Mariano Rivera for JBL at Steinbrenner Stadium
A few months ago, I mentioned I had a top secret assignment. Well, having an opportunity to work with DONER on an assignment for JBL with Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees was an awesome experience and one I’ll never forget. Now that it’s published, I’m proud to let everyone see the finished product.
Attached is the final advertisement that is currently in the New York Yankees 2013 Annual Yearbook, some out takes and behind the scenes photos. You can see it in the printed book and in the online version.
The backstory of this assignment started when I joined Wonderful Machine a few months ago. Little did I know that the creative agency in Detroit, DONER would need a sports photographer in Florida in less than a week for this shoot and they found me on the Wonderful Machine site.
I received an email from DONER and because I was traveling pulled together my team of Amanda Sosa Stone, Lynn Kyle and Elizabeth Nicole (my Producer for this shoot). They were awesome and helped me estimate and produce this on location assignment with arguably the best closer in Major League Baseball history in less than a week.
Once we had all the details wrapped up and the date set, we started pulling in help to put it all together. Chad Andreo and Sean Murphy were my assistants, Zac Hardy was the digital tech/model stand in, Anna Barcis was the “Safety First” production assistant, Anne Boeckh provided hair and makeup, Alan Cowart from First Unit was the grip ninja and Ken Spera and Alex Drukas from DONER came from Detroit to make sure I didn’t screw it all up. On top of that we had a dozen or so models from Benz Models and Talent depending on me to give them incredible direction..just kidding…I just yelled “one two three” an awful lot.
The day before the shoot we had a scheduled scout appointment to find the locations that best suited the creative concept. Unfortunately, I decided while on the way to get into my first accident in over 22 years of driving. It was Valentines Day, raining and I had an appointment with the New York Yankees and my advertising clients. I made it to Tampa about a half an hour behind but hit the ground running. Most importantly, nobody was injured.
The morning of, we all met and got the gear ready, double checked everything and started getting set up. Below are some set up shots of the morning and the behind the scenes from the shoot.
When Mariano arrived it was game time. We had two set ups (really had three but we didn’t use the third) and wanted to get the shots as quickly as possible as not to hold him up. He was very nice and I think once he realized my goal was to get him out of there quickly, he was even more happy. We were very fortunate to have a clear vision from the client on this assignment. Ken Spera, the VP of Creative for DONER (Also the man who created the Geico Gecko we later learned) sketched out an amazing layout. All I had to do was show Mariano the sketch and then lead him into his role.
For the photo geeks out there, I only used one large light for the seamless shots with Elinchrom heads. I used the Nikon D800 exclusively and can not tell you how happy I was with the file quality and detail in the image. The final image for the layout was a very tight crop and the detail held up amazingly. The D800 does take a little finesse but I’m getting used to it and super happy I chose to use it on this shoot. For the layout shot, I used three lights. A silver beauty dish with a grid on his face, hand held by Sean, a DIY ProGlobe powered by an Elinchrom Ranger Quadra behind and to camera left held by Chad and a 3×4 soft box in front of him camera right for some fill. The reason I had my assistants holding the lights was that Mariano was walking through the set and I wanted the light to hit him in a very specific place under the scrims that were blocking the 1pm sun.
The team was fantastic and allowed me to simply shoot and have fun. I’ve already thanked them all but want to publicly thank my awesome team and to DONER for giving me this chance.
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