The Blog

NASA Zipcar shoot

I've had the pleasure of working with ZipCar to shoot stories for them for their online magazine.  The people have been so wonderful, and call me whenever they have a story centered in the Bay Area.  Melissa Pocek had the opportunity to speak with the two head managers of the social media at NASA, John Yembrick (featured in the photos), and Jason Townsend. 


When John arrived to meet me, he informed me that he only had 30 minutes. I knew I had to work fast. And since I was not allowed to go "inside" NASA, we did the shoot at the Visitor's Center.  It's an interesting place, but essentially a giant tent that was constructed in the parking lot outside of NASA that acts like a mini museum/learning center.

In typical fashion, I got there super early, which was really helpful in this case to figure out how to make this shoot interesting and try and do as much prep work as I could.  I always want to give my clients, especially ZipCar who calls me again and again, the best images possible.  I also like to get as many different looks as possible because you never know what will strike the editor and connects to the vision he or she may have had in their head.  

Well, the Visitor's Center had an open "theater" setup inside where they were just finishing an informational movie about space.  I was able to have the guy that ran that off of a laptop put up an image of the Milky Way to use as a backdrop for John.    A nice woman who worked at the Visitor Center was my stand in and ended up holding a light for me for the shot of John.  For the second shot, I really wanted to find a NASA logo since it's what the story is about, and it's so incredibly recognizable.   We saw the "meatball" , as John called it, over by the small gift shop.  I moved signs and baskets and other things that were in the way to get a clear shot.  But a man up against a white wall , even with the NASA logo on it, was still dull.  There was a giant globe hanging from the middle of the tent which had various surfaces projected on it.  The images could be rotated and changed.  A man was giving a tour of this and teaching people about various scientific things (I didn't have time to pay attention to the lecture).  I went completely across the room (tent), with a long lens, and was able to shoot between other displays, the lecture around the globe,  and people walking by, while getting some of that globe as my foreground element , all with John still 50 yards away from me.  

I ran back and forth giving John some direction since he couldn't hear me (or barely even see me through all the obstacles). I placed my softbox ,conveniently hidden by the giant globe, over by John to get some light on him in the dark corner of the tent which I triggered with my radio transceiver on my camera.  I saw him several times looking at his watch, which is not stressful at all for me.  I knew I didn't have much longer, so I was counting on my idea working because I knew that he would not have stuck around for another setup.

I know what you're saying. . . "Photography is so glamorous"!  

Ok, so it might not be glamorous. . . but I LOVE it. :)

Here are some of the results. . . .