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Star-struck at Sundance — Notes from behind the lens

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 26 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

I can show you the red carpet photos, because at the time I was freelancing for the Deseret News. The other shots from the celebrity lodge are off limits. They now belong to my temporary employer.

So I can't show you the photos I took of Joseph Gordon Levitt, who did stop and gab when I asked how his project was fairing at the New Frontier exhibit just up the street. I fired off a few frames at New Frontier for the D-News. Levitt didn't mind.

Same thing with press conferences. The stars are fair game at press conferences.

Sundance head honcho Robert Redford had a hundred still and video cameras aimed at him last week. Actor James Franco and the cast of "Howl" were wonderful subjects as they sat and talked about their film.

The press conferences were D-News assignments. I can show you those photos.

But I can't show you the three shots I fired off of Tommy Lee Jones and Chris Cooper.

Yes, they stopped for a photo. Whoa! Really?

Seriously, they actually threw me a bone.

Neither one came into the lodge with people. They entered with serious looks. Their walk was slow but deliberate — in a word, cool.

As they strode out after giving a press interview, they didn't stop to talk with anyone. I had positioned myself next to a line of windows and a door with lots of natural light pouring through. The camera's ISO, shutter speed and aperture were adjusted just so after a few test shots.

Quietly and calmly I asked, "Tommy, can I get a quick shot of you guys?"

Cooper stopped for a second, maybe thought I was only talking to Jones, and started to walk away. "No, both of you guys," I said to Cooper.

Without a word that I could hear, Jones grabbed Cooper by the arm and posed him in front of the door. Then Jones staggered himself just behind Cooper.

You could tell Jones knows a few things about lighting a shot.

"I'll take three guys," I said. Half smiles from both. The light was perfect.

Click. Click. Click.

I said "Thanks" and they nodded.

Cool. Very cool.

e-mail: saspeckman@yahoo.com

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