Photographing Moby. Or Maybe Not.

chase jarvis photograph of mobyOne of the things I loved about learning to speak a decent bit of French a few years back was that just when you realized that you knew enough French to get by, THAT’s when you realized that you had so much more to learn. Same goes with any second language, or flyfishing, or race car driving or laundry or medicine, yoga, or anything that you can really sink your teeth into.

And the same goes with a life as a professional photographer.

I’ve shot in what feels like every place on the planet under crazy-tight circumstances, with 80 people on set, with celebrities, with no margin for error, client breathing down your neck, 120 degrees, uphill both ways, blah blah, you get the story… so much so, that you could say that you get numb to it. Except every once in a while…

Such was the case with a recent portrait shoot of one of my favorite artist/musicians, Moby. He’s an amazing guy. I was scheduled to photograph him as a part of his “Gristle” tour (fascinating) and in connection with a project I’m doing that I’ll disclose at a future date… We were shooting at Town Hall Seattle, 7pm. Except in the hours before the the shoot, my day went totally sideways. Estimates due. Drop in international guests. Pre-production woes for a different shoot. Meetings that ran long. Traffic. Yada yada yada. Just stuff. Everything that could go wrong, was …going wrong. Suffice it to say, we were running late to shoot Moby. But being the pros we are, we remained calm. We’d be in the paint before and we’d be here again, and we were sure to get outta this pinch with little more than an elevated heart rate. Or so we hoped.

When we arrived at the location, we had 10 minutes to set up. From scratch. 4 lights, softboxes, backdrop, camera, test shots, the whole deal. NOT the way we normally roll. Just me, producer Kate, and three on gear support, Dartanyon, Erik, and Norton. But we remained calm. We nailed the setup. Nikon D3x. No tripod. Big white seamless on a crossbar, C-stands (our bent up ones…haggered), sandbags. Now we’re flying. One Broncolor Scoro A4s, a second Broncolor Mobil A2r (which btw, has just had its price reduced), Pocket Wizards…and…er…wait a minute. Did we? We DID. We forgot the Pocket Wizard kit. Not just a Wizard or two. We forgot the whole kit, half dozen Wizards, cables, everything. In the rush, a case had simply been left behind.

4 minutes and counting.

No biggie, we’ll go to our Plan B. We always have a backup. For everything. That’s part of what separates the pros from the ams. We carry sync chords in case something is acting up. And not just one of ‘em. Usually three. Just to be sure. But…er…wait. We just changed light cases to the Pelican case. And… the… sync chords were in the…oh jeez. We’re without sync chords. Boom. Plan B, shot to hell.

Is this really happening?

Kate walks in – talent is ready. Coming upstairs now. ETA, 120 seconds.

Stop, for just a second, and think about what you would do at this moment. You’ve already shot 10 portraits before this as a part of this series you’re working on, so you can’t really get away with changing much… Crank us this ISO on your D3x? You can’t keep to the project spec and drag Moby outside. Have you decided what you’d do?

In a stroke of pure genius 12 years experience level headed knowledge about your gear and low blood pressure to match pure luck, we remember that you go to plan C = on camera flash. And if you’re really smart….wait…check that…really in a pinch because you’ve dropped all the other balls like we have today…you find great salvation in taking advantage of the optical slave unit built in your pack. A pop from my little SB-800 off the low ceiling triggers all my Broncolors.

Moby walks up.

In the 30 seconds while super-producer, Kate, and Moby’s manager make small talk about the release he’s signing, I chimp 5 or so frames, move 2 lights about 12 inches, and take one more test shot. We’re there.

Now I’ve been a big Moby fan for years, so it’s a treat to have a minute of small talk. I greet him. We know a few of the same music people. We chat. I’ve licensed music from him before and used his mobygratis.com site (check it) for personal stuff. I explain my vision for the project as he steps out on the seamless. 199 photos in under 5 minutes. And a few are stunning.

