Discovery Channel

Discovery Channel called. Could I explore the visual possibilities for filming an episode of “Man Woman Wild” in an area of many lava tubes near South Point? I was briefed by Alison Byrne, at a production operation Renegade 83 Productions in Glendale, California. “There’s some kind of museum there. Is that near you?” Near enough, I said. “Man, Woman, Wild” had a regular story line: adventure guy is always leading his journalist wife into problem situations (No, not a reverse “I Love Lucy”. The “problem” is staying alive while they try to get out of a jam.)

Could the weather on lava fields and the lava tubes provide a backdrop for an episode in the future? First step, Alison said, was my responsibility: see if there were exciting visual options. Here the guidance was clear: you aren’t there to make beautiful still photos but to think like a film crew. Panoramas to see what was all around each part of the general site, access for trucks and people. Can we hide any roads and houses? Color palette. Story details suggested by the landscape.

I like taking pictures but I also like — a lot — the challenge of placing myself in my client’s shoes. I like thinking like my client.

Checking in at “Kula Kai Caverns” I found Ric Ehlherd and Dan Coobs,  wonderful people who cared a lot about the Hawaiian history of lava tube use. Dan took me into some amazing spaces and I learned a lot. The big space shown used two slaved flashes and Dan’s helmet light moved all around the chamber in front of him during my long exposure. 12mm lens on full-frame camera.

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