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Sunday, July 04, 2010

On Broadway

Well, I am back from LA,  and having had a very bad back since I returned, I have been somewhat incapacitated. But I am on the mend now and finally able to sit at my desk and catch up with you all. Especially with regard to what happened on the last two days of our time in LA, which, incidentally, is probably about the time I did my back in. 
Glynn and I were set to leave LA on Sunday night. We had a lunch appointment with David Honl and his wife, actress Claudia Christian. Glynn and I met David at PMA in Anaheim in February and enjoyed meeting his wife at a cocktail party in Hollywood we were then kindly invited to. Since then, Creative Photo Workshops has partnered with David to promote his unique and very functional range of Honl strobist equipment, which, I have to say, I really enjoy working with. Apart from being very practical stuff, its easy to use and does not require you to glue anything or attach anything to your flash that won't easily come off. Its all done with Velcro, folks. Cool. If you want to know where to get this stuff in Australia, just ask me. 
Over lunch that Saturday, Glynn and I discussed doing a shoot before we left town and asked if they wanted to be a part of it. We mentioned that we had fallen in love with the old theatre district in downtown LA and wanted to do a shoot there. Claudia sourced some fabulous models in retro clothing and David volunteered some Honl gear. Suddenly, we were set to go. So, after a lovely dinner and a giggle with cable TV personality and fellow photographer, Erin Manning that night (aren't we the social butterflies!) we awoke to a new day, our last day in LA and a great shoot to look forward to.
The area that we fell in love with is unfortunately rather run down now, as is much of LA to be honest. In its heyday however, it would have been the hot spot of LA, the place you'd get all dressed up just to walk through, and the place where classic films would have been played to enthralled audiences.  We wanted to recreate the era if we could. The area itself is now very run down and neglected, which is rather sad considering how beautiful these theatres would once have been. It is such a shame. I believe that LA could redeem some of its former status if just this area alone were to be restored. 
Arriving at David and Claudia's home the next day we found Claudia herself, all dressed up in a pin striped suit and sporting a Fedora. Fabulous! Now we had two models and a Hollywood actress to photograph. More than that, we were going to have a renowned photographer as our assistant. Within minutes, our two models - Jayde and Sabrina - arrived and we were headed for Broadway and Hill in downtown LA.
It was midday in LA at the beginning of summer. Our light was not in any way sweet or complimentary, and so we often sought shade where we could so that we could use off camera flash, modified by grids and softboxes as supplied by David. David's new softbox is surprisingly effective and we used it for almost every image in which we used off camera flash. Having run a Creative Flash Photography workshop for Mark Comon at Paul's Photo in Torrance the weekend before, we had all the triggers and flashguns we needed. We were just a little short on for Honl gear. Thank heavens for Dave!
David Honl assist Glynn to get the light just right...
I haven't used the Honl PhotoTraveler 8 Softbox all that much, seeing as it is a relatively new product and I haven't had it very long. Also, I have never been a believer in on flash diffusers. The manufacturers try to tell you that these things perform on camera flash miracles, but I have never been a witness to any of them. However, I would have to say that I was surprised at the nature of the light that this beautiful and very portable little light shaper produces.I think I am probably going to default to its use for much more of my off camera flash photography. 
The PhotoTraveler 8 Softbox at work on my Velbon 730 Carbon Fibre tripod
Claudia has a way...
The first part of our shoot was to photograph Claudia. She had asked us for some updates and wanted to be a part of the fun. Who were we to say no to our gracious host, an attractive Hollywood actress and the lady who had organised our models? Certainly not us! But we would have done it anyway, no matter who she was or what she'd done. She looked fabulous and knows how to work a camera. After all, she has been in front of one for a long time and her husband lives behind one. Claudia is so much fun to work with. A fabulous sense of humour, confidence to the max and a way of looking down a lens that makes life so very easy. Since marrying David, she has taken an interest in photography herself - as you do. So, when we were finished with her, she turned my camera on me! I am not one for having my photo taken, but fair is fair I suppose....Hmmmm....
Claudia and David couldn't stay all afternoon, and left after about an hour or so, leaving Glynn and I to focus on Jayde and Sabrina. Jayde runs a retro clothing store in LA and had access to some wonderful clothes for herself and Sabrina.Their makeup and hair were impeccable and Glynn and I were just having too much fun. For another two hours we trawled these run down streets looking for locations and angles to avoid unnecessary anachronisms. For much of the time it meant keeping it simple, or rolling on the ground and shooting upwards. That's where and how I did my back. A long flight home to Australia that night didn't help either!
Photo of me by Claudia Christian
Thanks to David and Claudia for being so hospitable and helpful, Jayde and Sabrina for being such wonderful models and LA for not knocking down these beautiful old theatres!


Purple-Plastic-Princess said...

It's very very veryyyy BEAUTIFUL !

Parker Ellis said...

I love your photographs, they are classic yet creative.

Parker Ellis said...

I like your photographs a lot. They are classic, yet quite creative.

The Life, Times and Images of photographer, Shelton Muller

Images on this blog are copyright Shelton Muller