We snapped a shot together for a laugh and a keepsake for me. Mostly I wanted a reminder of time number 2,384 when I just about blew it, but barely pulled it off. Most of the time its a smooth sailing ship. But sometimes it’s just not. It might look like polished on from the outside, but on the inside, we are all just one step ahead of the next thing that’s trying to bite us in the ass. And I suppose, in some ways, it’s how you walk through that fire that matters most.

Chase Jarvis and Moby by Chase Jarvis

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181 Responses to Photographing Moby. Or Maybe Not.

  1. Eric Doggett April 21, 2010 at 5:05 am #

    Great story. While it sucks that you all had to go through that, it does serve as a great reminder to the rest of us that life still happens, no matter what your success level is.

  2. Matthew Norris April 21, 2010 at 5:07 am #

    What a story! Well done staying calm under all that.

  3. Kensai April 21, 2010 at 5:08 am #

    I love the photo where you are together. Two geniuses in their respective fields! :)

    (I grew up with Moby’s music and now I become a better photographer with Chase’s tips)

  4. @ambersturgis April 21, 2010 at 5:09 am #

    How wonderful for you to get to work with your favorite musician! That’s a big goal of mine. :)
    Thank you for the story, as well. It’s never a bad time to sit down and think out a couple back-up plans for everything!

  5. Anne April 21, 2010 at 5:09 am #

    I’ve been saved by those optical slaves on more than one occasion as well! You’ve just got to nail the shot- no matter what. Rock on.

  6. Jane Quigley April 21, 2010 at 5:09 am #

    I believe that these are the kind of days that tell us something and teach us something. While I always have Plan B – I’m not so good at Plan C. This post just taught me the value in Plan C!

    Well done, Chase (PS – these shots are AMAZING!!).

  7. Martin Wolf April 21, 2010 at 5:10 am #

    Oh Chase, that was tight. Nice story and nice to read. Thanks for your huge sharing here. Keep up the great work!

  8. marco April 21, 2010 at 5:10 am #

    good to read that things like this even happen to guys like you. had exactly the same thing happening to me a week ago for a portrait shoot. used the internal flash to trigger the big ones ;-)

  9. GLEN SCOLAN April 21, 2010 at 5:12 am #

    superbe histoire. vraiment cool le gars

  10. Larry Eiss April 21, 2010 at 5:13 am #

    Thanks for the walk-through on resolving the problem. You have given me confidence in my own thought process in such situations. I can’t tell you the number of times I have had to shoot unexpectedly with only whatever equipment I have had on hand at the moment–and I was just shooting grand-kids in the livingroom.

  11. Kris Mitchell April 21, 2010 at 5:16 am #

    Ace. Absolutely ace. Everyone screws up. Everyone… But it’s how you deal with it that separates the amateurs from the pros.

  12. Elizabeth April 21, 2010 at 5:17 am #

    Brilliant, I love that statement ‘separate pros from ams’ because that important part is often missed, especially in this era of digital photography. Uncle Harry can take a good photograph and now he’s a photographer. What would he have done!
    Thanks Chase for your constant inspiration and honesty.

  13. Donovan April 21, 2010 at 5:28 am #

    I can’t believe that! I would’ve probably freaked out (well, I’m ONLY sixteen). But good intuition lead to a great photo shoot. Good job!

  14. Dale Hogan April 21, 2010 at 5:32 am #

    Excellent post Chase. Thanks so much for your continuing authenticity. You’re making a difference by how you do what you do.

  15. Chris April 21, 2010 at 5:33 am #

    Wow! Absolutely off the chain!!

  16. Andy April 21, 2010 at 5:38 am #

    thank you for the reminder. You always have great tips!

  17. aepoc April 21, 2010 at 5:48 am #

    Yikes. Sounds like an interesting time. Glad you got through it just fine though. Did Moby have any idea of the chaos?

  18. peter bang April 21, 2010 at 5:52 am #

    wow! so glad you pulled it off! thanks for humbly sharing the crazy story!

  19. Dennis Pike April 21, 2010 at 5:52 am #

    Thanks for posting the possible mess up, makes us that are still in the aspiring phase feel better.

