Last Friday, the O2 team had a little rail jam/demo in the parking lot of the shop. I had originally heard about this event just a week prior and I was a little worried that it wouldn't come together with such short notice, but as it turned out, the event was a blast and an awesome kickoff to the season for me.
I used this opportunity as a dry run for the upcoming winter season. There are not many chances to shoot this type of stuff in a controlled environment, most of the time you are battling time, adverse weather, light, and occasionally dangerous or slightly illegal situations. Usually, the game is hurry up and wait. Make a best guess on the lighting, shoot some test shots, and hope for the best. If you are lucky, you night get three of four chances to get it right. The cool thing about shooting in the parking lot, is that I could shoot for like 5 hours straight, with nearly zero down time and I could adjust things on the fly and immediately see the results.
It was also a great chance to test out a bunch of new gear that I had acquired over the summer. I am most excited about the new (to me) Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 AF-S ED IF that I picked up this fall. I cannot tell you how awesome this lens is! It replaced the trusty Tokina 100-300m F/4 that I got rid of last spring. The extra stop is nice, but the real difference is how fast this lens focuses in low light. The old lens was all but worthless in anything but full daylight. I think we had about 5000w of video lights in that whole parking lot (pretty dim) and the new Nikon was consistently hitting it's mark and tracking accurately every time.
The other piece of gear that I was really using (read abusing) for the first time were the Atlas radio triggers by Phottix. I have actually been using these for several months now, but this was the first real time that I could put them through the paces. Like I have said before, I continue to be impressed by the performance and reliability of these so called "off brand triggers". My good buddy Ryan Payne volunteered to test their durability when he landed on one of my strobes with enough force to break the hotshoe off of the flash and mangle the light stand pretty good. I quickly swapped out the flash and stand and was back shooting in a few minutes.
Later in the evening we set up a fire barrel at the end of the up pipe and the above photo is pretty much the result. I am being a bit stingy with the photos from that night but check out this (LINK) for more images from the night. I have something special planned for the rest so you will just have to wait.