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 wedding photographer Sal Cincotta at The Great Wall of China. When you are done watching, click here to see the rest of the series.
Sal Cincotta knows a great location when he sees one. The first time he visited the Great Wall in China he knew he would one day return, this time with cameras and a plan. Born in Brooklyn, Cincotta worked as a wonk at Microsoft before finding his true calling as a photographer. About 10 years ago he upped and left the East Coast. Today he’s a wedding and portrait photographer based in the St Louis Metro area, though his assignments often take him far from the comforts of his Illinois studio. Like China for instance.
Far from a romantic journey, Sal describes the trip to the Great Wall as a “boat, plane, train, Trolley, cab, and lots of walking sort of deal. It isn’t near anything. It’s extremely remote. You have to pack light, you need to understand you’re not going to be carrying more than about 50lb of gear with you. And, there’s no car to run back to when you forget something.”
One thing he’s learned over the years is that he doesn’t need big lights – he needs power. “The B2 Heads are about the same weight and mass as my speedlites, but they output 4 to 5-times the light,” he says. “Speedlites put out maybe 50 or 60ws of light. The B2 Heads output 250ws!”
Cincotta and his assistant also appreciated the fact all of the OCF Light Shaping Tools packed away equally well. “We had one backpack for the lighting, and the other backpack for the cameras and everything else.”
The logistics of capturing this image were not the easiest. In addition to a sun playing peek-a-boo with the clouds as it dipped towards the horizon, there was a constant stream of pedestrian traffic with few breaks in the flow. “The idea of setting up stands and holding up traffic while you busy yourself calling out flash readings is totally out of the question”.
To capture this dramatic image Cincotta’s assistant handheld a B2 Head outfitted with a Profoto OCF Softbox 2×3’ just out of picture range. Shooting in TTL mode, Cincotta captured the full series of images using a Canon EOS 1Dx with an Air Remote TTL-C and a Canon EF 50mm/f1.2L USM lens. The exposure was 1/125th-second at f/8.0. The ISO was set to 500.
Cincotta credits much of the success of this project on his new lighting solution. “The Profoto people have figured it out. Between the E-TTL wireless system and the 250ws the B2 puts out, that combination is unprecedented… and as a photographer it’s made my life so much easier.”