Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Overpowering the Sun

Someone recently wrote to me and asked me how this photo was taken, and whether Photoshop was used to achieve the dramatic effect.

Now, although some processing was done in Lightroom. The effect does not come about by processing at all. The dramatic tones are a result of the flash essentially overpowering the light from the sun.

This photo was taken for US eyewear manufacturer Kaenon Polarized who sponsor Australian Paddleboard Champion Jamie Mitchell. Jamie lives up the street from me and this was shot around the corner from where we both live just before sunset.

To give the shot the effect you see, I stopped down the aperture to about F9, which due to the time of day really underexposed the ambient light and essentially made the shot too way too dark. Then, to compensate, I used a speedlight held by a voice activated lightstand (Jamie’s girlfriend Jocelyn) and fired it at the model to bring him back into correct exposure. I put a stofen diffuser on the speedlight to soften it.

What makes the image “pop” is the rimlight on Jamie’s side nearest to the sun which seperates him from the background and really brings him out.

You can overpower the sun at pretty much any time of the day, although to do so at midday you would need a lot more light than one speedlight can offer. Doing it when there is less ambient light is much easier if your lighting equipment is limited.

One final note, last week Jamie went on and won the 57 kilometer Molokai to Oahu paddleboard race in Hawaii for the 8th consecutive time, putting him in among an elite group of atheletes who have dominated at the highest levels of there respsective sports. Congratulations Jamie!

I launched my website this week, check it out here

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