state in the past two weekends; first to west Michigan and then to north Wisconsin. The “beerventure” to Holland, Michigan (as I had mentioned in my previous post, “The road to Kenowhere,” which incidentally was about a trip to Wisconsin the month before) was much more of a buddies’ adventure than photographic excursion. Although the day was filled with more raunchy humour and tears of uncontrollable laughter, I still somehow managed to intermix some random street images of the small town of Holland with moments of my fencing buddies as we lunched, drank, and sought out ice cream, which we failed woefully as we ended up getting frozen yoghurt instead. All in all, with the exception of having to drive past Gary, Indiana, it was a great day out and about with wonderful friends.
A week later, just this Friday past, I found myself on the road again, this time northward and west. My second trip to Wisconsin was more business and mission oriented if anything—a “reconnaissance” and consultation of a location for a commissioned shoot sometime in July. Despite the fact that I was traveling to assess the shooting venue, I could not help but to enjoy nature a bit and do some macro and landscape shooting.
Although a hallmark of a professional photographer is the ability to walk into any situation cold and quickly assess the environment for shooting, it is always best to have as much information as possible beforehand. This non-exhaustive list includes: lighting—and for an outdoor event, lighting that changes with time; scenery—background, foreground, and objects around the venue that can either pose as an interesting element or an obstacle; compositional ideas—goes along with scenery, but also what artistic theme to follow for the most appealing images; logistics—how big the venue is, how many will be in attendance, how many assistants I will need. All of this data becomes vital to know beforehand in preparation to ensure that on THE day of shooting, I have a well developed plan on how to shoot and how to deal with any possible contingencies–foreseeable or not. This is all necessary so that I will need not waste valuable time dealign with exposure or compositional issues, that I can create the absolutely best images with ease, and that these images will be of my design.
I will write more about this job and what it is exactly closer to day of the shoot. Until then, however, I would like to respect my clients’ privacy a bit, and I do enjoy maintaining an air of mystery with my future projects.
All marked images © K. Dao Photography 2014, all rights reserved.