Pinup at Eagle Field 2015: My first on location pinup shoot

Anyone that appreciates the work that I’m doing right now owes today’s model’s husband a huge debt of gratitude (as do I). For over a year now he’s been on me almost daily encouraging me to get out there and shoot the kind of work you’re seeing on this site. While I couldn’t have done it without the love and support of my wife, Johnny is the one that convinced me to seriously consider shooting more sensual and artistic work.

A collector of vintage cars, military vehicles and paraphernalia, Johnny and Christina go to all the car shows, drags, and airshows. He sees, week in and week out, other photographers taking the kinds of shots that I’d lament about not getting to take myself. “You can do this. You just have to get out there.”

Shia gif just do it

Johnny's daily message to me.

He’s sort of my own Shia Labeouf, only without all of the annoying character traits, saggy skinny jeans, braided mullet, and ill-fitted shirts.

I think I’d just gotten in my first shoot for just me when he started his reminders about the 2015 Eagle Field Fly-In. Lots of people in pinup, vintage planes, military vehicles, the works. It was going to be great and I HAD to be there.

At first I was only going to go and check it out. Walk around with my camera, just a few natural light shots of the goings on and that would be it. Next year I’d go all out. But then Christina decided to dress up. They’d have Pearl there (the command car) and at the very least I could get some pinup practice in.

So on a very hot Saturday I packed up the car and headed out to Firebaugh (apparently named after the ridiculous temperatures combined with feeling like you’re up in the bough of a tree getting wracked by wind).

Here’s what I learned on my first reconnaissance mission.

  • Bring lots of sunblock
  • Bring lots of water
  • If you’re shooting with modifiers bring an assistant
  • Bring a model or two
  • Bring property releases
  • Most importantly, do your best to find your vehicle’s owner early in the day

That last point is simply par for the course these days. There are a lot of people with cameras doing unscrupulous things out there. While vehicle owners love for the average person to get a snapshot next to their little piece of history, they become a bit worried when they see a guy that looks like he knows what he’s doing. Many of the pilots there were from down south, so it’s not unheard of for them to have someone mention that they saw their vehicle in Playboy or the like without their permission.

And yes, if you’re just getting started in photography, you DO need permission from a property owner to include it in your paid for work. Permission isn’t “sure, go ahead and shoot there.” Permission is a signed piece of paper just like a model release.

So, after one long, hot, dry, windy, exhausting day, I came away with some fantastic images of my friend’s wife to give to him as a ‘thank you’ for constantly reminding me to “Just do IT!”

Eagle Field Pinup

The last waning moments of sunlight on that hot, windy day out at Eagle Field 2015.

About the images

We shot with the command car as soon as I got there, around 4:30 in a quick 30 minute spurt between events. Because of the wind and the angry sun hovering overhead, we had to seek out the shelter of break provided by some trees at the edge of the property. I’d have loved to have shot there for an hour or more, but it is what it is.

The second set we tried right after the first, but it was too damned hot and windy so we headed back out after the delicious dinner in the air hanger. Turns out, that’s the perfect time to shoot, while everyone is eating. Again, we got in only a short session because of the time constraints provided by the setting sun, but it was enough to get some work that I’m proud of.

I’m still trying to find my voice in post with pinup. While I can pull off natural light, I still love my lit work more. I’m also discovering that more muted tones and lots of texture appeal to me for pinup, both on location and in studio. But what do you guys think?

Lit v. Natural Light?

Saturated v. Desaturated?

Clean v. Textured?