By Preston Longfellow, WHMGTV
The early bird catches the worm, but since I’m neither bird nor worm, I find it peculiar to be on-route to some obscure vacant lot at 6:00 in the morning. As I take a third gulp of my coveted 7-eleven Brazilian Bold elixir, I recall reason for my early morning excursion– photographer Juan “Rain” Faidley from Nuaje Visions Photography Studio (pronounced nu-ah-jay).
Rain insisted that I attend this shoot in order to get a glimpse at what it takes to be a stand-out in the overly saturated photographer’s market. I was skeptical at first, but as it turns out, there was a great deal of wisdom in the words of this award winning, Maryland-based photographer.
“The best light to shoot is either early in the morning or late in the afternoon,” explains Rain. “I typically choose the early shift because you don’t have as many distractions from spectators and passerby’s.”
Today, Rain is shooting a fashion spread for an aspiring model’s portfolio. Also in attendance are two photographer assistants, a makeup artist, and a very pretty young lady that I assumed to be the model. I am envious of how energetic everyone seems to be, especially considering the time of day. I reach for my final gulp of coffee because it is clear that I am in the presence of dedicated and motivated professionals. I need to step my game up.
There is an air of precision looming over this vacant field that is foreign to me. As a journalist, I’m used to photographers using their cameras like machine guns…aim it in your victim’s general direction and fire repeatedly. You’re bound to get a shot competent enough to put in a newspaper (even if it is a little blurry—we keeps it real). Here, however, I am witnessing deliberate light placement, hand positions, facial expressions, lens choice, and camera positioning.
…and then it happens. A flurry of bright lights illuminate the field, resembling tiny lightning bolts attacking a poor, defenseless young woman. All is still; all is quiet. Rain takes the first shot of the day. There is a collective uneasiness as Rain studies the screen on the back of his camera. After what seems to be forever, he looks up, smiles, and beckons me over to share.
WOW!! IT LOOKS LIKE IT COULD GO DIRECTLY INTO A MAGAZINE! From my vantage point, I only see an empty field riddled with weeds, rocks, and broken glass. But what I see in Rain’s camera is a more exciting world filled with color, texture, and emotion. It’s not just a picture — it is art.
“We try to get it right in-camera as much as possible”, says Rain. “These images will still visit Photoshop, but I won’t be using it to correct bad photography technique.”
Rain continues. “I think a photographer should already have an image created in his head even before putting a camera to his eye. Everything you see here has existed in my mind for over a week. The colors, the lighting, the girl in the flowing dress, the…”
Rain’s monologue comes to an abrupt halt as he points to a discarded Coke bottle littering his otherwise immaculate stage. “Everything except for that,” he says introspectively as his assistant quickly runs over to throw the bottle out of the camera’s field of vision (the bottle probably hit a bird struggling to wrestle some worm out of the dew-soaked earth).
The shoot lasts for another 30 minutes. With care and precision, the Nuaje Vision team packs up the expensive photography gear. Rain states that the images from the shoot would not be available in time for this publication, but his office would send over some of his previous work for me to share.
Everyone jubilates over what had been created this morning. I promptly decline the after-party celebration at Starbucks, because I simply had better things to do.
…I’m going back to bed.