The Pagani

Just a quick, little story about the life of an event photographer...

An event photographer has to get the shot under any conditions. We don't have the luxury of setting up lights, directing people, or any actual planning. We have to anticipate what's going to happen and get in a position to tell the best story with just a click of the button.

I was photographing an event for Festival del Sole at Quintessa Winery. Pagani just happened to leave one of their cars sitting in the vineyard for the patrons to peruse. Once everyone was sitting down for dinner, I took off to capture some wide angle images of the setting. I walked by the Pagani just sitting there all alone in the dark.

It was begging for a photo, but how to light it? I had the flash on the camera, but I knew it wouldn't produce a desirable image. Then I saw a valet walking with a flashlight. Ding! I asked if I could borrow it for a few seconds, and he obliged. I set the camera on the tripod as low to the ground as I could. It was so dark I couldn't even see the car through the viewfinder. I guessed at the exposure (25 seconds, f/11, 64 ISO) and proceeded to light the car with his flashlight. I walked around the car shining the light on it -- a technique called "light painting." 

I didn't want to keep the valet from his job, so I had one chance to get it right. Here's the result:

bob mcclenahan event photographer napa pagani light painting