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The making of the June 8, 2011 CityBeat Cover with Transfer.

I had the wonderful opportunity to shoot yet another cover for CityBeat Weekly, I was really pleased with the last one I did, but this one provided some more technical challenges. The concept for this one was to tell the story of the Highly Successful band Transfer and their rigorous touring schedule. David Rolland, Peter Holslin, and Adam Vieyra, the Editor, Writer and Art Director respectively all gathered for a brainstorming session to come up with the cover. I suggested the tour van with all these road cases all around and in a dark parking garage. That particular one seemed a little too dark of a concept, so we built on that idea and went for a sunset shoot with the blue/purple of the sky to add some color. We also needed an inside shot for the actual story so the band pushing those cases with a shallow aperture seemed like a good supplement to the shot.

I would need an area that had a clean horizon to the west (there was no way we were doing it at 6am!!). I had a few ideas for a location but Transfer front man Matthew Molarius tipped me off to a location just south the the Balboa Park Golf Course Clubhouse that was perfect! 

My assistant Arlene Ibarra and I arrived at the location around 7 to set up. When we arrived we noticed the location was right under the flight path for San Diego International. "Wouldn't it be great if we could catch a plane in the shot too?", I asked. After the band arrived we first shot the inside photo, this would be black and white so lighting wasn't as critical. Once the sun set it was time to concentrate on the primary shot. With just 2 580EX II flashes (with direct battery packs to recharge) at around 1/2 power was enough to provide a good front fill. Unfortunately using an umbrella or soft box would cut the light too much to beat the sun (and AC power was extremely limited i.e. NONE! I was not bringing a generator or big ass travelites), but with the diffuser flipped down and placed properly we were able to achieve the hard light look. 

Now if I could just figure out the plane.

Timing with the plane AND getting the right look on the band members faces all in the time before the sun is too low would have been damn near impossible. My solution? Get the shot without the plane, then shoot the plane in the same light at the same time and make a composite photo. Some may say this is faking it, well... then ALL "photoshopping" or dodging, masking and burning in the darkroom would be faking it! It's all part of photography. :) The cover consists of just two photos, one of the band, one of the plane... overlaid. 


Overall I'm very pleased with the results of the shoot, below is the original and the actual cover with the final graphics. 

Special thanks to Arlene for capturing the behind the scenes shots and helping me with the shoot.




1D Mark IV

5D Mark II

(2) 580EXII with CP-E4 Battery packs

70-200mm F2.8L IS II

50mm F1.4 USM