This past week I played the role of DIT (digital imaging technician) on a video shoot spearheaded by Austin Walsh Studio. The video shoot we were working on lead us to sunny California for a week in the San Joaquin Valley, the mecca of fresh produce grown for consumption for the world.
At 4:30am, Kansas City time, I woke my ass up and went to the airport. I noticed how crazy the reflections from the interior looked overlaid with what was going on outside. I wasn’t sure if it was my tiredness that added to this reaction but I felt like I needed to start making my first image of the trip here.
As we boarded the plane I immediately noticed that everyone shut their windows and went straight to sleep. Though the idea sounded pretty awesome I knew I haven’t really been on a plane enough to ignore what life looked like from a plane’s perspective. I watched as the lights on the tarmac whizzed by and the only thing that went through my head was this.
“man, this place would be awesome for an automotive rig shot.”
I didn’t have a rig. There’s no way I could’ve rigged the plane. The idea of it sounded pretty dope. Only thing I could do was plant myself against the window and try to hand hold a 1 second exposure. The rain helped add some extra flare and I’m super glad I did this, as generic of an idea it is to shoot out of a plane from your seat.
Obligatory wing shots.
When we showed up to California we did some scouting and then booked into our hotel to prep for the upcoming morning. We got up early in the morning and waited for the sun to rise over the grape fields. The hardest part wasn’t even finding shots, it was simply figuring out the safest way on and off of this hilariously oversized van/mini bus.
Right as the sunrise was hitting the horizon we set up a drone to get some arial footage. If you haven’t been around a drone, you’re missing out. These things are pretty awesome and needless to say they are game changers in the industry of image/video making.
Throughout the day the workers showed us what grapes were best and ready to be picked. They also let us sample as much as we wanted. Perfectly safe to eat, completely fresh off the vine. I’m not even sure how I’m supposed to go the store and eat grapes now.
Best. Grapes. Ever. Sucka.
I was constantly amazed by the size of the batches that were being pulled. One of the workers told us that a whole row fell over not too long ago because the grapes were growing so plentiful and so full that it would end up being too heavy for the support system put in place.
That grape baby, though.
And that’s pretty much how the rest of the week went. Early morning. Sunrise compositions. Capture the work day. Eat fruit off the vines. Sunset compositions. Repeat. Can’t say I was too bummed about that at all.
The longer I was there the more I realized that everyone who worked here worked their ‘effin’ asses off. Not only that, everyone seemed happy. It was an interesting thing to soak up and be a part of.
Shout out to the crew, Mr. Austin Walsh himself and the drone operator, Seth Iliff. Definitely check out their websites linked in their names. Two dudes who are awesome both behind the camera and as genuine human beings.
Leave in style or not at all.
Teenage Heartthrob, Seth Siesta.
Somewhere along the trip we stopped at a gas station and noticed they stocked a few hats to shade us from the sun. Austin made the purchase and it made him look more legitimate of an adventurer.
Golden hour, my friends.
It was our last day shooting. It was our last golden our on the farms. We hit grapes, clementines, and kiwis. This was the last image I took and after this shot I set my camera down and tried to just soak up the rest of what was actually happening.
hard working modest dudes.
And that was our trip in a nutshell. I felt like I hadn’t shot in a long time and I’m happy that I got to. The biggest kicker was that I didn’t even have the camera I normally shoot on. It wasn’t even a DSLR. It was a point and shoot. Something I found on craigslist and something I only budgeted $150 for.
See. Feel. Point. Shoot.
A super old, super beat up, Sony point and shoot. The newest model sells for a lot, but this was the second iteration of this camera in a line up of four or five generations. I bought it super scuffed up, insanely used, and pretty tired. It’s a point and shoot. Something quick, something small, something completely unintimidating. Something I could literally turn on, make images, and put away in 10 seconds or less. I made images but I wasn’t distracted from my duties nor did I lose any valuable real estate to carry/hold gear.
This ultimately isn’t a post about this point and shoot camera specifically. This is an observation that photography doesn’t start with a camera. It starts with a reaction. A feeling. You see something. It makes you feel, whether its positively or negatively, but you react to it. If the feeling is strong enough, then you take your camera out and photograph to document something that initially made you feel. It’s more about that feeling then it will ever be about whatever camera you choose to document it with.
Anyway, I’m rambling.
Here’s to California. Here’s to good company. Here’s to feeling feelings and making imagery based on those feelings.