It looks so pretty, doesn't it? I keep pinching myself that it really has happened...the photo that I styled and shot is finally in a for real book! Quilts from The House of Tula Pink, to be exact. Welcome to part two of my story telling of how this photo shoot of this book took place and how someone so much bigger and better than me had a very large part in it. If you have no clue what I am talking about, you can catch up on the previous posts here and then click here.
HOT AS H**L
On this particular day of shooting, it was August, about 1000 degrees outside, and I intended to shoot a completely different setup inside the abandoned building, as it was finally sunny! For those who don't live in the Midwest, or maybe forgot, but August was the month from hell, as we had tornado after tornado, and one moment it was sunny, and then out of nowhere, it would cloud up, rain and wind storms. It seemed, that no matter how sunny it was when I left for my shoot, by the time I arrived (an hour and twenty minute drive) nine out of ten times, it would rain by the time I set up my equipment!
I arrived for my shoot, and planned to shoot this setup:
This is actually a small and very narrow room, dark, and with only one window, and gets only the north light. I NEED light. I had tried for over a week to shoot this idea, but everyday, it clouded up and rained on me. So finally! I arrived at my destination, and not a cloud in the sky and it was still early in the day and I was so happy...hot...but happy.
Not a Happy Camper...
However, due to some unplanned, very unforeseen situations that could not be avoided, I could not get inside my building!! Let's say it was being "inspected" of some sorts and I won't go into details, but just know I could not go in or near it for some time. I was just livid. I was told that this just never "happens" and I was just stuck. I drove around for some time, waiting it out, and after a while, it became apparent that I would not be able to do my shoot as planned. I became even more livid as I sweated out the unbearable day. I am very hot, very tired, on a deadline, and I must get something shot that day.
As I drive around town, I am thinking and pondering what to do...what to do....as I am cussing in my head, and starving, and cursing my bad luck....what to do???
I suddenly come across this "compound" as I call it in my head. A very, very cute compound right in the middle of town. I jumped out of my car and ran up to the front door of the adorable home and began to knock. Now, you have to understand, I look like a wreck because I thought I was going to be alone in an abandoned building all day, in the heat, and in dirt...so I dress accordingly. I have really gross cut-off jeans that I found at Goodwill that I love because it has this huge side pocket that holds my cell phone. I wear my orange paint shirt (a man's cotton shirt), and I wear, now get this, a SLEEVE from a t-shirt on my head as a head wrap! It works great...cut off the short sleeve of a man's t-shirt, and stretch it over your head (if you have a pea head like I do) and because I was working in triple digits for weeks, I would soak the thing in ice water and wear it to keep cool. Oh, and this one just happens to be a bright orange. I have on old work boots to protect my feet from the dirt and glass in the building and not a stitch of make-up on.
Someone Knocking at the Door...Do Me A Favor...
And now, here I am, knocking on this beautiful door...but I did have sense enough to bring a business card with me. Well, I was so tired, and probably dehydrated, I was knocking this steady, slow knock, as I looked around the street for another location, as it seemed nobody was home. I didn't realize I was standing there, knocking steady, thinking in my own thoughts, knocking, knocking, knocking, scoping out the neighbor's yard across the street, knocking, knocking, thinking, thinking, for about five minutes, lost in my thoughts, when suddenly the door opens and scares me half to death!
And I am sure, I scared her once she took a gander at me...
I introduced myself, and laughed, telling her I hadn't realized I was knocking so long, but she laughed and said, "No problem." I asked if I could use one of her buildings to shoot, and just like that, she said, "Sure, go ahead." And that was that. Below are some test shots I took in a hurry to decided what I was going to do, and to test the sun, the movement of the sun's location, the time of day and how long it would take me to figure out what I was going to do and where the sun would be by the time I set up...
I was in such a rush, having lost about three hours by now, that I didn't even think to take a photo of her cute home. And, I had no idea what I was even going to do. However, I did know I was going to shoot chapter one's opening photo as the publishers gave me complete freedom with that shot. They said I could do anything I want, use as many quilts as I want and do whatever I want with that chapter as it is called "Tula's Techniques."
I really liked this building, but wasn't sure where the sun would be, when I finally around to shooting it, see the shadow? And I would have to angle my camera away from the toys in the background:
I walked around some more and began to really sweat it out...from the heat, from the pressure, and not having hardly anything with me at all. I walked around some more to study the sun....
I really loved this little shed and all the elements. I was thinking how I could use the door and so on...I had a few quilts in the car, but some were still in the abandoned building. But I looked at the sun, trying to figure out how it is going to move and the window on the shed reflected the toys and the home behind me very badly....so I walked around the shed to the side of it...
Creative Help Just When I Needed It...
I didn't see the vision at first. All I saw was the shadow and all the sun in front of me and the heat bearing down on my head. That day was one of the hottest days, about 104 degrees. What you can't really see is behind that little cute wire fence is a long patch of mud. You can see some of splashed up onto the wall. MUD...Glares from the roof, shaded wall, and wires, mud, and I now have lost a lot of time.
I stand there, staring, sweat dripping down my face, hand on my chin, just staring. I talk to God all the time...I remember saying..."Please God...help me figure this out...." I just didn't see it. Such a plain wall. I had nothing with me...
I stood in silence.
My Creative partner shoved me closer to get a better look as I wiped sweat off my eyes. I took my camera off my neck and wiped the sweat off my neck and the sounds of the loud locusts was just deafening. I set the camera down and walked closer.
