Pipes Idea

People ask me where I come up with the ideas for my conceptual work, so I thought I'd try to answer by walking through a picture making process. I can't guarantee that the shot will come to fruition since my location is very tenuous and temporary, but hopefully I can get this done by Monday morning. The powers that be are doing some construction on a street in my neighborhood. Installing what I can only imagine are new water mains or something. But in the process, they've left large, by which I mean four foot diameter, tunnel segments on the street for the weekend. Here's what they look like:


I know, they don't look like much, but I think they have potential. At first I thought of just doing a silly portrait of someone inside one of them. Boring.  Then I thought they looked like something out of Super Mario Brothers and considered doing a send-up of that. Not my style and also boring.

pipe-diagramIn the end I've come up with an idea of shooting people on the edge with ropes and hopefully climbing gear about to spelunk down into them. It'll be all about the lighting. Speedlights down in the tubes lighting the people from below, one or two strobes to edge/backlight the people, and maybe one around camera position to fill from the front. Probably best to try it around dusk Sunday night, or even dawn.

How many people? I could do it with one climber if I have to. Two would be better, that way one person could be halfway in and the other feeding their rope. Ideally it would be three by adding someone down lower feeding the rope to the belayer. Best would be if I could get some fake smoke, but I'm not going to push my luck.

Potential trouble spots are that it will be illegal. I'm sure a bunch of people climbing all over big dangerous construction materials would not be looked kindly upon, and because of that I can't get a permit.  The good thing is that I plan to shoot quick and be out of there before anyone complains.

Again, if I had my druthers, I'd have big lights and an hour or two to play with lighting before having an hour or two to shoot and try stuff out, but that's not what this is about. It's about doing the best with what I can get away with. Maybe we'll be there 15 minutes.

Another option would be to shoot the pipes and then shoot the people at my place and composite the two together. Could do if I have to, but I'd rather try to get all that work done in camera.

Now I'm just got to find 3 people, an assistant or two, and some climbing gear. The things I do for my art.

UPDATE 7:29PM Saturday:

Went to shoot some reference shots. I think it might be easier to do as a composite. Will need to replace the background with a prettier street through. Now I need to shoot some people at my place tomorrow.