Thursday, July 13, 2006

Beach Swimwear Shoot

So, Andre asked if I could help him on a shoot yesterday (Wednesday). It would be shot on film with the Mamiya RZ67 and he'd be using it for one of his portfolios. Lila, the designer of Amaya Swimwear, was providing the suits and styling the shoot. Of course I said yes. I had shot for Lila before and her suits always look great. At 9:00AM I looked out my window and saw a torrential downpour. The shoot was supposed to start in an hour, on the beach. I called Andre and he was certain the rain would blow inland by the time we were ready to shoot. Always the optimist.

By 9:40AM, when I met him at the beach, the rain had passed, but the clouds remained. Andre and I both smiled, looking out over the water. This shot would be hot. Not to mention, we had come packing. We had three battery-powered packs with a head each. Andre had his Profoto 7B, and I had brought an Elincrhom Ranger RX and Ranger RX Speed AS. We started setting up and used the 7B and Ranger RX at 45deg angles in front of our first model, Crystal. Both had white beauty dishes. We set even power on each pack for a total of f/22 @ 1/400th. For a backlight, we used the Ranger Speed AS with the Maxi-Lite refelctor, at about f/27.

A little about the Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed AS. 17lbs of weather-sealed, Swiss-made goodness, packing 1100w/s of power. Adjustable range from 5.7 - 1100 w/s in 1/10th stop increments. Quick change battery good for about 4000 shots. Recycles to full power in 2.8secs and min power in less than 1/3sec. All for about $2,000. In my opinion, this pack is the best out there, expecially since it is about half the price of anything close to these specs. And the quality of light with Elinchrom light modifiers is nothing short of divine.

Back to the shoot. Needless to say, by the time we set up, the rain came back in spades. Now here's the beauty of weather-proofed packs. We just kept shooting. Sure, the Profoto was zipped up tight in its Tenba Car Case with just the head cable poking out, but the Elinchrom packs were soaked and loved it. I concentrated on keeping the lens dry with a cloth between every shot. The rain passed and we pressed on.

Diana © Andre Rowe

I truly gained an appreciation for another piece of "can't live without it" gear: my Sekonic 558R paired with Pocket Wizard Plus II transievers on every pack. No cords, no hassle, no delay. I was able to meter and adjust each light individually to get the lighting balance we wanted without breaking the pace of the shoot. Mamiya calls it Digital Wireless Freedon, I call it essential.

We did a shot with bubbles that came out really nice. It was shot at f/32 (the packs weren't even at full power) and we had everyone in the shoot blowing bubbles from out of frame. With all those lights, the bubbles are clearly defined and stand out well against the darkened background.

Crystal © Andre Rowe

By noon we wrapped and headed back to Dale Photo & Digital to get the E6 processed and scanned. By 2PM everything was developed and digitized. Who said film can't be turned around fast? Especially when you have a pro lab at your disposal?

The shots came out perfect as usual. Truly the difference between picture making and picture taking. I took a bunch of behind-the-scenes shots with a "point and shoot" D2X with 12-24DX. I'll try and post those later.


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