Friday, January 13, 2012


Gypsied by Bill Gekas

Most people that know my work, know that most of my stuff is mainly shot in my small indoor studio space. It usually means having a backdrop stand, complete control of all lighting, colors, props etc. This has worked well for my style where I can build a mini set and have it work into the aesthetic i'm trying to shoot, but lately with the nicer weather I wanted to shoot my style in an outdoor environment, something I haven't done in quite a while as shooting a lot in my controlled environment lately has become a bit too comfortable for me.

The problems with shooting outdoors are usually weather related for me. Living in Melbourne Australia this city is well known for having all four seasons in one day a few times over. Location shooting to me means having all three variables right which for me are (i) no rain, (ii) no wind and (iii) light quality preferring an overcast sky (nature's big octabox).

As I live in the suburbs only a short drive from the city centre I don't exactly have a country road or farm orchards anywhere near me, it would mean going for a bit of a drive finding the right location and then hoping i'm not drawing too much attention when I get there. The other day though I was driving to the local store and noticed a small gravel path just off the main road running in parallel with the local creek. I've known the creek was always there with an asphalt bike track next to it but I thought i'd have a quick look to see where this gravel path runs and if it has any potential. Well fortunately it happens that this is sort of like a short detour gravel path maybe 200ft in length or so which just connects the footpath from the main road to the asphalt bike track. With the right focal length and framing I knew I could work this well so decided to go back with the lass, a speedlight with a small shoot thru umbrella on a mini stand, the camera and rf trigger, nothing else! Not even a spare battery of any type, just super lightweight grab and go style! So far the people that have seen this shot really think I went to some old country road to shoot it! Little do they know just behind me was an asphalt bike track and further forward just after the bend in the photo was the footpath from the main road with the traffic noise of trucks and other cars drowning out any serenity that the scene looks like having.

The moral here is that you don't have to travel miles away to find a suitable location. A photographer with a good eye can always find a suitable location not far from where they are. All you need is a small area, with careful framing and the right focal length that area can be made to look like a scene where no one would ever think where it really was. In my case this location was just 3 minutes drive from home and I plan to shoot there again soon!

Gypsied lighting diagram