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Monday, July 29, 2013

Portrait of a Leader: Duluth Mayor Don Ness

Photos and text by H. Brian Rauvola

With no hint as to the motive, the question was posed to the Mayor, "What are your most cherished accomplishments?" With little hesitation, the reply was twofold: 1) reducing the City's retiree health care unfunded liability by $186 million, and 2) stopping the sanitary sewer overflows into Lake Superior (the plan, according to the Mayor's official website, went under budget and ahead of schedule.)

The reason for this question was to gain insight and inspiration for a unique, high(er) end portrait session encompassing aspects of the Mayor's tenure of which he is especially proud. The obvious choice seemed to be down in the storm drains!

It was posed to the Mayor as "Ultimate Portrait," and through a bit of scouting and negotiations, you are seeing the results. The top image is a 6 image composite, 5  light-painted images stitched into the background panoramic captured before the Mayor arrived, and one of the Mayor once he got on scene. Lighting was one mini soft box on a Q-flash with a reflector camera right.


The next image is also a composite of light painted background images plus separate exposure of the manhole and light from it. Mayor Ness was lit with the same Q-flash/softbox located high camera right with a reflector camera left, plus 2 speedlight kickers, one directly behind the Mayor and one at an angle from camera right.

Thank you to Matt Moses for the initial contacts with the right people and the City of Duluth employees who made this session possible, especially my main contact Program Coordinator Todd Carlson.

A big thank you also goes to the assistants during the session: Dick Anderson, Deb Carroll, Crystal Detlefsen, Matt Moses, and Joni Tauzell.

Local videographer Al Skomers of was also on hand throughout the process and has produced a video of the experience (shown below.) A special, "thank you," goes out to Al for volunteering his services to capture this!

1 comment:

  1. Photo's are great! I appreciate the video and Mr. Ness's explanation for infrastructure maintenance.