Shots of Opportunity - Cook Compression Photo Shoot

September 9, 2009 - Usually when we get a call to do a photo shoot at a client's location, we get a shot list of images that are needed specifically for a web site, brochure, trade show, etc.  So when we got a call from Tim Wold, president of Wold Marketing (a B-2-B Ad Agency in Conroe, Texas) we were surprised to learn there would be no shot list for this particular shoot.

Wold's client, Cook Compression, had recently acquired Mechanical Field Services LP (MFS), and Cook needed some photos for the corporate library.  Tim said we would be going out after "Shots of Opportunity".  At first I was not sure of exactly what gear to pack, but when Tim said to think of the shoot more of a photojournalism assignment, I packed lighter than I would if we were going for a specific shot or series of shots. We were not sure what we were getting into, but decided to treat it as an "adventure" and make the most of it

Mechanical Field Services has a compressor repair shop in Van Vleck, Texas, a couple of hours south of our studio.  MFS is a leading provider of turnkey repair, maintenance and overhaul services for compressors, engines, pumps, turbines and other reciprocating and rotating equipment. The ride down with Tim was really great because I had a chance to learn about his business and the way he works.  Tim's agency is very service oriented and he has a handful of customers that keep him busy.  He also knows industrial marketing inside and out.  He would prefer the challenge of figuring out a campaign for a compressor, valve or industrial chemical vs. the latest perfume, so the 2 hour drive flew by.  

When we arrived, the Manager of Operations, Wade Calk took us on a tour of the facility (inside the shop and around the grounds) where we got to learn firsthand about the services they provide.  We also had a chance to meet the crew, who we would photograph performing some of their daily jobs.  Scheduling a shoot on the Friday before the holiday weekend (Labor Day) actually proved to be an advantage for us since everyone was anticipating some much needed R&R.

For the shoot I used a new Nikon D5000 and shot RAW with a Nikkor AF-S 18-200mm lens along with a Panasonic FZ50 shooting high-res JPG's. The D5000 was a replacement for a Nikon D-200.  The D5000 has an articulating screen that is great for shots low to the ground or high overhead. I really enjoy using the Panasonic because I have worked it so much I know how it is going to perform in just about any kind of lighting situation I encounter.

I also brought along a Sony F828 and I asked Tim if he would like to use it.  Tim said he was game and I handed him the camera.  I did not know what to expect, but I just reviewed the images he shot, and he did a great job.  He even managed to get a couple of shots that I wish I had taken!  The weather was kind of overcast which made for nice even lighting which we can tweak by adding in a little more contrast in post-production.  In the MFS shop we supplemented the ambient light with a Lowell Pro (500 Watt) as a rim light.

The shoot went very well and Wade Jr. took us out for a late lunch.  The Calk family and several of the other Mechanical Field Services folks hunt deer and are avid fishermen.  Their offices have a number of trophies on display, and there is a cool story for each one.  To make an even perfect day better, Wade Sr. gave us a cooler full of venison and jumbo shrimp which we'll use at our next company BBQ.


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