Wednesday, October 26, 2011

47/52 Alexandria Ott

Hey there Internet, long time no see. While life without a computer screen is going extremely well, I've started this project and I certainly plan on finishing it. It just, uhh... might take a while. Maybe another year, who knows.

To say that Alexandria Ott is server at Double a would be selling her unbelievably short. She's ended up on an improbable journey that has brought her into the fold of our small and esoteric service industry family. She graduated from Loyola Marymount Los Angeles with a degree in Journalism, and packed her bags, left behind her sunny home of California and departed for Chicago. She has since been fully immersed in our fair city's love of good food, Midwestern sensibility, and it's wonderfully unpredictable and inclement weather. In addition to spending her weekend nights with us slinging drinks, she also is a national makeup artist for Trish McEvoy and freelance writer for a Chicago based digital marketing firm, Lonelybrand. As for her service industry job, she's done incredibly well despite her total lack of prior experience. Starting out in the industry at Double a is not only being thrown in the deep end of the pool, but the weird end of the pool as well. It's an incredibly unique service environment that becomes chaotic at the drop of a hat. Her ability to hit the ground running has been as much a testament to her adaptability and as to her intellect.

Alex generally has a more casual, easy going California style, both in attitude and in dress. We decided to take our shoot the exact opposite direction. Thus, we set our sights on doing a rooftop fashion shoot in the heart of the city. I bugged a friend of a friend to allow us to use her rooftop and we were in business. The lighting needed to be simple yet powerful. I opted for a PCB Einstein head in a large octa. I didn't know if we would have power or not on the rooftop, so I brought my Vagabond Lithium II as well. This turned out to be smart planning, as we definitely didn't have access to power. 

One thing I would have loved for this shoot would have been a large scrim to block the sunlight. The day was pretty cloudy, so sometimes the sun was an issue and other times it wasn't. I did something to improvise that I've done in the past, which is to use the large lightsource itself as a way of blocking direct sunlight on the subject. This works pretty well, but it definitely limits your choice of key angle as well as height. The main advantage to this is that it definitely maintains lighting continuity. Here's an image I took while the sun was out:

While it's not immediately apparent, you can see the shadow produced by the octa on the ground underneath the table. It doesn't bother me THAT much, but I'd rather be able to fly a scrim and completely light the foreground however I'd like. One other drawback is as clouds drift in front of the sun, I had to constantly walk my shutter speed up and down in order to maintain a consistent background exposure. We also did a few other looks on the rooftop, which provided some pretty unique and varied backgrounds. Here's another take from our second look:

While not the most traditional of backgrounds (and in fact something we all joked about quite a bit), this wall with it's weathered signage provided some really great color. All told we got a bunch of great shots in a relatively short period of time, and I'm really happy with the results.

Strobist Info:
PCB Einstein in large octa camera left

Camera Settings:
1/100 f/10 at ISO 100
Nikon 17-55 f/2.8@ 17mm

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