I’ve got another shoot at in half an hour, we’d arranged to meet twenty minutes ago, but there is no sign of Wild Hunt. I’m just packing up to head on to the next assignment when my phone rings, they’re on the Royal Mile and headed over. Graham and I re-rig all the lights and set them up facing the glowsticks we are going to use to position the group on the featureless grassy field. Three lights, snooted & flagged to prevent excessive spill onto the grass. The camera, unusually for me, is on a tripod. The tripod’s head is inverted so that the camera hangs inches above the ground and the 70-200mm lens is clamped into place. This lets me hold a 10 second exposure, f8, ISO 800 to fill in the night sky. Streetlights are reflecting off the cloud give a spooky orange sky, we were’nt that lucky with the clouds, on a good night they provide a wonderful dappled orange fractal background. I missed a trick here, if I’d blue gelled the strobes and then balanced it out, the sky would’ve been a deeper more fun shade of orange. I’m still nailing down focus and testing the lights when the hunters roll up to strap on stilts and pull out swords. We do some static shots with them arranged in a vee, stacked as tight as I can get them. They move a little, creating dark shadows around themselves. If I’d had my creative hat on, I’d have zoomed in after the flash to create a black outline around the performers (next time!).
I know I’ve got the safe shot. I could go now and get to the second assignment, but I’m meeting the next group nearby and I’ve surely got time to make another photo? Plumping for extra credit, I ask the hunters to run through the area defined by the glowsticks. Graham takes charge of the flashes, primed to trigger them when the hunters are in the flash sweet spot and sufficiently spread. This leaves me free to open the shutter and work with the group. After the first run-thru, I show them the image on the camera’s LCD. In seconds the whole group is on hands and knees behind the camera (except the two ladies on stilts), shouting and laughing and totally up for another go. We do three and I notice that one girl hangs back, there is some negotiation and the whole group runs through at her pace, making sure they are all in the picture. Pop! They come through and bee-line for the camera, leaving their shadows on the night sky. Sweet. I’m happy, they’re enthused and want to see it big ASAP.
The next assignment call, its a misunderstanding somewhere, we are’nt shooting until next week. In fact the shoot never happens. That would’ve been a blow, except I took a fun photo already.