This photo was shot a few years ago pretty early in my video career. It was an April morning in Charleston, South Carolina.

Geno, a friend of mine, invited me to come join him on his set and shoot behind-the-scenes. He knew I was just getting started and eager to see how things worked, and willing to lend a hand where needed. It was a small independent film production with a crew of about 12, which was bigger than I had ever seen at the time.

As the DP, Geno was usually behind the camera, working together with the lighting and sound crews to capture the visuals of the scene while the Director did his thing with the actors.

The first morning of the 2-3 day shoot, we met around 5 am on location at a beautiful residential property on the back river. It was early spring in the south, so it wasn’t frigid, but the air that had been sitting in the dark all night had a little bite to it.

One by one, we pulled up, got out of our cars, and quietly made our way to the back of the house where we would start filming by the dock once the sun started coming up. Some joked, some shivered, some sipped coffee. And as the last of us arrived, the horizon had just begun glowing. A stir gathered in the air as people dialed in gear, took their positions, and pulled together into creation mode.

The sun rose as the director & crew masterfully executed each shot on the list, each covering his own area and working in tandem with the others, communicating effectively and efficiently.

I held lights or bounces where needed, but most of the time I was free to observe and ask questions, soaking the whole thing in.

And so when I look at this picture, after admiring the colors of the sunrise, I think of the fact that some ideas are powerful enough to compel a team of people to wake up early and go out in the cold to make it happen. And it makes me wonder how many things in my life I would get up early and chase like the crew did that day.


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