Zack has been an inspiration for me since 2006, roughly the beginning of of my professional career. I’ve always been fascinated with music, so music photographers hold a special place in my heart. Jeremy Cowart, Annie Leibovitz, the late Jim Marshall, Mark Seliger, and Zack Arias, to name a few music photographers I love, bring two artistic mediums together in different ways, all of which speak to me as a person.
Zack teaches a lighting workshop and has a DVD called the OneLight, which is focused on off-camera lighting (my favorite way to shoot). You’ll work with speedlights, Pocket Wizards, softboxes, umbrellas, and a number of other light modifiers. You will also do some math. Sorry, it’s just part of the process. I’ve wanted to attend this workshop for years, and 2010 was my year, it seems. I chose DC, and aside from a monster $187 ticket for being a single-occupant driver on a freeway, not a LANE, mind you… an entire freeway (like I could possibly know anything about that, thanks a lot officer Sensitivity of the VAPD), it was a great workshop. I’m pretty comfortable with lights already, although I admit I rarely use speedlights, it’s usually my Alienbees, so it was nice to gain speedlight experience with the modifiers I already use. The math aspect was one that I was specifically interested in. I hate math. To quote Will Ferrell’s George W. Bush, “math is very much a part of the Axis of Evil.” I think the officer who decided an Oregonian didn’t deserve a warning about a violation he couldn’t possibly know about is also in the Axis of Evil.
To explain why I wanted the math aspect, I’ll step back 4 years or so. I love natural light, but back in the day I loved natural light partially because I was scared of flashes, strobes, umbrellas, and all of the off-camera wizardry. I didn’t understand it, so therefore I loved natural light 🙂 Now, I still love natural light to this day, however; I feared strobes. I decided I didn’t like avoiding something because I was afraid of it, that’s a foolish rationale, so I bought a Canon 430EX and an Alienbee 400 with a standard shoot-through umbrella. Major fail. I didn’t get it and I didn’t do it well… so I set it all aside for “a while.” Like over a year “a while.”
Then I found Zack’s work. I saw a Flickr photo with the tag under it “Screw you all, I still love jump shots.” I instantly loved the photo and the photographer. It was now 2008 and I started paying a lot of attention to people with lights, Zack in particular. Fresh, clean, easy to understand lighting. I tried my hand at lighting again. This time I fell in love and have been using them more frequently ever since. All because I decided not to be afraid of something and was willing to make some atrociously bad images until I felt comfortable.
Fast forward to why I want the math. I don’t want to think about how to light, I just want to do it… I want it to be as second nature as aperture, ISO, and shutter speed are. That’s the “why” behind wanting the OneLight DVD and workshop experience. This July I got both, and I am so thankful – bucket list item, for sure. Zack put on a legit program, not forgetting Zack’s right hand Dan, and I highly recommend it. I’m still digesting the math, as it is my weakness, so we’ll see if I ever get to the place where it is second nature.
Zack demonstrated the techniques, then we implemented them. Pretty simple, huh?
Dan gets lazy, but Zack shows him how to do it right. We got turned loose to do our own thing, these are some of the images I came up with.