Was pleased that American Cranes and Transport selected one of my images for the October cover. Again, it boils down to what’s the subject….
American Cranes and Transport: June Cover
After two days of miserable weather at ConExpo 2020, the sky began to clear and for a time we were treated to a blue sky with great clouds. Walking by a Kobelco Crawler Crane, I highlighted the yellow boom against what was going on above. Keeping it simple and at the same time creating a lot of space for text if it were to be chosen from my cover submissions.
American Cranes and Transport, April 2020 Cover
Trying to capture the scope of a trade show on the scale of ConExpo really requires some height. To tell the story of the size of the show, I’ve shot from parking garages, rooftops, hotel rooms and exhibit scaffolding.
Over the weekend prior to the show, I shot what I hoped would be a cover image from an adjacent parking garage rooftop, after getting permission from the very nice manager of the hotel that owned it (trespassing to get a shot is not advised, especially in Las Vegas). Nice light, most of the crane lot in frame. Only one problem, most of the show was not in nice light and if you attended the show you probably didn’t see the blue skies of the weekend. The image that was actually was chosen by my editor was shot by me out a hotel window of the Sahara Hotel across the street from the crane lot right after one of the rainstorms that confronted us during the first few days of the show. And yes that’s the parking garage in the distance where I shot what I thought would be the cover….
The Last Tradeshow in America….for awhile
ConExpo is the largest equipment trade show in the United States. Held every three years, in open lots around the Las Vegas Convention Center, it normally draws visitors from all over the world. I have attended ConExpo for almost three decades and shot the last four shows for American Cranes and Transport. Going into the show, the big challenge was that the old lot where most of the cranes were displayed had been sacrificed for the Convention Center expansion. Having shot three shows at the old location, I had a pretty good idea how the light moved throughout the day across the lot and where I needed to be to make the best use of it with the various exhibits. And I had my shooting notes from the previous shows. All that went out the window as the cranes moved to a new “temporary” lot about 1/4 mile away.
With COVID-19 at its infancy in the U.S., I arrived on March 6th and spent the weekend prior to the show, watching the light while avoiding being flattened by the flurry of forklifts and activity as the last minute preparations were made to the exhibits. The weekend was beautiful and had great light. Then for the first time that I can remember at a ConExpo, the weather went downhill fast and we opened the show to rain. Over the course of the week, the COVID-19 count in the U.S. climbed rapidly and ConExpo made the national news as the “last trade show being held in the U.S”. Most of the shooting opportunities were crammed into the last two of five show days because of weather and the show ended up closing a day early as the seriousness of the COVID-19 crisis became apparent.
I love the challenge of shooting trade shows of this magnitude and telling the story. With poor weather and COVID-19, I found the challenge amped up to an extreme. This is the scene that greeted me in the first 5 minutes of the show walking onto the crane lot.
American Cranes and Transport, March 2020
The Fourth Bauma and the Z6
Attending my fourth Bauma in Munich Germany and shooting for my friends at KHL magazine. It should be interesting both from the magnitude of the show and the fact that I’ll be using the new Nikon Z6 mirrorless body as well as my D5. So far the Z6 has not disappointed and has actually been consistently outperforming my expectations. Bauma is the largest equipment trade show in the world, held every three years at the trade fair grounds outside Munich. Its massive, a sensory overload for any first timer with 3,700 exhibitors from 63 countries spread over 137 acres, 44 of which are enclosed. Attendance is expected to exceed 500,000! Consistent with past shoots I usually arrive two days before the trade show opens and walk the show grounds to get a feel for exhibits and light. This is where the press pass comes in handy. The pre-show activity is nothing less than a frenzy with well over 1,000 forklifts and other equipment as well as thousands of tradespeople racing around and putting the final touches on the exhibits. And like magic, all this activity will be done by Monday morning when the crowds start lining up to enter. This is one of the tower cranes taken with the Z6 and Z 24-70 f4.5 shot in B&W in camera. Just love that ability!
Nikon Z6; Nikon Z24-70f4.5
Why I keyword
In October, I received an e-mail from an editor looking for an image of a crane operator to support a story they were doing on operator training. Usually, in the assignments I have shot, the crane is the subject and due to the size of the crane the operator is a very tiny part of the image…if he/she can be seen at all. I had till the next morning to get back to the editor so that evening I filtered my images and from 10,000 plus finished images of cranes I had two featuring crane operators where I had releases. I found them in about 5 minutes and had them off to the editor that night. Four weeks later, the image was published. I never would have found those two images from 10,000 plus shot over the past decade had it not been that I had attached some basic keywords to those images. If you keyword when you input your images from your cards, it soon becomes a habit. A habit that just got reenforced by this experience.
Sometimes its not what you think…
In shooting the cover for the August issue of American Crane and Transport, I had what I thought was a slam dunk idea for a cover. Literally outside my 16th floor office was a 51 story building going up. I started shooting the building from the time the tower crane was assembled. What a unique shot I thought. Straight down on a Tower Crane, a perspective most people don’t see or get to shoot. Up 2,3,8,12 stories and I shot all the way, along with the conventional from the ground up shot. When it came time to submit, in went the “unique perspective shots” along with the traditional. Then the call came from the editor. “We are really struggling to select one from several we like, would you like to be the tie-breaker?” So I selected my favorites and had a couple of hours to get back to them. In the end, I picked the traditional shot. Why not the “unique perspective”. The image was to highlight the magazine’s lead story, key word “story”. The more I looked at the tower crane below me in the “unique perspective” shots, the more I realized that they just didn’t have the impact of standing under a 12 story tower crane in operation – that’s what your mind expects to see and if it doesn’t see that it doesn’t scream Tower Crane. So in supporting the magazine’s lead story, we needed to make the reader’s mind identify quickly that this was the tower crane issue, not struggle to figure out why we were looking down on the crane. It was an important lesson for me and a reminder that its about telling the story, not just about capturing what was a unique perspective. In the end the story won out, as it should have.