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