Freezing for the Fire


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In advance

I really love my job as a photographer as i get to shoot so many different people from all walks of life enjoying many different interests.

So you can imagine my delight when i was approached by fire performer Animus for a shoot.

So as i like to plan ahead the shoot was arranged for the end of january so christmas was gotten out of the way and the weather would start to be on the mend towards a pleasant evening. or so you would think...


the week preceding the shoot the uk experiences an arctic cold snap with many places being buried in snow! i mean it may snow here sometimes but being by the sea it rarely settles but of course with a shoot planned of course it did.

So time comes closer to the shoot and after discussion with the performer we decide it's still on and that rain is no problem brilliant.

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Day of the shoot

Well the day comes of the shoot and all my gear is prepped in advance kit list for what i would/could be using was: 4 speed lights, 4 light stands, 1 tripod, 2 camera bodies, 3 radio triggers, 2 torches a bunch of glow sticks {so i can see where my flashes are in the dark}, gridded beauty dish, 2 lenses and 35 batteries to power everything.  It was a little overkill but i wanted to cover all bases.

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Shoot time!

So Animus gets to mine on time and proceeds to get ready... Now this wasnt the original plan the original plan had him getting ready at the location that i had decided on previous to this which was a jetty going out into a lake but having visited the location on the day i discovered the park it was in has started to close from dusk till dawn which put the brakes on things so the secondary location of the beach was selected. this is a 10 min walk from my place allowing me to offer my place for warmth of changing and a ready supply of cups of tea.

of course sods law being as it is as soon as he arrived at mine the weather turned for the bad but he had traveled quite far to shoot with me and had paid so we were really past the point of no return and decided to brave it.


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It's so cold!

We get to the beach and OH MY GOD! its freezing! so instantly i cut my gear list i was going to be using to 2 flashes one of which with the beauty dish which i would get my assistant for the night Kev to hold as we soon found out we would be dealing with 25mph winds as well as the driving freezing rain.  i swear by the end of the night we were all in the early stages of hypothermia!.

so gear was setup camera was low down on a tripod with a cable release attached and to keep Animus who was not wearing much by this point in his jacket for that little bit longer i roped in assistant Kev to stand in the area so i could lock focus and test out the flashes as soon as that was done the camera was set to manual focus and left as is.

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3,2,1 GO!

So once I had my gear all setup it was time for animus to do his thing we worked through some moves as quick as we could while i snapped away.

setup wise I had the beauty dish in front of animus to the right and the other flash was behind him firing straight at camera. this with the camera set to rear curtain sync allowed me to use the cable release to capture movements at shutter speeds between 2 seconds and 8 seconds ending in a flash from the speed lights to lock him in to the picture.

one of the main problems when doing it this way is if the face isn't fully facing the flash you can leave the face looking like a stroke victim with one side of the face slid down while the other is crisp.

this is easily remedied by taping a glow stick to the center of the reflector plate of the beauty dish so the performer can pick out where to look in the dark by simply looking at the glow stick at the end of the moves.

time went on and with hypothermia setting in we decided to cut the routine short and shoot again another day it was disappointing for us both but we had what we need from the shoot and sometimes in the interests of safety you have to know when to make the call.

fun shoot-2As always thank you for reading comments always welcome you can subscribe to the blog via email or re blog this but either way please share using the buttons below to your favorite social media sites