More than Beavers, Maple Leaves, and Shrinking Ice Caps…Canada has DIAMONDS!!
A recent photo shoot didn't get off to a very auspicious start. I overslept. How COULD I do that, with my reputation as punctual and efficient? Working until 3:00 am shooting the real nifty laptop from HP and trying to be an hour from home by 8:00 am the next morning did me in. But this isn't the best part of the story...my day got better! I got an education and some great pictures with a fantastic San Francisco business, Brilliant Earth. Did you know that Canada is the world's third largest diamond producer after Botswana and Russia? No risk of blood diamonds here! Brilliant Earth only uses Canadian diamonds and renewed metals (gold, platinum) for their jewelry. They also ensure that all other precious stones they use are certified from conflict-free sources. And as if this weren't green enough, Brilliant Earth donates 5% of its profits to African communities suffering because of the diamond industry! Boy, is that some best practice or what?! The customers of Brilliant Earth are double winners, proud to wear beautiful jewelry and proud to support the environment, as well as survivors of war-torn places. In keeping with "green," a VERY green location was chosen to photograph the jewelry: the Strybing Arboretum (San Francisco Botanical Garden) in Golden Gate Park. For all of the jokes about never working with kids or animals, or if you think it's tough to get a model to smile perfectly...try coaching plants! One would think that plants stay perfectly still. The truth is, not really. The wind (even the slightest breeze) can cause severe havoc to close-up macro photography. Shooting at a small aperture means that every bit of light needs to be coaxed into the camera. My portable Profoto 600R provided a lot of light for what I needed. Shooting a shiny and translucent product in the studio is hard enough. Shooting outdoors in the park means that I would need to juggle light control, wind management, artistic direction, placement and replacement (thank goodness we have a stylist on board!) of the pieces. I helped balance rings on very fragile blossoms. I inserted gemstones into very private places of VERY old trees. And I made a quiet succulent Queen for a Day...and the jewels look pretty good, too! - Michael Soo