As a photographer it is very important to keep creating new personal work. I’ve come to always have at least one personal project on the go at any given time; a shoot I’m planning, an idea I’m developing, a creative direction I’m planning and exploring, or a collaboration I’m working on.
For me, personal projects are a good place to explore and push myself technically. While being stretched on a job is healthy, being prepared is even more so. With this in mind I develop concepts for a shoot to challenge myself and add some new tools to my metaphorical tool box.
In the past, I’ve used studio lights on location to fake the sun – either rising or setting, through a window of a building by placing a studio light outside, or placing a studio light behind a car on a recent road trip editorial. I’ve done this a number of times, it’s a great trick to pull out if and when a shoot calls for it.
While planning a shoot that would be filmed for a small video promo for Broncolor South Africa, we were thinking about how we could push this idea even further. After a bit of brainstorming, we decided to create a shoot that looks like it was shot using moonlight… except using studio strobes on location to demonstrate the versatility of the Siros L battery operated monoheads.
I’m of the belief that everything on a set always works out for the best. This particular shoot had a number of obstacles that ended up adding to the magic. Firstly, the time constraint. For the video to be shot and edited we had to do the shoot that very weekend, which left only four days to plan everything. Four days when planning a shoot isn’t a lot of time at all. Secondly, on the morning of the shoot, I got a call from one of the model’s agents saying she was no longer able to shoot with us. Somewhat frantically I pulled as many strings as possible and made use of all my model friends to find a girl who would fit the brief. It was only once I had arrived at the rental house to pack the gear that I got a message confirming we had found someone. The location was just outside Robertson, which is about a two and a half hour drive. I’d never seen the location before, but I’d seen a picture and thought it could work. We made a few wrong turns on the 4x4 trail to get the the shoot location, and when we arrived, I decided that a spot we had earlier passed would better suit the shoot, so we turned the convoy around and headed backward. All the waiting, and back and forth meant we arrived much later than I would have liked and had literally only a few minutes of daylight to shoot. By the time the team had offloaded all the gear the sun had already set behind the mountains we were shooting in the dark.
To create the effect of the moon, I used a Broncolor Balloon powered by a 400w Siros L, and I lit the models using a Parra 133 powered by a second 400w Siros L. This turned out to be a great combination. All the shots were created using the same lights just in different positions around the 4x4 and models. All I would need to do in post production would be to overlay a stock image of the moon over the Balloon and we’re all set.
In terms of camera, Hasselblad South Africa were kind enough to lend me the new H6D-50c – one of my favourite cameras. Seeing as the whole shoot would be filmed, I thought ‘let’s go all out’.
In a later blog post, I’ll be positing the video that was created from this shoot.
Many thanks must go out to the team at Photohire for the gear, Hasselblad for the camera, Clinton Dorr for the extra hands, Paula for the video, Nigel for the use of his beautiful car and models Rocky and Zack for being such sports on this shoot on such short notice.
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Photography is magic.