A few months ago I got a email from my friend Kelly at Indiana University about a project for their Alumni Magazine. I love shooting things for Kelly and IU and once all the details were set everything went very smoothly. The project was an article on Professor Armin Moczek down at IU who studies what the cover text reads as “Earth’s most successful organism”. I learned a few things about beetles myself on the shoot like for instance you know the horns on the front? They are for fighting….
There were several concepts that we had for the cover of the magazine, and even though I shot quite a few of them in the small time allotted I hadn’t seen what was selected until the magazine came in the mail today. I was very pleased with the coverage and felt the photos look great even if the shot on the cover above was in fact originally on black. I guess that’s a testament to the Alumni Association’s graphic Designer Matt who was there at the shoot to make sure he got everything he wanted/needed. Matt had said that he wanted the background to be black and I got it pretty close considering I didn’t actually take any rolled background with me. (I wish I had honestly, but we had limited time with Professor Moczek). We shot lots of stuff, and seeing what was done for the cover I completely agree with the choices made.
(Nikon D4s, 400ISO, Nikon 14-24mmF2.8N@14mm. Nikon SB900 set in the shelf to give the Professor’s face a little light set to 1/64th and zoomed in to 200mm. Flash triggered by a Pocket Wizard TT5 from a Pocket Wizard TT1 with a Nikon SU-800 on the Camera’s hot shoe)
We shot a bunch of different things that day. Some portraits, and some more working shots like seen above in Professor Moczek’s office. It was a pretty interesting experience and the hour spent with Professor Moczek was incredibly interesting as he get very excited about the projects he is working on and beetles he is studying. (As he should). The conversation was really quite interesting and even seeing some of the beetles up close with him explaining the different colors or ways of life of the beetles intrigued us all.
(Nikon D4s, 80ISO, Nikon 24mmF1.4N, 1/160th@F1.4. Nikon SB900 Speedlight set to iTTL shot through a 60″ translucent disk held by Alexis to camera left triggered via a Nikon SU-800 in the camera’s hot shoe).
The shoot was a lot of fun. Saw some beetles, made some photos. Big thanks goes out to Alexis from LexHaub Photography for being my assistant on this project. Helped me cart all my stuff up several flights of stairs since IU is an older campus and apparently ramps into doorways are hard to come by in certain places. Once we were there I think she’d say it was a piece of cake other than the fact that I’m pretty sure every single lens cap I own was immediately scattered around the lab, and most of my gear started finding it’s way onto every shelf and cabinet where it should definitely not be set down… She kept me on track though especially when I stopped the entire shoot so I could ask questions about beetle fighting…
(Nikon D800, 250ISO, Nikon 60mm F2.8N Macro, 1/200th@F18. Paul Buff Einstein with Paul Buff 30″x60″ Softbox set to 1/4th power. Light triggered by Pocket Wizard Plus X Transciever).
Cover photo up top was shot with the Nikon D4s and 24-70@F22. Light provided by a single Paul Buff Einstein and a 60″x30″ softbox. Cover looks great in person, and I am very happy. It’s definitely a crop out of the original file on a Tabloid sized magzine which yet again proves that the D4s’s 16 megapixels are up to every challenge. The Beetle shots in the magazine were shot with the D800 and same 60″x30″ softbox. I always look forward to a call from Kelly down at Indiana University and as luck would have it, I’m working on another project for them this upcoming week. Guess you’ll have to just wait until next quarter when the new magazine comes out to find out of what though. Until then; More soon.