Friday, November 23, 2007

Swimmer of the Year - Sarah Wardecke

Kirk and Dan both graciously came along on this photo shoot with me as assistants. I literally couldn't have done it without them. This portrait looks simple enough but it was a total bear to actually pull-off. The motto of the day was "volts and water don't mix."

While Dan set-up the softboxes and PocketWizard remote triggers, Kirk and I were in the shower room putting my electronic strobes under the hand dryers (it would have made for a hillarious funpix). My light kit had been in my car overnight. Chilled from the freezing temperatures, they began sweating profusely from the humid natatorium. We didn't want to plug these in until they were completely dry.

Volts and water don't mix.

I had this shot a bit pre-visualized, and we got all the lights setup shortly before Sarah arrived. I asked her to give an intense, stone-cold, game-face look. Some folks just don't have that kind of attitude. In Sarah's case, she's gifted with a pleasant smile, so we went with that.

This was one of those cases where the lighting just took forever to get correct. Water adds another whole dimension to lighting because it refracts the light in ways you wouldn't expect, especially in a natatorium with white reflective walls. I wanted a dark surrounding so we had to use grids and scrims (light modifiers that narrow the beam of light) to get this to look the way I wanted it. With two guys helping me, it took 20 minutes to get the shot. If I was flying solo, our swimmer would have been a prune by the time I would have finished.

Kirk and Dan were also instrumental in keeping some kids away from our extension cords and ensuring those cords never came in contact with any of the puddles on the pool deck. Thanks guys!

Here's how we ran the portrait in our Sports tab.

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