Terry Clark Photography

Are you looking for a photographer that can bring a fresh and creative eye to your next project or portrait?

Then look no further. Terry Clark Photography is one of the most sought after photographers in the country. Having photographed three Presidents of the United States, kings, titans of industry, and business of all size and description, there is no assignment too small or too large.

Having traveled far and wide to create storytelling pictures for his clients, Terry Clark Photography has the experience and knowledge to pull together any project, domestic or International. If compelling images are most important to you and your client, working with our team will ensure the success of your project.

Call 412-491-7887 to speak with a team member about your next photo shoot.

email – terry@terryclark.com

Filtering by Category: Industrial photography

Pittsburgh construction photography

Sometimes the best thing you can do is wait. You find an angle that works, choose a lens to compress the scene, but you need more, you need a point of focus, a human element, a center of interest to bring it all home. You wait for the picture to build, for that singular moment when all the parts come together in a crescendo, and you squeeze the shutter. Foreground, middle ground and background all working together to tell the story. You've done your job. 

Dissecting this photograph, I was assigned to document a major road construction project for an engineering company. They wanted more than just progress photos. The images would be for internal and external communications. 

The first thing on the shot list was a dramatic overall showing the scope of the project. While I often receive a list of the pictures the client wants, rarely am I given specific instructions. Most clients trust my eye. They know my dedication to the project I'm assigned. More than once art directors have given me instructions as simple as "go make nice pictures." 

Wandering the site, I found an elevated point that showed everything I needed, heavy equipment, graded road, concrete forms, and rebar. The only thing missing was a person. So I waited. I knew they would be bringing in steel beams for the overpass and I hoped a person would appear. 

Luck favors the prepared. It wasn't long before a worker, who just happened to wear a USA t-shirt that day, appeared at the exact spot I needed him to be. My first picture checked off the list. 

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Ring of Fire

Sometimes you're just given a picture. 

While working in a fabrication plant, I saw this gentleman whose job it was to take a red-hot hoop of metal from one machine to another using tongs. Each time he passed the hot steel across it framed his face for a split second. All I had to do was make my shot at the right moment to circle the workers face in the Ring of Fire. It was all timing. The glowing metal provided a ring light to illuminate his face. And yes, it was hours before I could get that Johnny Cash song out of my head.

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Reflections

While on assignment many years ago for EQT I spotted the oil rig in my subjects safety glasses. It was an easy task to position the man in the right light and maintain the reflection. An unusually tight crop emphasized the rig, his eye and the EQT logo on his hard hat. The three formed a perfect triangle while the oval created by the lip of his helmet added a sense of motion within the frame. As always, geometry is your best friend when building a picture.

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Goodnight, Manny.

Everything changes. Nothing is forever. Everyone knows this, some in Pittsburgh more than others. I’m sure Manny never thought he’d see the day when he would lay down his hard hat for the last time because the once might mill was closing. Many years ago, on an editorial assignment, I was granted access to a shuttered mill in McKeesport. I had an hour. Not enough time to explore a place so vast as a once active steel mill. It was, at best, akin to salvage archeology; hurry up and gather as much as you can in as short a time as you can. But that’s often the job.  In this case, all I could do is look for the basics to illustrate the story. I needed something wide to set the scene, something closer, and details. I was more documentarian than anything else. 

In that brief time, I thought of the photographers from the Farm Security Administration who documented America for Americans in the 30’s and 40’s. People like Walker Evans. And, of course, Clyde “Red” Hare who photographed Pittsburgh first as part of Roy Stryker’s Pittsburgh Photographic Library, then stayed after falling in love with the city. 

My mind was racing, and my eyes were wildly scanning the scene for images to add to the narrative. I needed to tell the story, show what was there before it was gone, before time ran out. I wanted more time to explore. Request denied. It was time to go and leave this history behind. Within weeks the mill was razed. Everything is now gone. Just a memory. Another footnote in Pittsburgh’s history. 

