I first met Ray Tagavilla in the fall of 2010 when he was playing an omniscient bartender in Café Nordo’s Sauced and then would often run into him at fun Seattle soirées.  He always seemed very mysterious, just like his characters.

Then one evening not too long ago, I found myself eating Thai food with him just before an opening of To Savor Tomorrow. I was pleased to discover that Ray is a wonderfully kind man with that dash of mysterioso that keeps us all coming back to see what he’ll do next.

When he told me of the violent role he plays in  WHITE HOT, I just had to see if we could capture it in still photography off-stage. Ray met me an hour before fight call, and we shot for 15 minutes on the sidewalk in front of West of Lenin’s performance space (where WH is currently running).  [photography gear list is at the end of this post]

Q&A with Ray Tagavilla

PS: What experience compelled you to perform as an actor in Seattle?
RT: I don’t think anything compelled me to act in Seattle specifically. I would’ve acted in Nebraska if that’s where I happened to be living. 

PS: Are you now the person you wanted to be when you were young?
RT: Yes, but there’s always room to grow and learn and to let go of things. 

PS: What will you take from your experience performing in WHITE HOT?
RT: Patience. 


PS: Who is your favorite superhero?
RT: Batman.

PS: Who is your favorite villain?
RT: Two-Face from Batman is a great villain. I would love to play that character too. 

PS: Who is your hero in real life?
RT: My Mom.

PS: Do you prefer comedy or drama?
RT: I love both but I crave the freedom and the immediate response that comedy gives you. 

PS: Who or what inspires you the most in your professional life?
RT: Great theater is inspiring. Great movies are inspiring. It makes you believe in the ordinary and the impossible. 

PS: And in your personal life?
RT: Daniel Day-Lewis. He’s amazing. I don’t know him personally though. 


PS: What do you consider your best characteristic?
RT: My funny bone. That and I can be strange too. 

PS: What quality do you admire the most in people?
RT: Humor. 

PS: If you could choose one additional talent in life, what would it be?
RT: Painter. There’s something lovely, mysterious and lonely about them.

PS: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
RT: It hasn’t happened yet, I hope. 

PS: What would like to achieve next?
RT: I don’t think it’s possible, but I would love to achieve Time Travel. 

PS: What makes you happy?
RT: Laughter.

Photography details

Camera Settings:
Lens: Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4
Aperture: f/4.5
Shutter: 1/20
ISO: 400

Lighting Set up:

My newest favorite lighting set-up is light weight, extremely portable, and wicked sleek.

I start with “Bob”, the 3LT monopod and AH2 ballhead, attach a Nikon Sc-17 Ttl Sync Extension Cord to the Swiss Arca plate, toss my Nikon SB-800 onto the hot shoe mount, and cover the flash with the Micro Apollo light modifier from Westcott. You can see how it looks in the photo below:

I had an awesome assistant (thank you Elizabeth Zeff!) hold the light setup 4-5 feet in the air and about 45 degrees to my left, half-way between me and Ray. For back-light, we used the headlights of Ray’s truck behind him and the sidewalk lights across the street. It was very simple and effective on this dark night.

As with all my urban shoots, I have my camera body securely attached to my RS-W1 women’s sling strap from BlackRapid, and fit my entire kit in my Retrospective® 10 bag from Think Tank Photo (monopod resting on top).

Gear: BlackRapid RS-W1
Think Tank Photo Retrospective® 10 (Pinestone) Shoulder Bag
3 Legged Thing monopod Bob & AH2 Ballhead
Westcott Micro Apollo

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