It’s Precon Day!

Every year there is a day set aside for on hand training in different fields by some of the instructors. The goal of Precon Day is to put the participants in real life scenarios and give them advice on how to overcome the challenges and walk away with great shots. Well every year that I have come to Photoshop World I have gone to a different Precon. Mainly I go to my Dad’s which is the photo safari and the theme of each year changes so I never truly know what will happen or where we will go. But it’s always fun! These are some examples from previous years, the Hoover Dam tour, Bonnie Springs, and Car Racing. Each one different, each one had it’s own challenges. Stay tuned this week for what todays adventure will bring.




What’s Going to Happen at This Precon?

I’ve been to a few Precons by now and I have to say each one is different. I’m actually hired on to go to my Dad’s Photo Safari to help out as an assistant. Each Precon is meant to teach a different set of skills with different scenarios. Over the past few years I have been to many, each one varying from different aircraft, to an old mining town and even a Civil War reenactment on an actual plantation. They were all fun and all taught me something. I can’t wait to see what happens today!

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 24-70 AF-S f2.8, Lexar UDMA Digital Film

The Bonnie Springs Models

I never have been real big with working with models as subjects but ever since I started in Aviation the need arose to get better. It’s a common thread in photography to evolve or parish, thus is the same with life. At Bonnie Springs we had four great models, two cowboys and two saloon girls. The Marshall had his town well under control.

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Melissa was one of our best models at the shoot. In my mind the saloon girls both had a unique side to them as far as where their background came from. Melissa seemed more like the east coast girl that just came out west, while Charmane (below) had already been out west for some time and had a harder life. With Melissa’s fair tone soft light was key. Here it was a diffuser on top to block out the hot spots from the sun and a gold trigrip below bouncing light back in.

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Charmane was a lot simpler to light. She was on a covered porch that acted as our diffuser. With no hard light behind her the background faded away. The only light source that was desired was a simple gold reflector trigrip bouncing more light into here face and hair. The big trick with each of these two was feathering the light on them instead of full beam from the trigrip. It takes a little practice and is far easier with two people then just one.

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The Marshall was the exact opposite of the saloon girls. Edgy, gritty and rough was exactly the looked needed to make the marshal seem like he has seen it all. Getting the desired affect here was real easy, a gold reflector on this backlit subject made him pop out and the background stay dark. All really simple tricks that can yield to some nice results. It’s fun to play with these things.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 70-200 VRII, Trigrip Diffuser, Trigrip Reflector on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Bonnie Springs Black and White

I’m back home in Mammoth for a couple days between trips and what better time to get some processing done, images posted and cameras cleaned for the next shooting fun. This past Tuesday I was at the Photo Safari Precon and after a little bit of confusion we headed out to Bonnie Springs. Bonnie Springs was a station back in the Gold Rush days but slowly fell apart. After the land was bought out and several years of bringing pieces back together, the station was back up and running becoming a well known tourist stop 25 minutes outside of Las Vegas.

I have spent a lot of time at ghost towns and everyone of them has something unique about it. This town had a great main street which lead up to an old bar where we were fortunate to have four models. With all the great old buildings and models we had plenty to photograph. It always starts with the buildings for me, looking at the topography of the land, the setup of the town and finding the ones that look old nothing modern. As I was strolling around main street with my good buddy Vanelli by my side we found some really cool buildings, alongside of helping other participants see them also.

The first too were the ones that stuck out the most. Miner’s Restaurant was the most obvious one on the street in my mind. The letters were bright white against a wall with great afternoon light. IT basically screamed black and white. The other one is the entrance of another bar but this one we weren’t allowed into. I walked back and forth along the front of this one because i couldn’t figure out the best way to photograph it. With models, without models, black and white, color it was all going through my head. I finally landed on a sideways shot to the door from ground level and of course naturally black and white. It was a lot of thinking but sometimes that’s what it takes to get the right shot. Patience.

Towards the end of the afternoon Moose and Joe were doing a lighting demo inside the bar in the back. Well inside the bar was this great interior that was mostly original, including chandeliers. The chandeliers were made of this awesome red glass that were only lit by the window light coming in. It all made for some fun black and whites.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 70-200 VRII, AF-S 24-70 F/2.8, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

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