Some Idol photography…

It’s that time of year, whereupon I’m dashing about like a mad person, attempting to complete a variety of all-consuming tasks, and completely neglecting my blog! Enough, I say! Here’s a tale about a poster I needed an appealingly strong image for, this week:
I’ve been doing the posters for this specific event for the last couple of years, and 2010’s one was not as dynamic as the idea I had in my head (it seemed like a GREAT idea at the time), so I wanted more life in the 2011 one – and what’s more lively than jumping in the air?
So – I recruited my supportive colleague Holly as the model, and set about assembling this set:
Featuring the last few metres of an 11m roll of arctic white paper, strung up on an aluminium pole between two lighting trees, two great aluminium screens (on wheels!) that here serve as reflectors, but were originally constructed as backlit theatre set, and have also served as a projection screen… Aaaaand, four studio monolights – the two Bowens ones I always use, as back/side lighting, and two ancient Courtenay Sola flashes with umbrellas – the stronger of the two acting as key light. Here’s a diagram:

Then all that remained was to shoot – lots of jumping!! The radio triggers (for the flashes) and the SLR itself, limited me to a 1/200th second shutter speed – but that was enough to get nice sharp action photos, at ISO100 and f16! I used my fave 50mm lens, and had to stand back some distance to get everything in…
All in all, about 20 photos before “jumping fatigue” set in, but I had already snapped a few useful ones, choosing this one:
You can see the essential coffee cup down the bottom, the leg of the keylight stand, and the paper roll beginning to suffer from being jumped on. The reflectors really soften the shadows well, and the backlighting gives Holly’s jacket some nice definition. It is astonishing how high a person can jump without some sort of springy assistance (other than coffee).
With a touch of “corporate branding/style manual” treatment (making the picture monochrome, using the proper Black & White adjustment thingo and a green filter for lighter fleshtones, and a Pantone-correct Red wedge device), we end up with this:
which will be printed and plastered all over the place (well, the workplace!) shortly, for all to see.

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