Womanwise 11

You’d think it could have waited for shoot number 13, but things went wrong a little earlier than that. The folks at Habitat for Humanity couldn’t have been more cooperative. Yes we can do a shoot on location at one of our buildings. Yes, we can do it the day before your deadline. Oh, and hey yes, we can drive you there if you come to our head office in El Socorro.
In the face of such positive vibes, I arrived at the first stage of our journey to Couva around 20 minutes late, having underestimated even my best estimates of the constraints of traffic.

That multiplied in the hundred or so yards getting to the traffic lights of the El Socorro Junction which took an astonishing 25 minutes.
The net of all this? We’re at the site of the house construction at the worst possible time of day, the sun standing at its staggering midday zenith casting racoon’s eyes shadows everywhere.
It is at this precise point that I long for
a really powerful strobe pack with a super light battery pack instead of a pair of Canon speedlights that won’t fire in this blazing sunlight with an infrared trigger anyway.

Instead, I used a hardwire extender cable (that I always try to remember to pack) that allows me to use the strobe at arm’s length. At the end of my arm, I bolt the flash to an umbrella connector and wave it around like what must have seemed like maniacal abandon.
I decide to go for the cover shot first and pose Jennifer Massiah under a tarpaulin the workers have set up to cover their tools and makeshift worktable. Providence is with me, and the workmen actually show up on the building behind her for a couple of useful photos.

I miss a great opportunity inside the building itself when the strobe slips off the extender cable connector very subtly and begins misfiring during the brief moment that I get some cloud cover.
One of the shots is good enough to be used inside the magazine, but in one of those great injustices that comes knocking on our doors from time to time, from a selection of two horizontal images and one vertical destined for a cover that’s vertical, one of the horizontals gets placed on the cover. And the printing falls short. And I am appalled.
These are the times that I rely on that old newsman’s solace, “today’s news, tomorrow’s fishwrap.”

Things I learned.
Explicitly try to setup the shoot early in the morning or late in the evening. If I’m going to be shooting at midday outdoors, then I need to walk with much more gear.
Clamp the damned strobe in place on the cable. Really, clamp it.
Label the picture for the front page. Do not assume that the design/sub-editing staff will choose a vertical picture for a vertical space.

Related: The Womanwise Virtual Gallery
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