More Fun in Seattle: Full Write-up

All things being equal, I would rather shoot someone than be shot by them. But that wasn't gonna fly last Sunday when I popped in on the Seattle Flickr group meetup while on a trip to see Chase Jarvis.

But getting shot at is a small price to pay for getting to see one of these legendary Seattle Strobist meetups first-hand. Darien Chin, the guy who did the cool multi-flash car shot, had another one of his speedlight-hungry concepts in mind for me. So I got to be the model for a change.

More on that, and the video Chase Jarvis' crew made from the evening, after the jump.

Now that I have been to one, I can tell you that attending one of these Seattle shindigs is a total hoot, and worth flying 3,000 miles for. I spent the evening walking around talking to people and checking out all of the various setups. But I also had a turn at getting shot in Brittney's famous bear hat (and in about a dozen other ways) and trying to keep a straight face when Robyn kept requesting an particular type of not straight face. I'd say more, but this is a family blog.

Suffice to say that this group knows how to have fun.

The photographic highlight of my night was getting shot by Darien Chin (AKA Knottyy on Flickr) in the photo seen at the top of the post. It was a great example of the collaborative spirit of the evening -- Darien stole borrowed speedlights with Pocket Wizards from as many people as he could find.

He arranged them on the floor, set mostly on 1/64th power. There was one at 1/32nd power which was aimed a little up to catch my face. My job was to sweep them up, like so much trash.

The fill light was from an White Lightning monobloc in an octa, which was on a large light stand which itself was being held up by volunteers to get extra height. For those of you who I have not met, I am very tall -- about 6'11", and you have to take special measures to light me form the top. (Hey, whatever it takes.) It was positioned overhead and a little behind me, to bring up the shadows. (You can see a setup shot here.)

Add a few more speedlights (clearly we did not have enough in the frame yet) to light the background and to separate me from both back sides, and we were ready to go.

This was a cool concept for Darien to think up, much less to execute. He did some with Chase in the frame, too, to up the average attractiveness quotient a little.

This was not an easy shot to pull off on a technical basis. But having fifty photogs in the room made for no shortage of ideas and opinions. Nice one, Darien. But get a prettier lead subject next time...

Here is the video Cody shot from the night, including some pretty spiffy time-lapses that show just how big this hangar was:

Chase has a post with a lot of back story on his site, here. Check it out if you are thinking of having one of these in your own town. (And if you are not thinking that, you should be...)

After that it was off to Chase's new studio for one of those cool "after parties" which I almost never get invited to. Great food, great people and lots of good conversation. Chase and the crew know how to roll, and this place is equipped to the nines.

A couple hours into the evening, someone broke out the Wii set (on a huge projection screen, of course) and a long string of Guitar Hero battles soon followed. Chase offered up some respectable riffs as the host. But it turns out that Danny Ngan, whom you may know as the guy who does all of those jumping photos on Flickr, is like, a 9th-degree Guitar Hero black belt. Dude can wail.

I think there was actually some close-up video done while Danny, who is seen playing above, with chase watching. But it is pretty useless because the camera was only filming at 30 frames per second. Seriously, he was amazing. Just throwing up six-digit scores left and right.

The Seattle folks are taking this lighting meetup thing and running with it. But there are lots of other meetups happening all over the world now. You can search for one here, and I highly recommend trying it.

Just do not challenge Danny Ngan to a Guitar Hero contest, because he will smoke your butt. And watch out for Robyn if she shows up, too. She'll bust you up laughing and then shoot you when you lose it.

Thanks for a great night, guys.

:: Slideshow from the 1/20/08 Seattle Meetup ::
:: Chase's Report Here ::
:: How to Plan a Meetup ::


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