It is always nice to see that it is not only established photographers that decide to invest their time and money in professional lighting equipment. Chad Doyon, for instance, who happily admits that he is still just learning the art, has already equipped himself with a set of battery generators.
“At the moment it’s just a hobby,” says Chad. “But I’m working hard on making it something more than that.”
When and why were these shots taken?
“These images are a genuine case of the phrase ‘it can’t hurt to ask’ having a real effect. I found out about this event on a Thursday morning with it taking place on the very next night. I contacted one of the coordinators assuming that they already had an event photographer. As luck would have it they didn’t and they were more than happy to have me shoot the event. The event was put on by a local church with nothing but good intentions for the kids involved. They spent over a month building the big air jump in the corner of the church parking lot. A positive event for the community, combined with my desire to shoot an event like this with no limitations, I gladly volunteered my time.”
Did you have any creative ambitions about what you wanted to achieve?
“I was hoping for what all of us want every time we click the shutter. I wanted to come away with something that people could get emotional about. I wanted to show these kids something they hadn’t seen before or been a part of. These kids aren’t professionals and don’t compete in real events, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be treated as such. It was perhaps their only chance to be photographed in this way.”
In terms of lighting, how did you prepare?
“It was partly a case of bring what you have. I have three strobe heads, so I had to come up with a set-up that would work the best for my needs. There was obviously no time to place an order to have rental gear ready in time for the event. The dilemma here was that I had to light two areas without being able to move lights once the event started.
“I used a Pro-B2 set-up on the big air section, assuming that the riders would be going through there with more speed, to try and make use of the short flash duration. I fitted the A head in the lighting diagram with a Magnum Reflector and used it as the key light to provide back lighting and freeze the loose snow in mid-air behind the riders. Having it in the middle of both sections allowed me to easily swivel the head to either section as needed since only one section would be active at one time. I then had the B head, also fitted with a Magnum Reflector, set to the left outer side of the large air section. I needed 48′ of head extension to make this work. This provided fill to the front side of the riders. On the right outer side of the rails section I had an AcuteB setup. I originally had it fitted with a Zoom Reflector, but it seemed to produce a flat look and I didn’t like the results. I then swapped it for a Narrow Beam Reflector, which provided a nice pop to the front side of the riders. Luckily, I had access to a power point. I used the Pro-B Universal Power Adapter on the Pro-B2, and the Profoto Charger 2A on the AcuteB pack to keep them charging all night. These proved invaluable in the very cold weather and I never had to replace the batteries!”
And what is your personal opinion of the end result?
“I’m very pleased with the results. I’m very grateful for having the opportunity to shoot this sort of thing, and I can’t wait to do it again. I love this stuff! I just need to figure out how to make it pay off. If this were an actual paid event with professionals, sponsors and such, then I would have rented another Pro-B2 and have a set-up for both sides independently. Still, it was a great opportunity for me to use and gain new skills.”
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