Sometimes it doesn’t work out…

I’m in Bend, Oregon for a shoot with my friend pro mountain biker Kirt Voreis. Or I should say I was in Bend, I’m in the process of leaving and heading home. But what’s different about this trip and this shoot is I didn’t get any usable photos, not even one. Sometimes that happens though, and while I didn’t get any usable photos, I did learn a lot. I was here to shoot a rather complicated night shot for my portfolio, and pretty much everything that could have gone wrong, did.

What I’ve learned from this trip is nothing new, it’s just a bunch of little things that are very important as a professional photographer.

  1. always check your gear thoroughly before a shoot.
  2. when you buy something new, check it before you take it on a shoot.
  3. always check the details like the weather report. (And the moon or the tides or anything else that is important to your shoot)
  4. If it’s something you can’t do without have a backup.
  5. Know what you can and can’t do without.

On this trip I left in a hurry. I forgot my laptop. I realized that while I had been counting on it to do critical exposure and composition checks I didn’t need it. I used to shoot film, I don’t really even need to look at the back of my camera. I know what things are going to look like when I look through my lens, and I have a light meter still to measure the details. So no big deal.

On this trip I had two custom flashes built. I tested both of them, but not thoroughly enough. One of them wouldn’t fire from a pocket wizard. No problem if I just shorted out the terminals on the pc, but no matter what I tried I couldn’t get it to work. No worries, I had a spare. I bought a brand new trigger cable for the spare on my way through Seattle. It ended up not working. Not just with the flash that I needed it to work with, but not with any of my flashes. It didn’t work right out of the package, brand new.

I needed the sky to be dark on this trip, but I didn’t check the moon fully enough. I looked at the full moon on the calendar and figured that right now the moon wouldn’t be bright enough to make a difference. I was wrong. And I also didn’t thoroughly check the weather. I got one good night to shoot, and two wet snowy ones.

If I had been doing this shoot for a client it would have been a complete failure, as it was I’m going to take it as a good learning experience. A reminder to always check the details, and check everything twice. And have backups for your backups if needed. And while I said I didn’t get any shots I lied a little. We ended up shooting some portraits and few other things, just not what I’d intended to shoot.