    Also, one plus side of being broke and not having a lot of gear… it all fits in one backpack, and a light bag for the lightstands, softbox and umbrella. never forget anything…. haven’t yet anyway, don’t want to jinx myself for my next shoot

  20. Brian Davis April 21, 2010 at 5:53 am #

    Wow excellent job Chase. Guess this can be a lesson to everyone, always roll prepared and keep your cool in a crisis. Congrats on the great shots. I guess you’ll think of all this next time everything goes to hell and know exactly what to do. It’s nice to know the pros aren’t perfect either, but solving problems like this is where their experience and expertise come into play.

  21. Dade Freeman April 21, 2010 at 5:58 am #

    Sweet story and good to know even pro’s have ‘Murphy’ messing with them sometimes.
    The true genius is doing the job in hand and no letting it affect you or the client, top stuff ;)

  22. Beata Mierzwiak April 21, 2010 at 5:59 am #

    Excellent story and great attitude – always think SOLUTIONS! Well done and good luck for the future!

  23. Greg L April 21, 2010 at 6:00 am #

    Thanks for the post, Chase. As much as we’d love for all shoots to go as planned, there’s probably a twisted part of us that revels in the heart-pounding rush of on-the-fly troubleshooting.

    Keep up the fantastic work, looking forward to your next post as always!

  24. pete April 21, 2010 at 6:05 am #

    Wasn’t one of your 3 assistants supposed to do a checklist of the equipment?
    I bet they do it now. If they still have a job…

  25. Darren Purcell April 21, 2010 at 6:09 am #

    Superb entry, I could feel the tension! Great job.

  26. Federico Magni April 21, 2010 at 6:11 am #

    really nice story and great portraits too!

  27. Leilani Tucker April 21, 2010 at 6:12 am #

    Totally loved this post!! What a fantastic story…..gotta love working under pressure!!

  28. David Dvir April 21, 2010 at 6:17 am #

    Haha! Great story, that made me laugh, mostly because the EXACT same thing happened to me a few weeks ago! Literally Identical aside from we had sync chords, they were just the wrong size for the lights, they were the little 3.5mm when the lights took the larger size – after deciding that wrapping the 3.5mm in tinfoil would probably not be the best idea, we thought of using the flash to trigger :) . Few! Glad it all worked out hehe.

  29. John C April 21, 2010 at 6:22 am #

    Haha. Great story. When I was a resident, one of my professors told me,” The difference between a mediocre surgeon and a good surgeon is how one handles the complications.” We all know complications occur, so part of the learning experience is to grow your “bag of tricks”. The bigger your bag, the better you’re able to handle the complications. You’ve also got to get experience- keep operating a lot. The more you do, the more you get to use plan B, C, D, etc. So a photographer has to keep shooting – l lot.

  30. brad April 21, 2010 at 6:23 am #

    Great job!! That is a cool story… the only sad part is that your Plan C is my Plan A.

    • brent April 21, 2010 at 10:08 am #

      I’m in exactly the same boat regarding Plan C being Plan A!

  31. Alex April 21, 2010 at 6:35 am #

    Chase, that is shocking. Not even the story. The images, they suck. There is no depth, gradient, tones, nothing to his face. You can do better than that, you ought to have done better too.

    If I were in your shoes having had to go to plan C, hey, it happens! – I’d have cranked up the modelling lights, moved them closer, had the main light closer than the fill and cranked the iso up to 400-800 depending on the output of the model lamps.

    I’d have then shot wide open on the aperture, to give that sharp amazing depth of field style portraits we see from time to time – a bit like the amazing martin schoeller does from time to time, and this would have allowed you to get enough light on Moby to expose the image properly.

    You’ve created this amazing hype and brand about yourself, now you need to back it up. No doubt everyone else will tell you how amazing this is, such is your influence and marketing ability.

    Love to see you push yourself and your portraiture. No doubt you are capable of great things.

