Shooting On The Fly

Such a situation existed this past Fall while completing a day session photographing Forbes Bros, Milk River powerline removal/install  operation near the US border in southern Alberta.

This was a very fast paced operation at three different sites, all about half a kilometer from each other. For safety reasons we often had to shoot from considerable distance using long lenses, although there were times when conditions allowed us to move in closer allowing for different perspectives and a variety of lenses.

We were able to use many lenses in my photography kit including my Zeiss 15 mm Distagon; Nikkor 19 & 24 mm PCE (Perspective Control Electronic diaphragm) lenses and a few of my telephoto and zoom lenses, and where possible a single Profoto lighting setup for a bit of fill lighting.

Image framing and subject placement within the frame all had to happen on the fly and my assistant did an amazing job of anticipating lighting needs and placement. The workers were incredibly impressive, always on the go, maintaining high safety standards, no evidence of meal for coffee breaks!!!!, and they all seemed to know every aspect of the operation while often interchanging roles as conditions or timing ruled. Honestly, after 20+ years of shooting almost every type of industrial operation this was one of the most impressive operations I have photographed.

It wasn’t easy, temperatures were constantly in the 30s and we were mostly on our feet (except when shifting the SUV between operations) shifting from position to position, but the creativity and excitement of viewing such an interesting work site always made things rewarding and fun!

In spite of not being able to ‘control the scene’, pose subjects, carefully manipulate lighting, and complete several takes, our client was ecstatic with the results of our coverage whereby we were able to provide 140+ final selects covering every aspect of the operation. Can’t wait for the next shoot that may very likely be a very different and gratifying location somewhere in the mountains!