Thursday, October 15, 2009

Big Group Shot

This was a seminar group that asked me to do a group shot of the delegates and speakers.  While it's far from the most interesting shot in the world, it did pose some interesting problems.  First up, the client wanted the shot taken on the wooden deck behind the Lil'wat (First Nation) Cultural Centre, with Blackcomb Mountain in the background.  It was a very tight space, I needed almost the whole throw of my 17mm lens to get everyone in, and even more problematic, the site is heavily back lit throughout the day.  Even the most casual of photographers know that the cure to back lighting is to use a flash to fill in the shaded part of the photo, but what about when you have 70 people, and they're 30 to 40 feet from the camera...

You bring in a really huge light source.  The above set up is a 2000WS Norman flash pack (the brick like object under the ladder), which is about as big as they get, and a 48"x36" softbox light bank.  This light is 400 times more powerful than the average add on camera flash, and although the softbox absorbs a lot of that light, it's still plenty to get the job done.  I used my tallest light stand to lift it 10" up, and 25 Lb and 10 Lb sandbags to keep the whole thing from blowing over in the wind.  A ladder is also a good idea, as a higher angle is always good for getting a good view of the whole group.

Here's the same photo, but without the strobe, pretty big difference.

Slightly off topic, if you're ever in Whistler, check out this location, the Lil'wat Cultural Centre, it has a great museum and art gallery, and the cafe serves real native banock bread.  Well worth the stop.

Tech Stuff:
Camera:  Nikon D700
Lens:  Nikon AF-S 17-35 mm  f/2.8
Lighting:  Norman P2000 strobe pack, Norman 2400 strobe head, and Photoflex 48"x36" softbox

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