Blackie, Big Fella and Bubbles (Dennis Aubrey)


Every form of activity has its own private vocabulary, its slang, its patois.  I remember when my parents first visited a film set on which I was directing, my mother was aghast when she heard someone yell, “Get the skirt off the broad and kill that baby!” She calmed down after I assured her that it was a discussion about lighting instruments, but she was still confused about the “gaffer” and his “best boy”.

PJ is a namer – she names and anthropomorphizes everything.  Her big pillow is “Bluebie”.  Our local chipmunk was “Hoover” because he ate like a vacuum, a chickadee was “Puerco” because he ate scraps of pork chops off our plates.  It’s no different with our photography.

Ambulatory, Notre Dame de Chartres (Photo by PJ McKey) Photograph taken with Blackie and Shifty on Little Sticks

She christened our cameras “Blackie” (Canon EOS 5D Mark I) and “Big Fella” (Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III).  Our tilt-shift lenses are “Shifty” (Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L ) and “Bubbles” (Canon 17mm f/4L TS-E).  Our wide angle zoom lens is “Stretch” (Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM) and our telephoto lens for shooting capitals is “Whitey” (Canon 400mm f/5.6L USM).  The Sigma macro that we use for shooting details is, of course, “Mac” (Sigma Macro 105mm F2.8 EX DG).  The Manfrotto tripods are “Big Sticks” and “Little Sticks”. We have a wonderful old Takumar SMC 1000mm f8 lens as well, which is far too large to carry to France.  It’s name?  “Jumbo”, of course.

Sounds like some old-fashioned gang, doesn’t it?

Side aisle, Notre Dame de Chartres (Photo by Dennis Aubrey) Photograph taken with Big Fella and Bubbles on Big Sticks

PJ even named the Tamron carrying case “Baby” because it is rolled and has to be watched all the time.  It’s usually my job to keep track of Baby because PJ moves around much more than I do.  We were in a large church one time and there were some people visiting and others praying.  PJ got my attention from across the nave and wanted to know where the case was.  She rocked her arms like she was holding a baby and I pointed to the back of the church.  A couple of people had witnessed the silent exchange and looked shocked – had we left an infant somewhere alone in the church?  They were relieved when PJ went to the case and opened it up.

South transept lancet windows, Notre Dame de Chartres (Photo by Dennis Aubrey) Photograph taken with Big Fella and Whitey on Big Sticks

So if some day you are in a church and hear voices whispering about shooting with Big Fella and Bubbles or Blackie and Shifty, rest assured that we aren’t planning a crime spree – it’s just another Via Lucis day at the office.

If you are interested in a previous post on the lenses that we use, use this link.

4 responses to “Blackie, Big Fella and Bubbles (Dennis Aubrey)

  1. I wondered if you had used a tilt-shift lenses, as all your verticals pretty much lined up. For architectural work, a tilt-shift lens is indispensable. You do nice work.

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