Putting on the Fabric captured by Z 9 / Z24-70f2.8 / SB-5000
“I know I’m covering up all this great stuff, the craftsmanship that will never be seen because of what I’m doing.” Wendy is one of a handful of incredibly talented, experienced and sought after people who can put fabric on an airframe. Few in the nation have her skill or knowledge that she is very willing to share. I’m real fortunate that she waits on some pieces until I’m in the hangar to cover them so I can learn a bit of the craft. I’m always amazed how cloth becomes a skin that makes an aircraft soar through the heavens. It’s an amazing art and that’s the story I wanted to tell in one photograph. The passion, skill and knowledge Wendy applies and how, that’s what I wanted in that single click!
How to bring that all to light? Light is the keyword here! As Wendy mentioned, she is covering up all the “mechanical stuff” which includes the framework in which she is attaching the fabric to. Once it’s attached, she has to iron it twice, at two different temperatures to bring it tight and ready for the final process making it as tight as a snare drum. As you can see below, when working with the ambient light of the hangar, you can see the fabric and Wendy working. You can also see the rest of the hangar and Allison photobombing me. What you can’t see is one thing I want to say or tell a story about. That’s where the flash comes in. I have a SB-5000 set to Manual over on the opposite side of the fuselage. Sharon is holding it and aiming it directly at Wendy. The light from the flash is going through two layers of fabric, the most expensive light diffuser known to man! I’m at ISO100 with a shutter speed of 1/20. I wanted to blur the iron as it travels over the fabric. I dial in -1 stop exposure comp into the Z 9 to bring down the ambient light. I set the flash to Manual shooting at 1/32 ratio and then let the light do its magic. Now, you can see the airframe, the iron traveling about and the TLC Wendy puts into her work. It’s really easy to do, just takes a bit of a vision, light tells the story!