Out in the Woods and back to the Film with The Travis Smith Project


It’s always an interesting time when a family member asks you to take photos.  My brother Tyler (Accented by the divine in the photo above) is lucky enough not to share the same blood as I do.  I’d gladly take some of his genes, however, because he is a really talented guitarist.  I’ve always said that if I could choose any talent, it would be the ability to sing and play guitar. I can do neither, lol. Now, if you’d like to hear a shoddy version of “Amazing Grace” or “Ode to Joy”, I can accept those requests.

Tyler asked me to come out and photograph the band he is a member of, The Travis Smith Project. He mentioned that these guys have a hard time getting together, unless they’re on stage, and especially to pose for photos. Each year, these guys are invited to a cookout with friends, far back in the woods of York, SC. Guests camp in tents or rent RV’s and let loose to share drinks (lots of drinks) and homemade food with each other.  It was a warm little get together.  It was my kind of setting.

Before everyone enjoyed their drinks a little too much (except for Travis– love you, mean it– LOL!), we embarked into and around the woods for a few photos of the band.  It was just about perfect lighting.  I brought my new “boom stick”, the Flashpoint XPLOR 600 HSS TTL Battery-Powered Monolight for Canon (AD600).  See how I went all technical?  That’s what nerds do when they get a new toy.


This light can freakin’ overpower the sun.  I’m a big fan.  This was the perfect shoot to test this bad boy out, and boy did it deliver. I like calling this light the boomstick, because it is completely wireless.  YEsssSSssssSS!  Man, I’ve always wanted one of these. I can’t wait to take this baby to a wedding!!!

I wanted to capture a huge array of styles for these guys to choose from. I would nail the correct exposure, and then play around with over and under exposure, light flares and sun spots, etc. In some of the images, I underexposed them intentionally, so that I could bump up the exposure in Lightroom and make them all grainy on purpose.  Grain is so rock and roll.

Want to hear about my other toy?  I treated myself to three, total.  I bought an old Canon Ae-1 film camera.  SO rock and roll. I can’t wait to play around with the boomstick and the film camera.  They can talk to each other, thanks to the remote trigger that came with the monolight. This camera was produced in 1979.

Holy crap.  I’m livin’ the dream.

My third new gift to myself? Film developing tanks and reels.

Coming up next? Chemicals for the home development of film.

I can’t wait to shoot film again.

I find it interesting that I’m seemingly backtracking on photography gear.  I no longer want the newest, greatest technology.  I’m buying cameras older than I am. I’m cool with digital, and appreciate it, but I want my analog technology back.  I do, after all, have a degree in analog communications. Why not keep it classic?

I’ll look forward to sharing some of the results of what images I’ll create from a film camera, 15 years later than the last time I used one. I shot two rolls of the film the other day, and found myself giggling, out loud, in the joy of advancing the film and hearing that good ol’ film click of the trigger.

I’m sorry I left you, film.  Can we make up and be friends again?  I’ll treat you right this time.

I hope you’ll enjoy some of these fully digital images of The Travis Smith Project! 🙂 As the shoot progressed, it was easy to see that these guys really love each other.  They might be tough and try to say otherwise, but I could see it.  Hopefully, you can too 🙂

Below is a music video that Film sent to me.  It might be cool to listen to while you’re scrolling images, but you’ll probably want to watch it too, because they’re wearing costumes ❤  HOORAY COSTUMES!!!!


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