    • David Dvir April 21, 2010 at 7:17 am #

      Alex,

      I find this comment a little insulting. We’re all open to criticism, and I’m sure are able to handle much harsher words than “they suck” in reference to our images. However you’re drawing conclusions based on a project you know nothing about. This style of imagery may be precisely what the OP wanted to shoot based on the previous portraits done in the series.

      Depth, gradient, tone, contrast etc.. are all factors that may well have been considered, the insult here is to ignore the fact that these shots are taken with the purpose of being compiled into a greater, yet unknown, project. In this case I find it rude to offer criticism regarding style.

      As well, this plan C worked out nicely, why would he decided to crank the modeling lights and move them closer. I was confused by your suggestion to do that when using the SB800 as a optical slave would work relatively perfectly.

      Criticism needs to be backed up/thought out to be taken seriously. Unfortunately your comment does not appear to be thought out. Perhaps your disappointment in Chase’s images would be better conveyed while critiquing another project he has done.

      Regards

    • Chase April 21, 2010 at 8:27 am #

      alex: you’re entirely entitled to your own opinion. and i encourage you to continue to share it. but in this case you have no idea what the project direction is. so commenting about the style is one thing (saying you like or don’t like the style) but trying to articulate your personal solution to execute a picture that’s not a part of the plan seems pretty funny. and off.

  32. Kevin deLeon April 21, 2010 at 6:40 am #

    Great story Chase. Always nice to hear about adversities we all face from time-to-time, and see how that particular photographer was able to solve it, or learn from it.

    It’s so easy to forget that photographers we look up to are human and make mistakes too.

  33. Scott April 21, 2010 at 6:43 am #

    Loved this part…”It might look like polished on from the outside, but on the inside, we are all just one step ahead of the next thing that’s trying to bite us in the ass. And I suppose, in some ways, it’s how you walk through that fire that matters most.”

  34. David April 21, 2010 at 7:14 am #

    Are hoodies still the uniform de rigueur of aging hipsters?

  35. amanda waltman April 21, 2010 at 7:23 am #

    i love it! such a perfect story since yesterday i had one of those moments. it’s always nice to know i’m not the only one who forgets pocket wizards and sync cords. :) thank you for this post!

  36. Alex Taylor April 21, 2010 at 7:25 am #

    clutch

  37. Miranda Eubanks April 21, 2010 at 7:48 am #

    Thanks for sharing this story. It’s nice to know that no matter what, something is always going to come up!

  38. Nik April 21, 2010 at 7:53 am #

    Man, this is just what my wife and I went through the other day, almost to a tee. Fortunately the client was a relative, and not a super-famous musician.
    Same thing though, pocket wizard connector was busted, had to bust out a speedlight aimed off the ceiling triggering an optical on our main strobe.
    Got the shots off and all was well that ended well, but man, the similarities and timing are incredible (for me), and encouraging!

  39. rv April 21, 2010 at 8:00 am #

    I always use sb800 for triggering, why bother with pocket wizards and cords?!
    The shots are pretty average but what to expect from the situation you had. Thumbs up on shooting Moby, though!

  40. Corey Grusden April 21, 2010 at 8:42 am #

    Awesome, just plain awesome. Professional = being prepared for everything, even when you’re not prepared.

  41. Emmanuel Albert April 21, 2010 at 8:58 am #

    That is the stuff we all fear but live for. There is this extra level of satisfaction when you know you’ve saved the day or made it by the seat of your pants.

    And as an added bonus, you’ll have one more comforting “can’t be as bad as the X portrait session, huh?” to throw around when it gets stressful.

    Oh, and you’re a lucky b* to have met and shot Moby. I’ll never forgive you. :P

    Cheers!

  42. Kevin Halliburton April 21, 2010 at 9:12 am #

    I don’t know whether to feel big because I immediately thought of the solution or to feel small because your plan “C” is my plan “A” way more often than I would like to admit.

  43. Alex Rubin April 21, 2010 at 9:12 am #

    Great stuff. Don’t you hate it when that many things go wrong. That’s the beauty of photograph, there’s always another way to do it. Thanks for writing about it, it a nice reminder that it’s not just me who forget equipment at the studio.

