Last weekend saw Modified Nationals at Peterborough Showground roll around again and with it, a chance to see how far my photography had progressed since last year. It was a similar situation to last time – a case of shoot when you can where you can, make the best of the gale-force wind and hopefully come away with something that stands out.
This is time the glamourous location was the back of the Exec building with its sandy coloured walls bouncing the intermittent sunshine around making the scene pretty even and flat. All kinds of meh!
Just out of the frame in that image is a sky full of bright cloud that I wanted to keep some detail in for wider compositions and that meant that at my sync speed of 1/200th I had to stop down to around f/11. Too much for my speedlights to act as main lights so out came the Elinchrom Quadras – one lighting the front of the car, the other hitting it broadside. The speedlights were cranked up to full power, zoomed to 70mm and pressed into action as rim lights to stop the black and blue car blending into the blue and black background and to add a little sculpting to the girls waiting in the wings.
A few test shots later (and a little post production for this image) I had the lights dialled in and giving results like this. I had to make the call and have the speedlight closer than I’d like due to the overall brightness of the scene and this before and after shows the little Photoshop tweak to hide the light and close door in the background.
With the exposure dialled in it was time to bring on Lucy, Gemma and Jen and get some shots for the guys at Sextons, the car audio people. For these shots the flash that was lighting the front of the car is now being fired through a shoot through umbrella – not the best modifier for the situation but all I had in my bag.
And of course, “camera shy” Chris, the owner needed a pic or two! Notice how the rim lights outline Jen (left) & Lucy (right) and separate them from the car and background.
Here’s a wider composition to show the position of the rim lights.
Then it was time for a quick costume and set change to get some images for Sextons sister company, RipRaw Clothing.
By this time the Quadras were flagging and had put themselves into slow recycle mode to preserve what little battery life they had left so for the next set up I scaled down and went ETTL for the first time! Shooting a bike this time meant I didn’t need to light such a large area and my on camera 580EXII, and working in ETTL meant I could keep my aperture down to f/4 and bump my shutter speed up to 1/640th. I had my 580 dialed down to -1 2/3 stop of flash exposure compensation acting as on axis full while two 430EXII’s set at +1 stop provided rim light again. You might even spot my voice acyivated light stands in one of the shots!