Never take for granted the responsibility we hold as photographers. We don’t make history; we record it for future generations because, everything changes, nothing is forever.

 

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How I did it: Environmental Portrait

Environmental portraits are easy, right? All you do is stand or sit someone in their space, focus and snap. Done. Maybe. When you decide to take your portraiture to the next level, you’ll need to consider a lot more. 

Just for fun, let’s dissect a picture I did of Robert Luffy, the former president of American Bridge. 

The commissioned portrait was an illustration piece for a magazine profile of Mr. Luffy. Because this was not documentary journalism, I had leeway to create the image any way I decided, as long as it fits a vertical format.

At the studio, I began to prepare for the assignment by pulling together the equipment I thought I might need. At that time I was using Canon equipment, so I put together my standard camera kit, 
2-Canon 5D bodies; 16-35mm; 24-70mm; 70-200; 50 1.2; 85 1.2, 45TS.

Lighting at that time was all Dynalite, including 2-1000 WS power packs; 2-500 WS power packs; 6-flash heads and 2-400 WS Uni-400 battery operated monolights. All this went in three Lightware cases.
I also packed 11’ stands for each head; 2-4’ stands; 2-floor stands, and a boom arm.  I also packed a sturdy tripod. Modifiers included grids, softboxes, scrims, and softlighters. Another three Lightware cases would hold this equipment. 

The last two bags would hold all my miscellaneous items including speed rings for the softboxes; 400’ of extension cords; gaffer tape; Leatherman tool; rolls of color correction and enhancement gels and a roll of black aluminum foil.

The six cases fit in the back of my SUV for transport and on one big rolling cart to get to the location. 

I had an idea of the kind of image I wanted to make, but I needed to be sure to have enough gear available in case my original plan didn’t come to fruition. Prepare for the worst, expect the best and somewhere in the middle it’ll all work out. 

Once on site, Mr. Luffy’s marketing officer showed me a conference room they thought would work for the portrait. I explained I needed something more illustrative and dynamic and asked about going to the shop floor. After some back and forth we went to the shop. That was the location I had in my mind’s eye. Sometimes you just get lucky. The moment we walked in I saw this enormous steel beam. With Mr. Luffy in the foreground and the beam going off into the background, I knew I had the makings of an excellent composition. Thankfully the overhead lights formed a beautiful pattern, further pushing the eye into the frame. The open door in the far back of the picture was the perfect stopping point for the composition. With foreground and background set all I needed was a middle ground that would add to the story. A few feet away workers were cutting metal with sparks flying. That was the missing piece! After a brief explanation of what I was trying to achieve, I convinced a worker to help me out and set up to make sparks. 

Lighting on this photograph was all natural. A large overhead door on camera left provided soft daylight for Mr. Luffy, with just enough fade out to illuminate the worker one stop darker. Exposure was determined by a hand-held meter at 100 ISO to be 1/6 second at f/9. I need 1/6 second to create the right stream of streaks from the grinder and f/9 to provide just enough depth of field. Also, through prior testing, I knew that lens was sharpest between f/8 and f/11. A hand-held meter was used rather than the built-in meter on the Canon because of the contrast ratio in the photo. All the darkness in the picture would likely result in overexposure had I used the camera’s meter. With a hand meter, I was able to pinpoint the exposure to just the light falling on the subject. 

The camera was a tripod-mounted Canon 5D and lens was a 16-35mm set at 26mm. I chose to go wide to make Mr. Luffy prominent in the photograph while everything else faded into the background layers. I was meticulous to make sure Mr. Luffy’s head was entirely framed within the steel beam and not intersected by the diagonal. 

Finally, with all these elements and layers I had to be sure to work my composition for the most efficient eye tracking, so I intentionally used the Fibonacci Spiral as the basis of the photo’s structure. 

In post-production, I darkened the corners of the image and warmed up the color balance a few points for a more pleasing look. Other than that the image is pretty much as it came from the camera thanks to pre-visualization and very detailed execution.

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