    Alex Rubin

  44. Bryan April 21, 2010 at 9:17 am #

    It’s good to know photogs I have a great deal of respect and admiration for still have there “oh crap” moments. Thanks for being willing to share, Chase. Makes me feel good that I had your Plan C in my head as soon as you said the PW’s were missing… but that probably comes from many similar situations caused by using too much cheap gear. ;o)

  45. Jason April 21, 2010 at 9:43 am #

    Man, I wish I was good at taking pictures… haha. I love you Chase!!! (no homo)

  46. Kim April 21, 2010 at 10:13 am #

    long time reader first time poster…ha!
    the story totally got my blood pumping.
    it’s defintely how you walk through the fire that separates pros from ams.
    part of the fun of photography is creative problem solving…and seeing awesome results from that. thanks for sharing!

  47. dan brien April 21, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    Note to self: sew a secret sync cord pocket into each camera bag/case…

    Great post – nice save.

  48. Frederik April 21, 2010 at 10:50 am #

    beautiful story. All sounds very familiar. Well.. except for the moby part :-)

  49. Mark April 21, 2010 at 10:57 am #

    Wow. Great story.

    A little disappointed you only clicked 199 frames in under 5 minutes. What, one more for an even 200 would have killed you? :-)

  50. Joyce April 21, 2010 at 10:57 am #

    Thanks for sharing. Good thinking on the job! Love the shots.

  51. Todd April 21, 2010 at 11:04 am #

    I guess that pit in the bottom of our stomach never really goes away…no matter how many times we’ve done this. I know my lights, I know my gear; backwards and upside-down. So why stress? Because I think if you aren’t, you play it cool, you definitely will get bitten in the arse.

    A few days ago I asked for advice, from many folks…even a long reach here on a previous post. Had to put together a video bid for a client. Never shot a commercial before. Agency: “Can you do it?” Me: “Sure I can do it.” Inside Me: “Holy $hit, how do I do it?!”

    But that’s the nature of the game, especially in today’s market. If you fumble and say no, kiss that opportunity goodbye.

    Good news – I got the job. Now I have streaming banners of lists, from gear to plans, ideas and issues, and everything in-between. And you know what, I am sure something will inevitably go wrong, and I will have to make it right.

    That’s just the nature of this business.

    It’s good to know it happens to everyone. Nicely done.

    Todd

  52. hfng April 21, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    That’s some scary moments. I peed my pants while reading.

  53. Chris Beckman April 21, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

    Nice to know even pro’s still have shit that can happen, nice pull thru with the slave.

  54. Phil April 21, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    this reminds me of a shoot I assisted on. It took half day to set the lights up for the talent everything was perfect using 8 light’s to get a car and person. next day talent coming guy I’m working for shots are over exposed.

    check the light levels, checked his fstop and shutter all was good 2 min and counting
    look at the camera say check you iso :)
    and everything worked out

  55. david April 21, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    I am an admirer and a fan, Chase. But you sound like a bit of a drama queen here.

    Your assignment was perhaps the simplest possible — shoot a subject in B/W against a white background — and you had ample ambient light, a camera that goes to ISO 100,000, and the ability to manipulate the image in post-processing, and you (gasp) ALMOST DIDN’T GET THE SHOT!?

    I can see how a combat photojournalist might find this post kind of amusing.

    But, on the positive side, if this is what passes for a “crisis” over at Chase Jarvis Photography, well, things over there must run silky-smooth normally ;)

    • Chase April 21, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

      not enought light to match the 10 other portraits i’d already shot for the series. it would have killed his image from being a part of it….

      • daniel April 21, 2010 at 4:48 pm #

        I say, because 99.9% of the times you get it perfect, when something so simple like this happens to you, it’s a major issue. Any photographer that thinks this is just every day at work is definetly not a good photographer (or businessman).

      • david April 22, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

        Fair enough. The unspoken lesson here is not how good you are at dealing with crises but how meticulous and prepared you are under normal circumstances.

