One of those Rare Opportunities
Ok. You are probably thinking to yourself, “What the hell is this guy on about?”
Well, damn good question and here it is!
A few months ago I was asked to submit some landscape images to an Art Director so he could put the images in his boards to pitch to their client. He sent me a few great references for “look and feel”, so I went through my Landscape Library and sent him some images that fulfilled the brief. Done and sorted.
A few days after I get a call to come in and have a preproduction meeting so I can look at the layouts and get a good understanding of what was needed from my side. If you are thinking is this “going anywhere soon?” It is and right now. So, there I am in the boardroom and Damian, the Art Director, walks in carrying three sheets of paper in his hand. He lays them down on the table in front of me and gives me a look. I turn back to him with a huge smile and say something like, “These are F*^king amazing!” It would have been something along those lines, any way I hope you get the idea. And that is when I realized this was going to be “One of those rare opportunities.”
Check it out for yourself.
I know. I know…. right! There is more….
Sweet, Huh! Yeah, So now you can understand why I had that big smile on my face?
All right let’s get back on track here. So we had our preproduction meeting and talked about the first Layout, which was the Beach Shot. I told them I would scout / recce the locations around Cape Town, as I knew of a couple of spots that we could park and unload gear that was right at the beach. This was crucial, as we had to get the “Monolith” to where ever the final location on the beach would be.
So, morning of the shoot… My assistant Lebo and I are at the office at 3 AM. Yup! You read right! Got to “LOVE” sunrise shoots! Nothing like watching the sun come up… We load up all our gear and head over to pick up Damian at the agency by 3:30. He hops in the truck and looks at Lebo and I and says something like, “It’s F*#king dark out man and it’s raining!” I look at him and laugh and say something like, “It’s all good bro.” So we head off into the night.
As we get near our beach location, the rain gets heavier and it gets misty. Not a great sign for shooting, but great photography is all about doing “whatever it takes” to get “THE SHOT”. Not just a shot. Understand? Of course you do…. ☺ Damian leans up front and says to me, “Bro, it’s really coming down. Can we shoot in this?” That I remember very clearly because of my response. “Bud, a little rain isn’t gonna stop us. It will clear.”
Now, I need to digress for a moment and explain how I work. My life has been based on a very simple yet huge word. Belief! I would not be where I am today with out the help of others and an unfoundering belief in my life and myself. So when it comes to my work, I know it will work out for the best. And as I tell my clients, “I can’t control the weather. And I understand you wanted sunshine and blue skies. But we don’t have it. So I am going to give you the BEST DAMN RAIN SHOT YOU HAVE EVER SEEN.”
Oh, by the way… I would have called a weather day, but clients never give us one.
Ok. We are at the beach it is around 4:15 AM or so and we gear up and go for a walk to see the location I scouted earlier in the week. Now I picked this location because it worked for the monolith, view of the ocean, sunrise and here is the best one! It was way, I mean way out of the city and no one ever comes out here. Well, when we found the location in the dark mind you. It looked like someone played a F^@king Polo Match on the whole beach! Oh, yeah! Damian looked at me and I looked at him with a look of “awe for F@^k’s sakes!” An important thing to remember about photography is the law I live by, “If it can break or go wrong. Count on it to happen.” This is why good shoots are all about backup plans and having alternatives to count on to make the shoot happen. No matter what! I tell you this because you might be thinking that a totally screwed up beach would stop us! Not a chance in HELL my friend! I always carry a broom in my truck. Why you ask? Because I have learned to plan for the unexpected and be as much of a Boy Scout as I can be. Thus you must ALWAYS have a broom handy!
It’s now around 4:45 and everyone has arrived in the parking lot. Producer, Stylist, Set builders; I mean everybody. It is still drizzling with rain but the fog is lifting. Everyone is unloading and starting the 8-minute walk to our location. And Lebo walks up to me and says something like, “do you want me to pull everything out and to location or just basics?” I say something like, “ Yeah. Table, chairs, camera laptop, tent and the rain covers. Thanks man.” Damian walks over and says,” Hey can I help?” As luck would have it I literally was pulling out the broom as he said this. I turned and gave him a smile. “Dude, would you mind…” He smiles back and said something like, “Nothing like a bit of physical exercise in morning!” We all laughed and got to work.
Long story short. The fog lifted. The rain stopped. The clouds were heavy and the beach was BEAUTIFUL. Thanks to Damian’s hard core brooming techniques, which I might add ended up breaking the broom. Monolith was placed perfectly and our talent was great! The heavy clouds delayed the sunrise so we shot for a good two hours. And got variation after variation. Thus making for a very happy Art Director and Producer.
7:30ish we are done and everyone is having some coffee and breakfast on the beach which was such an amazing morning.
We pack up and drop Damian back at the agency. Lebo and myself get back to studio and unload so I can get processing on the images. That afternoon I drop off a few DVD’s with the high rez selects that Damian had choose while we were shooting at the beach.
One down and two to go! We had planned to do one brief a month for the job. So I was excited about the next one coming up which was the Desert Layout.
As it happens, I was flying back from a shoot in Jo’ Burg on Kulula a couple weeks after the Beach shoot. I was flipping through the in flight mag from back to front like NORMAL people do. And what do know! There on the first two pages of the mag is our Beach shot! A big smile came over me and once again I thought to myself, “This is one of those rare opportunities…”
Stay tuned for the next installment of “One of those rare opportunities.” From Locker 14.
All the best.