kyle cassidy (kylecassidy) wrote,
kyle cassidy

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Top Sekret No Longer! Behind the Scenes Philadelphia Weekly Cover Shoot with Brian Sims

Philly Weekly staff writer Randy Lobasso had been working on his profile of Brian Sims, Pennsylvania's first openly gay elected state representative for six months when the whole thing blew up. You probably remember the headlines.

After the Supreme Court shot down the Defense of Marriage Act Brian wanted to comment about it on the floor of the house and as he got to the microphone, he was prevented from speaking by a colleague, Representative Daryl Metcalfe who said that he believed Sims was about to violate "Gods Law". The media went crazy, everybody had a field day with it, Sims' earlier observation in Harrisburg that "Each of us put our hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. We did not place our hands on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible" was rediscovered and got a lot of traction on social media and I was on the top of a hill in Philadelphia with Brian Sims, Randy Lobasso and my assistant Sarah photographing a cover for a story that was suddenly about a national fist-fight over gay rights rather than local politics.

Because of Rep. Sims' schedule we had to shoot while the sun was still up (I would have opted for sunset, but he had meetings) I used two flashes with the city in the background and a Nikon d800 with an 80-200 lens and me standing about 40 feet back.

Clickenzee to read the article at Philadelphia Weekly.

It was fiercely hot out so after doing the cover we did some pickups back in the city. There's always the possibility that your editor will say "these are so great, let's put a slide show on the web page!" so I tend to always try and shoot extra.

Sarah, Brian, Kyle

So you can see here what we're doing with the light -- exposure set for daylight outside (which you can see through the blinds) and then light added from a Photek Softlighter II to balance with that. The softlighter is my favorite lighting modifier -- here we're using it as a reflective (rather than shoot thru) so it's directional, aiming light down but not throwing it up on to the ceiling (which would give a lot more fill) and there's a second piece of fabric, a baffle, that the light passes through after it's bounced off the back of the umbrella, this cuts down on hot spots and makes the illuminating surface larger and more even. So you get a really even, soft, directional light. It's a bit like a softbox that you can fold up.

In this shot the light is a character in the image, you can see it in the window, and you can see Sarah holding it which (in my mind anyway) shows the media spectacle, and it gets the pride flag in there off to the left out of focus enough to not be distracting but in focus enough you can tell what it is. I'm pretty happy with this one. If I was going to get all fancy I would have put a small gridded softbox above the camera on a low power to throw some fill into his eyes but I think trying too hard to fix this one would just detract from it's simple effectiveness.

Clickenzee to Embiggen!

There's a BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO which you can check out here (ooh! check it out!)

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