    • David Dvir April 21, 2010 at 9:42 pm #

      D3x doesn’t shoot up to 100,000 ISO ;)

  56. Alex April 21, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

    Super sweet blog post Chase. Doesn’t matter a hoot whether it was a career killing crisis or just a run of the mill everyday crisis, the story was terrific.

  57. Kurtis Kronk April 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

    As soon as you mentioned you forgot the PW’s I immediately thought optical since you are in a small room. Good thing you didn’t forget the SB-800 too!

    • Scott May 6, 2010 at 9:35 pm #

      haha! I was wondering about the bare hot-shoe of the D3, no speedlights on hand, and how Chase would have to shoot this one with the pop-up flash on a D5000 to optically trigger!

  58. Game Critic April 21, 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    I can’t believe something like this could happen to you.

  59. Sebastian Kubatz April 21, 2010 at 2:58 pm #

    I really enjoy reading all your blog posts.. but this one is special… at least to me.
    You reflected things that happened to me several times before and it’s great to see how you handled that situation.

    Thanks a lot for this insight.
    - Sebastian

  60. Trudy April 21, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    Wow. Murphy’s Law was laying out Tyson style punches. Nobody is perfect, it’s all how we deal with the imperfections of life. True. Thanks for sharing this story, very inspiring….though quite scary. Hehe.

  61. Demetri April 21, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    I thought of the on-camera flash right away, before plan B: sync cords. I guess just because that’s how I started with OCF.

  62. Neil Macmillan Photography April 21, 2010 at 3:23 pm #

    Learn from the mistakes – go put an extra sync cord in your camera bag right now! And if you have the space, dump a couple of pocket wizards or even some lower cost triggers in your camera bag too, so that where the camera goes, so do the triggering options.

    I normally travel with a stack of pocket wizards in a lighting bag which is full of grip stuff etc. It also, like yours, has sync cords and some 580/550EX flashes which can be used to optically trigger.

    If for some reason that went missing, I have a sync cord in the camera bag, as well as a cheapo 4 channel radio trigger set for emergencies (fires one flash and hopefully optically fires the rest), and a single flashgun which can get me by the way you worked. I also have a sync cord kept in each lighting kit bag (I use a number of bowens two head packs) so that if the lights come, so does the sync cords.

    I always feel it’s to be obsessive about plan B/C/D…. so many times I’ve ended up at a shoot with all the gear required, but some other request has been made by a client, and it pushes the creativity to work with what you have to hand. There’s a certain satisfaction with being able to rise to a client’s request even when you didn’t plan for it.

    One other thing I always carry is a small toolkit with some screwdrivers, spanners etc. Was just on a shoot recently and my boom arm started to rotate with the weight of a softbox – thankfully I had a spanner to tighten up the tensioning nut so that the softbox was sitting solidly in place 30 secs before the client’s first model was ready. Phew!

  63. Chrisopher Lo April 21, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

    Another solid shoot Chase! I’m usually not a fan of high contrast, almost blown out B&W images but you managed to keep the outline of his face including the top of his, for a lack of kinder words, bald head.

    Best,

    Chris

  64. Jonathan April 21, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    Great article Chase, been in similar situations myself, never with an international hero though!

  65. Andrei Popovici April 21, 2010 at 5:03 pm #

    Chase, one thing nobody mentioned is how brave you are to share this on your blog. In a world where sometimes appearances matter more than results (unfortunately), you didn’t shy away from sharing your close brush with disaster with your followers and potential future clients.

    Truth is, things like these happen almost everyday. However, what makes you (and a few others) true professionals, is the fact that the client almost never realizes that things almost went south while on the shoot.

    I hope your post will shed light in clients’ minds that while not everything goes as smooth as it may seem, they pay us because we always (usually) get the job done. And that’s what will always separate pros from, well, not-so-pros.

  66. Dwayne D.C. Tucker II April 21, 2010 at 6:03 pm #

    Chase,

    I like the suspense in the writing; glad everything worked out okay!