Nothing. What? What am I looking for?
"Please God, show me what to do...."
He pushed me closer and I could feel the crunch of the dry grass under my shoes as I went right up to the walls and looked around...and in fact, I went so close, just so I could get up in that little patch of shade to protect my head from the beating sun.
And I shaded my eyes to look up...I looked up!! I looked up and saw something I didn't see before...rafters!
Working Together...go figure...
The vision came to me! Actually, God showed me to the vision, it just took me a while to see it. And not only were there rafters, but there were ten of them! Tula's book had ten quilts! I run to my car, drive it around to the side of the street I am working, and I always carry my toolbox with me wherever I go and I get it out, look at its contents, and yes, I have just enough wire to work with! Go figure...
I have NO ladder, but my toolbox is barely, and I mean barely tall enough for me to stand on and lift the quilts over my head and tie the wire around the rafters. Go figure... These quilts are very heavy, and I am hot, tired, and my hand is shaking as I lift with one arm, tie with the other and I have little, short fingers, and so when I gather the quilt up in one hand, I can barely hold onto it...so I am praying, "Please God, do not let me drop this into the mud below!" Never dropped a one...go figure...
While I am working on lifting, tying, and arranging, the quilts, I had called a friend who had access to the building and asked if she could get in and go get the other three that were in there and bring them to me? "Getting the quilts" isn't as easy as it sounds. You have to lift these heavy things, make sure they don't fall on the filthy floor, fold them into plastic bags and haul them down the steps. A lot of effort.
I am working like a mad dog, as the day is slipping by. I have my camera out, tripod, lenses, toolbox, and I just so happened to have my two old doors in my car as well! Yes, believe it or not, these doors have been in my car for weeks. I have been wanting to use them in a shoot, but I wasn't about to drag them up the steps unless I knew exactly how I was going to use them. I hadn't come up with a vignette that involved them yet, so in the car they stayed. I don't haul a thing up lots of steps unless I know I am going to use it. And now, here they are, perfect for this setup.
Just enough wire and just enough faith that my Creator will keep this creation from falling down into a what could be disaster...
My tool box...my step stool...my lifesaver. See the mud?? I had to reach over the little fence, as it was a mud pile directly beneath the rafters...I am not very tall!
MAD DOG 20/20
No, I didn't resort to drinking, but should have...and that is 20/20 not 20-20! See the picture above...not all the quilts hung yet? Notice something? No sun! Clouds are coming in....AGAIN! Sometimes clouds are good and sometimes they are bad...when they come and go constantly as it was the case that day. They are floating by in seconds of each other and the shadows are maddening as well as the damn DOG that is across the street that has been BARKING nonstop since I have arrived hours earlier and will continue until I pack up and leave hours later!
That dog was a yippy little dog with a LOUD bark:
Yap, yap, yap
Yap, yap, yap
Yap, yap, yap
That was the pattern, nonstop, for five hours!!
Every now and then, an old lady would come out and barely "yell" what I think was "Stella...hush.." And then go back inside. And then come out an hour later and say it again, go back inside...over and over again. OMG...the heat, the bugs, the clouds, the barking...what next?
Then two very old men, one with a ZZ Top beard rode by on their old bikes, and stopped and watched me for a bit, commenting, and asked questions and then asked if they could help. But I realized they were two sheets to the wind and I said, that is fine. I believe they were on their way to bingo or some card game? They wobbled away and I wish I had gotten their photo...but then again, had I pointed my camera at them, they would have loved it and would have stayed even longer and insisted on "helping." I was running out of time.
So, the quilts are up, and I am now waiting for the shadow to hit the shed just right....it is a waiting game with the clouds. You can see the shadow on the ground compared to the first photo I took with no quilts just how long the day took. See my wait below with my test shots for sun:
Yes, the above is blurry. I was sitting and held up my camera, too tired to stand...You can see, I am getting frustrated...
Over exposed, but still too bright of a shadow now at this angle...
The sun and shadow are just way out of control...so I wait...and wait...until you see the below photo with the help of God. He gave me the patience to wait.
Thank you God for helping me learn about patience. Something I fall very short of so many times. I was so angry that day, cursing how MY plan fell short. I was angry because of what I wanted to do didn't go MY way. I was short tempered because how MY idea for MY schedule got so screwed up.
Then you came along and decided that YOUR idea was better. You gave me a lot to contend with. Heat, no ladder, a barking dog, no food (couldn't leave my quilts or equipment out), clouds, sun, and I had to just wait.
But while waiting under the shade tree, I stopped cursing the dog, stopped cursing the heat and I drank my water and looked at the beautiful image on the barn that I knew was about to happen at the right moment. I appreciate all that you did for me that day. And I appreciate that I got the chance to show others just how beautiful Tula's quilts are.
But mainly, I am so happy you were with me that day, you didn't give up on me, you gave me a generous place to work, a safe place to work, got me home safely, and kept Tula's beautiful quilts safe. I am so fortunate and I wanted you to know how much I appreciate that day and how much I appreciate You for being there with me and for me.
Tula's Techniques is the first chapter of her book, but in my world, it is the first chapter for me in really learning to trust God and to be patient for His vision for what He has in mind for me, in His time.
Thank you so much for allowing me to share my day with you. I just wanted to share how creating with The Best Creator ever, is so awesome.
from my house to your house,