Joseph Radhik experiences the Profoto B10 for the first time while shooting fellow wedding photographers, Erika and Lanny Mann in the searing heat and blinding light of the Khimsar dunes.
The eastern edge of the Thar desert is about an hour and a half drive out of Jodhpur. The location Joseph chose, The Khimsar Dunes, is popular with photographers; a place where the dusty, rocky landscape gives way to an undulating sea of sand.
It’s small, but is it powerful enough?
Joseph was familiar with Khimsar; he'd carried out assignments here before. And unlike the Manns Joseph was also familiar with larger OCF lights like the Profoto B1X. However, this was his first time working with the B10, and while he appreciated its small size - after all when you're working on 40-degree heat, the less you have to carry the better - he was curious to see if it packed the punch necessary for the frames he had in mind.
When two become one
Joseph had an idea for his first image high on one of the many rolling dunes. "I had this thought; I wanted to create something layered, a sort of portrait within a portrait."
So he positioned a single B10 with an OCF Magnum Reflector close to Erika’s face, just behind her and slightly to the left. Joseph placed Lanny about 10 feet further away and to compress the background he captured the image with a 200mm lens. The result saw the outline of Erika with just the right amount of light on her face and upper body to stand out from the silhouette of her husband - a portrait within a portrait, just as Joseph had pictured it.
It was starting to get hotter, and the sun was getting higher, so Joseph decided that his next image should be a celebration of that.
The power to overpower
So he positioned Lanny and Erika above him on one of the many rolling dunes in this part of the desert. Again, Lanny would be in silhouette in the distance while Erika would be a little further forward in a harsher, more dramatic light. Devika, Josephs wife was recruited to take the role of his assistant for the afternoon holding the B10, with an OCF Magnum Reflector just a few feet away from Erika, pushing light into her face while bringing out the vibrant colors of her outfit. High above them, blazing in the deep blue sky, the sun would be the third player in the scene.
"To work with light in this environment, to shape it you must have enough power to overpower the sun. I needed serious power to capture the frame I was looking for." To Joseph's surprise, the B10 gave him all the light he needed and more. "The flash was so much brighter than I expected, so I decided to stop down a little to compensate."
Getting the most out of the location
Joseph had observed that the dune they were standing on at its peak had formed a sort of sharp ridge. So Joseph would crouch some distance below the rim, with Erika and Lanny walking along it. He used two B10's, the first again with an OCF Magnum Reflector firing into them from below to add a little fill, and the second B10 would be handheld by Devika walking a few feet behind the Manns. The second B10 would act as a rim light on Erika, separating her from the background while at the same time slightly lighting Lanny's face as he looked back at her.
"I needed to shoot at a super-fast shutter speed, I started at 1/5000 of a second and went up to 1/8000 of a second, but it was impressive how the HSS kicked in to help me out."
By this time everyone was hot and tired and craving something cool and refreshing back at the hotel. However, Joseph was in the groove and wanted to create one more image.
A little romance to end the day
The light was falling fast giving the Khimsar dunes a deeper golden hue, and Joseph wanted to take advantage of the unique light for his final image.
So he positioned Lanny and Erica beneath a tree beside a small body of water in a mini oasis. The tree, coincidentally (or not) was shaped a little like a heart, so it was perfect for a romantic portrait.
A single B10 was positioned on a light stand slightly higher up the slope behind Erika and Lanny, and Joseph shot from across the large pool to capture the reflection in the perfectly still water. The B10 created a dramatic backlight that separated them from the golden tones of the dune rising behind the Manns, while at the same time bringing light to the ground around their feet.
After a long day in what amounted to oppressive heat, Joseph was delighted with how the B10 performed and the images he captured. "The image I have in mind always drives my lighting decisions, and the good news is the B10 more than came through in all those situations.”