Lately, I’ve been feeling like I don’t play enough with my photography. My style of shooting has predominantly been influenced by the jobs I’ve been shooting which usually entails multiple angles and a daunting shot list. It’s meant that using flash at events would slow me down and I wouldn’t meet my requirements.
In February the opportunity to experiment with flashes presented itself so I jumped at it. DARK FEST, Sam Reynolds’ contribution to the FEST Series calender, saw eight of the best MTB Freeriders in the world gather at the Garden Route Trail Park where Sam Reynolds and co had built some of the biggest jumps in the world. Imagine rolling in from a 70ft tower and hitting a jump at around 80km/h and you have an idea of how these guys are pushing the limits.
I really need to take this opportunity to thank Pieter Badenhorst of Photo Hire. He gave me the warmest and most encouraging welcome when I arrived in Cape Town and has gone out of his way to let me experiment with the Broncolor lights he distributes. The original plan was to shoot with two Broncolor Siros 800w lights however they weren’t available on the day, so instead he let me take the Broncolor Move 1200w pack with Air Sync so I could shoot at faster speeds. I’m usually a two lights kind of guy so it was refreshing figuring out how best to use one head. I’m still trying to get my head around the Hi-Sync physics but after a while I started to figure what works and what doesn’t.
Below is the result. Not my finest work but a great lesson and experience. Shout out to Ryan Franklin and the rest of the crew for putting on such a great event.
A few weeks back the awesome folks at Sunshine Company (The distributors and rental agents for Hasselblad, ProFoto, Sirui and Black Rapid) offered me the chance to shoot some skateboarding with all of this:
So I gathered up these scoundrels: (FLTR: Justus Kotze, Wong, Ryder Nel, Yann Horowitz and Chris Cab)
And took them to this secret bowl…
Now comes the part where I share the images even though I’m not entirely happy with them. I mean, I really feel we got great shots but I really wanted this shoot to produce some of my finest work. I thought I had the perfect location, the perfect crew and the perfect equipment but it didn’t work out that way. This was my second time shooting with the Hasselblad H4D-50 and first time shooting with the Profoto B1’s. It was also my first time shooting at this location and I totally misjudged the sun’s trajectory so we ended up having the harshest light throwing mottled shadows all over the bowl for most of the afternoon. Essentially, everything was different and difficult and I couldn’t rely on anything I normally would. I didn’t know what power I could push the lights to and still freeze motion. I couldn’t find the angles in the bowl because the sun was limiting us and more than anything shooting with a Hasselblad is nothing like shooting with a DSLR.
When shooting with DSLRs I don’t think we realise how reliant we are on the LCD screens. That little LCD screen on our DSLRs makes our workflow so much quicker than you know and with the Hasselblad that speed comes to an abrupt halt. At 75mb per image the images take what feels like a lifetime to display on the screen. What makes things worse is the resolution on the Hasselblad screen is not ideal. You really want to shoot tethered to a computer using this camera as only then can you really see what’s happening. That or know how to read your histograms accurately. I was just unprepared. I know what this camera is capable of and I plan to get even with it. Right now we sit with a score of Hasselblad 1 – Tyrone nil but there will be a rematch!
The resolution of the Hasselblad is insane. Check the uncropped image of Justus Kotze with an oh so stylish crail slide, followed by a 100% zoom of the image. Impressive, no?
The Profoto B1 lights were really great. I want to do some more tests to see if I can get them to hyper sync with my pocket wizards but their ability to freeze motion with decent power output is awesome and with everything being built into the head itself you don’t have cables. They’re basically speedlights on steroids. So here are the remaining shots from the day. I am already planning my revenge on that Hasselblad. It won’t get the better of me next time!!!
Thanks to all the skateboarders, the secret bowl amigo, Michael North, Willem Foster and Hendre Louw for making this happen.