On to Light Shaping is a new video series in which get to see 18 renowned portrait and wedding photographer create magic with Profoto Off-Camera Flash. In this video we join photographer Jared Platt for a shoot in the sunny and harsh desert sun. When you are done watching, click here to see the rest of the series.
Jared Platt is a photographer, lecturer, educator, writer, and imaging consultant based in Phoenix, Arizona. On a recent jaunt to South Mountain – the regional Mecca of mountain biking located in the Phoenix Reserve, Jared took Profoto’s new B2 Off-Camera Flash for a real-world test drive.
The lighting at the location was as expected – bright, sunny and harsh. This meant the B2’s 250 Ws of powerful would be put to good use. As everybody was getting to the location by bike, the B2’s compact size and light weight was also a huge help.
To paraphrase Jared, “One of the crazy things about the B2 is that we were able to fit a 250ws flash pack, an Umbrella Deep Silver S, and a collapsible monopod into a small backpack designed to carry a camera and lens. The entire lighting system fit into a backpack… it weighed maybe a little over 7lbs!”
Platt chose the silver umbrella specifically for its reflective quality. “If you bury the head deep inside you can get close to an extra stop out of it,” he says. “And even if you don’t need the extra stop, because you’re putting less of a strain on the battery you gain extra battery life.”
To capture the biker clearing the rocks, Jared’s assistant positioned himself about 35’ off to the side on an outcrop of rocks aiming the open end of the umbrella facing the action. Despite a light-to-subject distance of about 35’, Platt’s B2 was able to freeze the action, open up the shadow details, and maintain the richly saturated blue sky around the biker.
“To do this with speedlites you need four of them and they’re slower, more complicated to synchronize and rig together,” says Jared. “And if you use AA batteries you’re lucky if you can shoot a frame or two per second, and if you start adding battery packs to pick up the recycling times, there goes your weight advantage.
“So it’s nice to finally have a powerful flash that’s light enough and small enough to get to the crazy places I go to. The power is good, the battery life is good, and the recycling times are good. Plus they integrate perfectly with my B1!”
The resulting images were captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mk III and a Canon EF 35mm/f/1.4L lens. The exposure was 1/200th-second at f/6.3, with the ISO set to 50.
LOCATION: South Mountain, Phoenix Reserve, Arizona