One of the universal truths about being a professional photographer is that not all jobs are created equal. An equally universal truth, is that the less-equal ones come along somewhat more regularly than the more-equal ones. Now don't get me wrong, every photographic job gives me a little bit of a thrill, and I'd much rather spend my day photographing breadrolls, or business men in expensive suits talking about capital expenditure and market share, than work behind a desk. But these jobs are small thrills, like sliding down a sanddune on a cardboard box, the job I'm sharing here is more of a full on loop-the-loop rollercoaster...
When I first got the call from Pianist Christof van der Berg and he started talking about a grand Piano on the beach at sunrise, and a paint covered piano, I knew that this was the ideal job to finish out the year on, so with meetings met and logistics settled the shoot was booked.
The studio shoot
Christof's requirements for the studio shoot were for some photographs of him with his pianos, and to do both some more serious images, as well as a few wackier ones involving a rather old and decrepit upright piano and a few pots of craft paint. Because of therather challenging nature of moving the pianos about we settled on making the images in his own space rather than trying to get everything into a photographic studio. Space was a little limited, and Christof only finished painting and tidying in the early hours of the morning before the shoot but it all worked out very well in the end.
For the more photographic-geeky among you, the lighting set-up was a combination of a 300w/s monolight with a 60cm softbox, a speedlight with an 80cm softbox and a bare speedlight, all triggered wirellessly. I used a Fijifilm X-T1 and 18 - 55mm and 35mm lenses.
The beach shoot
The sunrise portion of the shoot was somewhat more adventurous, and logistically challenging: grand pianos are heavy. Sohelp was enlisted, consisting of a friend with a bakkie and some very muscular helpers, and we made a point of selecting a spot with parking very close to the beach. We had to be set up and ready to go just before sunrise, that meant being on location by 5am, so lots of coffee was consumed. We (read: the muscular helpers) got the piano positioned on the beach without too much fuss, and we were ready to go just before the sun popped over the Helderberg mountains. The weather was as good as it could get, with scarcely a breath of wind, and some beautiful clouds for a lovely backdrop. All in we spent only about 20 minutes shooting before the light became harsh, and curious dogwalkers too plentiful. On the way back to Christof's studio we also decided to stop at a nearby park for a couple of extra shots to cap the morning off.
These images were also made with the Fujifilm X-T1, 15 - 55mm and 55-200mm lenses, and a single speedlight in a 80cm collapsible softbox. All the RAW images were processed in lightroom, and touched up in Photoshop where needed.
So there it is, a really cool job, with a really cool guy. Here's hoping for many more like it!