Summer Coda - The Orange Groves
The Australian motion picture film, Summer Coda, is set in and around the orange groves of the Sunraysia region either side of the Murray River bordering Victoria and New South Wales. It seems only reasonable to feature several of the orange groves depicted in the film and, importantly, the actors who so brilliantly delivered the heart felt script through their sensitive portrayals. The above pic features Alex Dimitriades whose performance brilliantly captured the intensity and anguish of his character (Michael).
Due to commitments back in Melbourne I was unable to work on set every day. But every time I arrived I was greeted by brutal heat. One such day my flight arrived late afternoon to hot and humid conditions. Fortunately the unusually humid conditions provided nice soft light which made my job somewhat easier.
Capturing action is not as simple as setting a high shutter speed and engaging continuous shooting mode. That's just technology, but great action shots were made long before such technology existed. The first such image I'm aware of is the famous picture of a man being shot, while running, during the Spanish Civil War. Said to be the first action shot of its kind the photographer, Hungarian-American Robert Capa, made an image that was, for its time, both shocking (for its realism) and groundbreaking. The limited technology of the day was overcome with excellent powers of observation and a keen sense of timing.
To record the pic of Daniel throwing an orange I simply locked my focus on the subject's eye and waited for the moment between him taking aim and actually throwing the orange. This approach allowed me to both depict the intention and concentration in his eye, as well as recording action within a single frame at a reality average shutter speed. If you rely too much on technology you'll likely lose the skill to see and record a moment in time.
I was really looking forward to an important sunset image of Rachel and Alex, the film's primary stars, relaxing at the end of a hard day's work in the cool breeze on the roof of a large farm shed. Sadly, shortly before sunset, the rains came. And boy did it rain. The above image illustrates the intensity and power of the coming storm. While disappointed at missing out on the opportunity to photograph Rachel and Alex I made the most of the situation and photographed the approaching storm and various crew members.
I was fortunate to experience a second storm during the shoot. While the rain provided a break from the heat, it did interfered with the shooting schedule. But boy was it exciting! I experienced an immense burst of energy and ran around responding to a range of opportunities the rain presented. From brooding sky to violent downpour and sodden landscape, it was a blast.
For a range of reasons working on Summer Coda was a tough gig. But all members dug deep and produced, to my mind, a wonderful film. From the opportunities I had I'm very happy with my own contribution and I remember the fantastic people, cast and crew alike, with whom I was privileged to work. I also remember and am grateful for the rain and the great photographic opportunities it presented.