Friday, February 4, 2011

The Forest Rangers Tower

The Forest Rangers Tower

A 4x4 enthusiast friend of mine called me one evening "You've got to see this I'm coming to pick you up, grab your camera gear" he said, and before I knew it we were riding into the night in his jeep.
After about twenty minutes on a winding dirt road through the forest, we arrived at a clearing, and I immediately saw what he was so excited about: A decommissioned fire lookout tower stood alone against an amazing starry backdrop.

The moment I saw the tower, I knew I wanted a light inside the observation deck. This was easier said than done though, since the stairs were caged and locked. Not to be deterred, me and my faithful companions began to exercise our nearly forgotten monkey-bar skills. Using a sing that read something on the lines of "Do not climb, you will die" as a foothold, we managed to get past the cage and up the stairs.

Met by a locked door at the top, I climbed past the railing, over a four story drop, and into a window. Inside I found that the tower had become a popular pigeon roost, insomuch that I had trouble finding a spot where I could set down a strobe and still want to pick it up once the shoot was over.

After making VERY sure that my poverty wizard was working properly, we climed down and got ready for the shoot.

Setting the camera on a tripod, I dialed in a 30 second exposure, this gave the sky a good exposure, and gave me enough time for my flash shenanigans. After releasing the shutter, I first manually triggered the remote flash, then used a handheld strobe to paint the towers base with three low-powered shots. While I was doing this, I had a friend run around with a third strobe, and paint some light onto the surrounding trees.

It took about 15 tries to get a well lit shot without any residual silhouettes, or over/under exposed sections of the scene.

Lastly - in the spirit of "don't try this at home" - I really recommend you avoid risking you wel0lbeing in order to get a good shot. In retrospect, climbing that tower wasn't the brightest of ideas. Since I have yet to see a shot worth dying for I truly suggest abiding by signs that read "Don't... or you'll die" - and hey, even if the shot IS worth dying for, it's no fun missing out on all the ensuing fame and fortune :)

1 comment:

Moshe said...

great pic!
found it on google earth after running in this forest.

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