Field Test; On Location With David X. Tejada Page 2

On location, David follows the sun. "I start before sunrise so I have great light and great color." The early morning sky becomes his backdrop. Then, when the sun rises and there's direct sunlight, he'll photograph objects lit by the sun. "I try to stand so the sun is to my left or right, unless I'm doing a silhouette. When the sun is my sidelight, I can use a polarizer to saturate the scene if I need to." When the sun gets high in the sky, it's time to stop following it. "When the light's less flattering, I go inside and use my lights to get indoor shots. Then it's back outside for the great light of late afternoon. I've generally scouted things out, so I know where to be in relation to the afternoon sun."

During those hours, he's very specific about positioning his subjects. "That's when I'm directing things," he says. "It's like, `I need a haul truck here, and a maintenance vehicle next to it. I need two guys standing there. Can I get red slickers on the guys?'"

And hold the Bart Simpson T-shirt, thanks.

The Gear
David hasn't shot with a film SLR in five years. He does a little medium format and some 4x5 work, but these days his annual report photography is overwhelmingly done with digital SLRs. The photos here were taken with his current traveling companions, D70 and D100 Nikons. One of his favorite lenses is an oldie--a manual 300mm f/2.8 Nikkor that he's carried for 20 years.

He also uses 12-24mm, 24-85mm, and 80-200mm Zoom-Nikkors. In the bag is another oldie--a TC-301 2x manual tele-converter that he frequently uses with the 300mm lens. (Both were on the D70 for the two liquid natural gas photos.)

His lighting gear consists of Dyna-Lite strobes--"six heads, three packs, and all the stands and grips you can imagine"--and, recently, Nikon SB-800 Speedlights for wireless remote flash photography with the D70. Two tripods round out the main gear: a Gitzo Studex 320 with a Bogen head--"very tall, pretty compact"--and a Hakuba HG-503-- "not as tall as the Studex and not as heavy-duty, but it's carbon fiber and works well in a lot of places."

And, of course, the walkie-talkies, T-shirts, and slickers that are necessary when plant personnel, his assistant, or a client's rep are called on to become models.

Note: David's website at features an extensive portfolio of images.