Gianni Neiviller 818-984-4413

El Capitan …

For the last three years in May my family, extended family, friends and extended friends have gone camping up at El Capitan State Beach and it’s a blast! The kids love it and so do we despite all the work that goes into camping. There’s nothing better than getting in touch with the mother earth. One of these trips I’d like to take it even further and do some real camping. We did go to a spot up in Tahoe National Forest about five years ago called Sierra City, that was a magical place, we had a creek running right behind our tent, great way to sleep with the sound of the water flowing all night long. Anyway, I digress. Back to El Capitan, two years ago my good friends Pat & Rick who actually started the tradition threw a themed potluck dinner at her campsite and the theme that year was Hats & Mustaches so I offered to take portraits of all the guests. I found the perfect set in their trailer. I set up two speedlites right outside of their trailer and had my subjects stand up against it. It was fun, everyone had a blast and loved the set up. Here’s a link to the Hat & Mustache 2013
This year the theme was Toga Party and I decided to up the ante and bring some real lighting. I brought my two ProFoto D1 Air Monolights and my Alien Bees Ring Flash so I had to borrow a generator to power them up which I thought was going to become a problem because the general rule at campgrounds is you have to turn off all generators at 8pm for the noise, luckily the generator I borrowed was the 900watt Honda which purrs, it’s nice and quiet. Pulled it off without a hitch, the camp host never even noticed nor did he notice the huge flashes of light which I was worried about as well because I thought other campers would have been bothered by it and complained to him. That in the end wasn’t an issue either because like the prior two years we knew 90% of the campers in our loop, that’s why I say “extended friends” there must have been like forty of us in all, I only know about half of them but all are invited to the potluck. The set was fun this time, several months before the date I asked everyone in the Facebook Group which was created by Pat to bring some prop, anything goes I told them as long as it had some sort of kitsch appeal and I asked for all sizes from little chotchkies to as big as they could fit in their car with all their camping gear, unfortunately I didn’t get that many big ticket items but luckily my daughters had their longboards which fit in perfectly. I lit the scene with one Profoto way in the back behind the bushes with a red gel, the ringlight had a blue gel and the other Profoto was the key light with a 7 ft. parabolic umbrella. As I started testing for the shoot I noticed the bottom of all my shots was blacked out and I couldn’t figure out why, little did I know at the time but my Canon 5D Classic was on its last legs. I wrote about it here on my blog in an entry on August 27th entitled moving motion. If you notice the first shots in the album I cropped to 16x9 to get rid of the blacked out portion of the frame and by pure accident I took one shot in portrait orientation and noticed the black part was gone and that’s when it dawned on me the mirror was not opening all the way and by sheer gravity it did when I shot vertically. So suffice it to say I ended up shooting the rest of the session in portrait to my dismay because half of my cool set was no longer in the frame. I set it it up for horizontal; landscape orientation and I didn’t have the time or the patience to re-set the set. In retrospect I should continued to shoot horizontally and cropped them all because the set and the 16x9 looks so much better. Oh well, lesson learned. Here is a link to that set of photos Toga 2014 Below is an iPhone video shot with the 8mm HD app of the Hat & Mustache Potluck.

Using Format