As part of an on going personal project on unusual small business owners I photographed Krishan Klein of Trojan Cycles. Krishan was the only subject in the project I had not know previously. He is a good friend of one of my son’s teachers, Jason. Knowing I was into vintage motorcycles Jason suggested I contact Krishan and that maybe I would want to photograph him with some of his bikes.
Krishnan, a.k.a. Scrap Ninja, buys old and crashed motorcycles then restores them from the ground up. Oddly enough Krishan buys the bikes here in the U.S. then ships them to Japan where he rebuilds them. He sells them in Japan as well because he can get more money for them there than here in the states. One reason is that although many of the bikes he rebuilds where originally from Japanese manufactures like Honda, and Yamaha, the larger bikes where built exclusively for the American market. Krishan has dual citizenship as his wife lives in Japan.
Krishan’s shop was crowed so I decided to photograph him in the alleyway in front of the shop. It was early afternoon and the sun was high in the cloudless sky. I knew I’d need to over power the sun so I pulled out the 2000 watt second power pack and two, 1000 watt second packs, all Dyna-Lite. We had settled on photographing him with a 70’s vintage Harley Davidson, as that was of the more complete bikes in the shop. Of course it was nearly all black. The little bit of color on the bike was miscellaneous parts plated with real gold, and a painting of Zeus and a Centaur on the Gas tank, “Lovely!” Should have shot a close-up.
I set up two 4×6 Chimera, softboxes side by side, directly in front of the bike, and connected both heads to the 2000ws pack. The wind picked up and the softboxes began to spin around and despite have a sand bag on each stand I was afraid they would tip over in the next strong gust of wind. I asked Krishan if he had anything heavy I could hang from the stands. He returned with several disc break rotors that I attached to the stands with bunji cords. The stands didn’t blow over but the softboxes were still turning from side to side in the wind. I used A clamps to join the two boxes in middle and tied off the outer end of the softboxes to nearby garage door handles using nylon strapping I use to secure equipment to my rolling cart. I told Krishan, “Only a fool would set up two large softboxes in a windy alley way, but that was just the kind of fool I was.”
I wanted two very strong rim lights, on Krishan, to separate him from the brick wall. I placed a gridded head on either side moving the stands right up against the wall. I feathered the light so not only did it define Krishan’s, left and right side but I let a little light spill on to the dark brick as well.
The final touch was wetting the concrete with several buckets of water from a nearby spigot to give it that, “Just after a rain look and pick up some reflection of the bike in the water. Something I learned while assisting Eugene Mopsik on Mack Truck shoots.
I stood between the two large softboxes poking the lens between the narrow slit between the two, and made my exposures.
The most important lesson I will take away from this project is to seize the opportunities that present themselves, to turn impulses into action and try out new things on self-assignments and not wait to try them out on real job.
Sure would be nice to own of his creations!