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Step Right Up!

  • “In this image-crazed world of ours, you need your pictures to shout.”

Thinking up a shot like this, I feel like a carnival barker. Ozzie Smith! The Wizard of Oz! Looks like he plays shortstop from five different positions at once! See the bearded lady and the amazing fire-eating contortionist!

It makes sense, actually. In this image-crazed world of ours, you need your pictures to shout.

So how do you get a cool picture of this magical ballplayer? Mirrors!

Oh, boy. Mirrors are great, but they are fragile, heavy, expensive, and highly reflective. I always remember stuff like that too late.

We got them out to the infield okay. Got them tweaked and torqued, polished and cleaned, sighted and sandbagged. Ozzie was not in the picture, he was standing right next to the camera. He was lit with a strobe on a huge movie boom, flying overhead of the whole scene, just out of frame and looking back at the camera. I controlled the spill of light with a tight honeycomb spot grid1. Otherwise, it would have been flare city back at the lens.

Dusk was coming and I noticed something. Our white elephant of a grip truck was reflected in every mirror. A not-so-minor detail I managed to overlook while setting up.

Couldn’t move the truck—all the power lines were running out of it. Okay, white reveals, black conceals! Quick race to the nearest fabric store. “Hi, I need to buy every yard of black material you have in this place!” Retailers love desperate photographers.

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