    DT.
    Nassau, Bahamas | Miami, Florida

  67. Stephen April 21, 2010 at 7:18 pm #

    I love blog posts like this. Please post more like this, chase!

  68. Simon April 21, 2010 at 10:24 pm #

    Ha! Great story Chase, and a great insight into the reality of many a pro gig. Your true worth often comes to the surface when faced with challenges like this… you’re right – that’s what tends to separate the real pro’s from the crowd.

  69. Matthew Saville April 21, 2010 at 10:56 pm #

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I roll with D300 / D700 and SB800′s. Built in CLS FTW. Silly “flagship” bodies, and studio strobes. :-P

    (I kid, I kid, you rock Chase, and Moby is my #1 favorite musician of all time. But seriously dude. Take a hint from McNally, have a pop-up flash and a sack of SB800′s around. Come on, Nikon, D700X!!!)

    =Matt=

  70. Paulo Raimundo April 22, 2010 at 1:45 am #

    This is the definition of a pro photographer, and someone with content in that big round thing on top of the neck.. Many times i had to improvise, think, look around for every type of solution on a short amount of time. True respect and admiration. Cheers

  71. Joost April 22, 2010 at 2:44 am #

    Your blog just got better -Moby… rules-

    I had the same thing happening a while back (though no celebrity like moby to shoot alas) and used the flash on my camera…

    Then I got all of these out of sync shots.

    Pre-flash is a bitch when you’re under stress. Thankfully I had a bit more time to figure it out and fix the problem.

    Are those videos from the “live” series still in the pipeline? Somehow I couldn’t figure out what time they were (Amsterdam timezone GMT +/-1 ?) and when I did, I had to work…

    Thanks for the blog once more.

  72. Brandt Steinhauser April 22, 2010 at 4:40 am #

    Similar situation happened to me not too long ago. External mic failed along with the backup. You don’t have time to dwell on what failed. Re-analyze your situation and work your way through it. You can always get pissed about what failed while driving home.

  73. Joost April 22, 2010 at 5:40 am #

    ps:

    What was the lighting set up?

    Softbox Camera left, right and above and… ?
    One to get the background to be squeeky white?

    How do you combat reflections in glasses? I know it has to do with the angle of light, but with that many lights hitting someone it can be quite difficult I can imagine?

  74. Noel Hannan April 22, 2010 at 5:46 am #

    Chase,

    great post – I always enjoy reading your blog. If its any consolation I am paranoid about checking the gear before going on shoots – too many cables left behind.

    BTW Moby just happens to be one of my favourites too.

    Best of luck

    Noel

  75. Brian Palmer April 22, 2010 at 8:09 am #

    Good Stuff Chase, and very true in respects of having backup plans separates a pro from an amateur. Also, good backup plans! That is very smart having sync cords for everything. This is probably an amateur questions [I have yet to work with studio lights] do you need a special device to connect 4 lights on 1 camera? – I’m guess a horseshoe adapter of some sort…all of those cables have to be annoying, but in a pinch of that size it would have been welcoming. Good show Chase! It’s not just the experience but it’s what you do with it to overcome everyday obstacles. On camera flash to trigger your strobes…good thinking!

  76. Alexandra April 22, 2010 at 8:51 am #

    Great reminder. Loved this post.

  77. steve belinge April 22, 2010 at 10:29 am #

    thanks chase, it’s always nice to hear these kind of stories.

  78. Shane April 22, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    Chase, good for you for posting the screw-ups. I’ve been in similar situations. Only asshole photogs don’t talk about their goof-ups, I’m glad I don’t have to put you in the ‘asshole category’ (like so many other pro’s I look up to).

  79. Thatcher April 22, 2010 at 9:51 pm #

    I was just thinking about this today as I was working on some crappy political campaign photos. The request are just ridiculous.
    I quit my “day job” in December. Scrapping by. Feeding a family. Making it happen.
    I love it!

    • Chase Jarvis April 28, 2010 at 4:30 am #

      congrats thatcher. that’s some boldness. love it.

