Back in May of this year I traveled to New Jersey to shoot the Fox Bike 2010 Dealer Workbook. I had wanted to write a post about it then but decided I would wait until the workbook was actually done. A few days ago I received it in the mail.
The theme of the catalog was dark, or night, and the direction for the shoot was that all the images were supposed to look like light flash lit shots at night. Logistically there were a few problems to overcome with this idea. It would have been easiest to achieve this look at night, simply lighting up what we wanted, however we would have had to bring a generator and lights everywhere so that the athletes could see what they were riding. While renting a generator and lights is not a huge cost, carrying it for miles into remote sections of trail is a rather strenuous ordeal, and one that we didn’t want to have to undertake.
The other normal option would have been to rent some large 1200 or 2400 watt second packs and underexpose the ambient light by several stops to achieve the dark look. However because of the lighting I wanted to achieve we would have needed 3 packs and 4 or 5 heads, and we would have needed very fast packs to freeze the action at close to full power. This would have been expensive and also required us to carry a lot of heavy gear miles into the trails.
So instead I used Nikon SB800’s at full power and a couple of Quantum T2D’s at full power and raised the shutter speed up to 1/1000th to effectively lose 2 stops of ambient light and freeze the action at the same time.
There was also a lot of thought that went into locations and shooting direction to keep ambient light in the background down to a minimum, and just by paying super close attention to backgrounds we managed to get a few shots with black backgrounds even at 1/250th during the day.