Thursday, June 14, 2007
Lori Adamski-Peek - Motion Sickness
Lori Adamski-Peek has learned to trust her digital equipment in even the stickiest situations
“I find being very familiar with my equipment and exactly what it's capable of is important,” she continues. “With digital, I never seem to find a need to bracket. This really makes my job easier. It isn't feasible to have the time to shoot every shot in perfect light, but we do shoot a lot of sunrise and sunset shots and then adjust with lighting or diffusion if the natural light isn't good—such as heavy clouds or high, middle-of-the-day light.”
Adamski-Peek can adjust the lighting with flash, fill cards and studio strobes, even when she's shooting athletes in motion because, unlike a typical sports photographer, she's photographing events that she's also directing. Whether it's for an advertising client or an editorial shoot, she's called on to recruit professional talent—many times current or former collegiate or world-class athletes—to provide the level of expertise required for the level of perfection her images achieve. Although her shoots are heavily planned, they're not so scripted that she doesn't leave room for magic to happen. Her all-digital workflow often makes that magic more likely.
“Spontaneity is very important to me, but I don't consciously think about it,” she says. “I think it comes through in my work because I have people actually move. When I shoot athletes in active shots, I let them be athletes. A digital workflow really helps with the active shots for many reasons. I know exactly when I have the shot, so I find myself shooting more variety. It also allows me to make immediate adjustments to setup if needed, without having to waste time trying to match the great shot I just got on the Polaroid but might not be able to capture exactly the same way again.”
That her images and her workflow seem so refined is made even more amazing by the fact that Adamski-Peek has only been shooting digitally for three years. Like many photographers, her conversion story is one of convincing a client to take a chance on a new and seemingly untested technology. She persuaded her client that to achieve the result they had envisioned, digital was the only way to go.
“I felt strongly that the look they wanted couldn't be shot on transparency film,” she says. “I had a very good and open relationship with this particular client, and we discussed shooting the work on digital. Luckily, they were very trusting and we set out to southern Utah and the central coast of California to shoot running, hiking, camping and rock climbing on a Contax 645 camera with a 16-megapixel Kodak digital back. For the first couple of shoots, we rented the digital equipment, and we've never looked back.”
Although she has worked with medium-format cameras, it's the recent advancements in resolution in 35mm-format cameras that have allowed Adamski-Peek to never look back. She integrated the Canon EOS-1Ds and EOS-1Ds Mark II bodies into her workflow as soon as they were available, enabling her to continue to use her favorite fast Canon lenses and still maintain the speed and mobility that allow her to move freely as a sports photographer around a remote location. In this way, Adamski-Peek can concentrate on the things most photographers would rather worry about instead of equipment—things like content, composition and lighting.
“We sometimes create studio lighting on site, depending on the use of the final product,” she says. “Sometimes it isn't appropriate to have the image look ‘lit' and sometimes it fits the project. My lighting, indoors and outdoors, tends to be very simple. If we light at all, it's often with only one head. I'm finding we're using strobes outside more often to enhance a day that might be very flat, overcast and unappealing. Keep in mind that I work with a full-time digital tech and at least two assistants at all times to help with these types of situations, as the equipment needs become quite intense. For what we do, it's imperative to be portable.”
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