A Day at the Band House
My wife and I again had the opportunity to work with our friend Jeska Bailey for a fun shoot at Sealy Flats' "band house" -- a practice area and hotel for bands stopping to perform in San Angelo. The hotel portion of the building is decorated with some incredible music memorabilia but that area wasn't available to use for this shoot. Instead we took two of the front rooms in the practice area: kind of a den area and then the practice room itself. The texture on the walls was what made it stand out as a place with potential for photos... The den had some old block walls with a reddish color (salmon?) and great texture. The practice room was brick, painted blue and covered in small band posters.
The rooms had a lot of potential but the small space in the den made it a real challenge to get the lights wedged in and working the way I wanted them to. We had to do a little furniture rearranging just to get an open spot to shoot in. Once that was done, it was a matter of figuring out how to do a three-light setup in a small space. Ultimately it was a 22" Mola Demi beauty dish as the key light up and to camera left, a 28" Mola Setti with grid off to camera right as fill and a light directly behind Jeska on a short stand pointed at the wall for a background light. A fourth light -- 7" standard reflector with 10deg grid -- was added in as a hair light. Nicole was kind enough to hold that one while sitting on a desk just out of the frame.
In the second setup we headed into the practice room... Fortunately, there was a good bit more space to work with in there and there was a couch! It's not often I get to do a shoot while sitting comfortably on a couch. Jeska piled up a collection of music instruments at the far end of the room while I set up the Demi on a small grip arm and the Setti on a normal stand. The background light was positioned camera left with a 10deg grid pointed at the wall. I later had Nicole point a strobe at floor along with some careful side-flagging using black foam core to throw a little extra light on the left side of the equipment pile.
Everything worked out on this shoot and we had a lot of fun, but one of the main takeaways from this session was just how amazing the grids were at controlling the light in a small area. No grids would have resulted in light flying everywhere, killing the shadows and contrast that these images needed... I accidentally left the grids locked in the band house following this shoot and really felt the lack when doing some photos downtown a couple of days later.
While you're here, feel free to head over to Sealy Flats' Facebook page and see the latest happenings there. Jeska is one of the co-owners and has been working hard to get it ready for the grand re-opening of this iconic San Angelo restaurant and music venue.