FIELD OF CHALLENGES
I love the beach. If you live on Maui, that’s a must. But after hundreds of photo sessions on the beach—weddings, maternity shoots, engagements, young family shoots, reunions and everything in between—sometimes you just want to photograph a field with flowers.
So that’s what I set out to do. The destination was a nice open field with yellow flowers and Maui’s Iao mountain area in the background. It seemed pretty nice.
But in photography, often the challenge comes from the unexpected.
On this day, the wind proved to be super challenging. I expected some wind, because this particular spot, about half between Wailuku and Maalaea, is probably one of the windiest areas on the island. But if you time it right, the wind can be a non-factor.
My timing proved off just a little. It was calm during the set-up. I even had a chance to mount my new Godox soft box. Then, things started to get complicated.
First, I could not get my two remote flashes to work. That vexed me since I had just done test shots before setting out, and everything worked fine. I feverishly worked to trouble shoot everything.
Meanwhile my beautiful model and wife Sahar grew bored. For several minutes, she watched me try in vain to sync the Canon remote app, Godox trigger and two off camera flashes. She finally resorted to selfies in the field.
As I worked through the issue, suddenly another professional photographer showed up. She had a new assistant in tow and asked if she could assist my shoot so she could show the new guy how to hold a reflector. Normally, this would be fine. Today, at this moment, it was a most irksome request. Still, I grudgingly relented.
It was embarrassing enough that my wife knew that my fancy new system was giving me trouble. But letting a colleague know—that would be just too much for my ego. So, I just pretended everything was fine. A few minutes later, they left but the wind came.
After several more minutes and plenty of curse words shouted into the expanse, I managed to figure out the problem. It was so embarrassingly simple my pride won’t even let me tell you the cause. Now, the wind was really picking up.
Just as I got Sahar out of selfie mode and correctly positioned her under the light—more wind. This time strong gusts. I thought I was ready for it. I had my big heavy c-stand firmly planted in the Valley Isle soil with sandbags anchoring for more support.
And still, the wind found no obstacle in my precautions. It blew and blew. It knocked my soft box off its stand, twice. It tipped over my light stand several times. Fortunately, the anchors precautions slowed the fall and I had a chance to catch the stand before it hit the ground.
Sahar’s hair flew around, my super solid tripod wobbled and the lighting conditions kept changing with the fast moving clouds. I thought the shoot was doomed. It certainly was close to doomed.
Then, things started clicking. I was able to re-secure the soft box, stabilize the lights and the lights were synced and firing. Glory!
I am still working on the project. Some of the initial images seem nice. For me they’re especially pleasing—not just for what they show but for the small victory they don’t.