Pixel Peeping: Fr. Dempsey and Fr. Badenes' Location Shoots

Fr. Dempsey loves nature, the woods and hiking. Fr. Badenes grew up loving comic books. Easy right? Straightforward enough concepts to show with an image. That is, of course, until you get to the day of the shoot, and everything’s making way less sense.

Let’s start from the beginning. We need a location for each right? Chris looked through Los Angeles for a natural-ish looking place. (I mean, we do live in LA.) I looked for a comic book shop. He decided on the Culver City steps, a spot locals come to work out. It’s basically this large hill that separates the neighborhoods of Culver City and Ladera Heights, with these really high-reaching steps. It’s hard to get up of course, and it’s always crowded — but it’s close and looks natural-ish for the most part. I found this awesome garage turned comic book shop. Huge garage door, super easy to light.

Alright then, let’s schedule it.

We showed up unplanned to the comic book shop, and essentially got turned away. It wasn’t really anyone’s fault, but yeah — we didn’t ask beforehand. I had asked in the past if it was okay to shoot photography in the shop, especially as the owner of the place loved showing it off, but he didn’t specify any weird off days.

We found out that was a problem when the entire parking lot and front of the store was absolutely covered in old 50s and 60s film props. No one told us that they used the lot for selling ancient, used film props twice a month. Well, I guess we didn’t really ask.

So now what? We looked around and agreed. “Yup, there’s no way to do this.” Preparedness — it comes in handy for sure. We’ll come back to this. We ended up doing Fr. Dempsey’s portrait on the backside of the Culver City steps. Needless to say, we weren’t going to conquer the steps. Since there’s a parking lot, we came up that way and walked around.

Speaking of preparedness, we didn’t even bring cash for the parking lot. We probably owe the City of LA 10 bucks for doing this shoot. We probably spent half an hour buying time looking for a spot to shoot. Everywhere we turned, there were people walking, talking and just filling up our spot.

It only started making sense and falling into place right as we decided to break off the road and into the grass to take the photo. It was that moment where we found our spot. This shoot would have been infinitely easier if we knew that beforehand. From there, all I did was angle him in the best way against the sun and cranked my B1 up. The rest is history. The man in his element.

Going back to the comic book shop, once we got the OK from ownership, we finally did our shoot with Fr. Badenes. We even had some problems there, but really it boils down to this:

Fr. Badenes Location 1 final edit.jpg

Ask for the OK’s, check it out before hand, make sure you know what to expect. Try to prepare. Every second of prep would have helped us make these things easier, and probably look better. I’m already not the best looking dude. Might as well try and look like the best photographer. At least that’s the goal!

-R