We have been doing quite a bit of advertising and editorial shooting at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport this year for various clients. It is a exciting but far from easy location to work in…. besides the inherent dangers of shooting on what is basically a freeway with large aircraft moving around too, the temperatures during the Phoenix summers which can be amplified up to 5 degrees by the thermal mass of the cement. Its hot.
In late May we were covering a story on baggage handling both above ground and within the underground baggage distribution center too. The underground area is a massive complex of computer controlled chutes and ramps coming in and disappearing in every direction..like something out of a retro sci fi movie. While most of these areas are high security that are off limits to photography, we did shoot in a few of the subterranean hubs that processed oversized luggage.
Because of the limitations in time and access that editorial photographers must work around when shooting in locations that will not stop to say cheese, we shot the assignment using a mobile lighting crew that is great for covering a lot of territory in a short period of time with a minimum of set-up and maximum flexibility. A couple of assistants, each with a speed light & monopod and a third to handle a bag of extra gear, a cooler and model release acquisition. Shooting in higher risk environments like this where everything is moving, the noise levels require ear plugs and there are multiple levels of safety and security issues to deal with at all times usually means there is a site safety or security escort for us. Having one of our own crew keeping their eyes on the bigger picture is a preference of mine in these sensory overload kind of environments because my guys know how to look ahead of me for in coming risks a little better, feed me information as we go and also help communicate with our subjects with hand signals if audibles are not possible. In situations like this (airports, race tracks, industrial plants, etc.) if the budget does not allow for this extra person, I don’t hesitate to ask the client or art director just to be a extra set of eyes and plugged ears for us.
Here are some images from this shoot as well as a few stills that our crew shot. These are pre-cropped…during the shoot, the images were all designed to include large negative spaces for over text. Art Director: Ann Harvey. Thanks to Bryan Kinkade for 1st Assisting and our interns, Alex Fejes & Susan Luther.