  80. Ian April 23, 2010 at 6:25 am #

    for years I’ve being saying a Pro is someone who’s made ALL the mistakes and learnt from them. I’m still learning! :-)

    It’s was even worse in the film days! :-)

  81. JD April 23, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    Damn, my heart was racing just reading the post! I love reading stuff like this. Like the book says “Everyone poops”.

    Thanks Chase.

  82. Colorado Wedding Photographer, JasonG April 23, 2010 at 1:33 pm #

    Great post – seems we’ve all been there and done that. Great to know that it happens to the best of us!!

  83. copi April 23, 2010 at 8:20 pm #

    yeah fly fishing!

  84. Grady Layman April 24, 2010 at 7:45 am #

    Well done Chase and team…
    One of the reasons I always carry a few small flashes with me. Have you ever had the power go out at the building you are shooting in?

    • Chase Jarvis April 28, 2010 at 4:29 am #

      you bet. small flashes are key in those moments

  85. Scott -Australia April 24, 2010 at 5:56 pm #

    another great insight from your chase. Whilst i am not a pro, it is reassuring to know that even great photographers have problems from time to time.

    Best laid plans…..

  86. Jordan Thistlewood April 26, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

    Well Chase, those are the moments were the adrenaline and calm head lead to a “in the zone” moment. Not the exact experience you want as a daily occurrence but it certainly feels good when you make it through to the other side in one piece. Thanks for sharing.

  87. TripleScoop April 27, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    It hard to keep a good man/crew down!

  88. vejadu.dre April 27, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    This is why you are my hero.

  89. TiamatInc April 28, 2010 at 10:46 am #

    Nice fotos. :-)

  90. Will Austin April 29, 2010 at 11:10 pm #

    Hey Chase, thanks for this. I don’t know how often you hear this but you are a great writer!

  91. marc May 2, 2010 at 9:49 am #

    back when my main cams were a couple of pentax 6x7s (way back), this happened to me. prominent local politically-connected family group portrait in an elite grey-stoned manor club. i was shitting myself (almost literally which is truly unpleasant in formal-wear) then realised – since this already sombre foyer could get darker by switching off more lights, i could expose a few frames by popping the old speedotrons with the shutter open. we jokingly counted off the pops in the dark and, praise the strobe gods, caught these guys in perfect smiles. man, those were the days.. tks for the story.

  92. Matt Bostock May 18, 2010 at 7:53 am #

    Great shot Chase. Quick question – did you have any problem with reflections in Moby’s glasses, and how did you work around that?

    Thanks!
    Matt

  93. Henry Feather May 26, 2010 at 8:42 am #

    I have used Broncolor for years and am very appreciative of the built in slaves. If you use the Nikon SB800 on manual, at 1/128, it is often just enough to trigger the Broncolor without affecting the image. This past weekend I was shooting outside and simply moved the power up with the same result. Simplicity works…. most of the time.

  94. מצלמות נסתרות July 1, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

    ONE THING IS FOR SURE MOBY HAS SOME GREAT MUSIC

  95. andy July 25, 2010 at 12:43 am #

    Has anyone seen the segment Moby did with NPR where he wrote a song in one day andthe whole process was documented? It was really cool. Same day i discovered this guy: ALSO really cool is a moby esque way.

    http://somethingsomebodysomewhere.bandcamp.com/track/get-out-of-my-dreams

    Long live moby!

  96. Michal Garcia August 16, 2010 at 9:56 pm #

    This is such a fun story! Thanks Chase – and Norton ;-)

  97. Neilson October 20, 2010 at 11:13 am #

    As soon as I saw the stuff from your Seattle 100 project, this blog post came to mind. Is keeping to a project spec as mentioned in this post something you might be able to discuss in an upcoming post? I’d love to hear about some of the finer points regarding the things that must be considered. It’s probably a lot of common sense stuff that needs to be kept track of, but hearing what a pro does usually provides a few very helpful tidbits only experience can provide.

    Love the look of this project. These blog posts are like a DVD bonus feature giving us the behind the scenes look at how it’s done, which I love. Thanks again for sharing!

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