Jason Dodd: A charity shoot in the French Alps

09 November, 2018

Written by: Ailish Cook

Jason Dodd took the plunge to become a professional photographer back in 2005, after having a love for image creation since he was 8 years old. Going to Brands Hatch racing circuit when he was younger inspired Jason to take his photography to the motor sport world. We spoke to Jason about his recent charity shoot in the alps, where action and speed was captured to create a diverse portfolio of images.

Shooting in the French Alps for charity

Every task is a new challenge for a photographer and no matter what the day brings, it must always end with great shots in any location and weather condition.

The Alps are one of the most famous mountain ranges in the world and are prominent in more than eight different countries. The bold mountains, sharp peaks and beautiful lakes known to the area make up some of the most amazing scenery in Europe, and where better to shoot for a great cause? Jason covers photography work for the Blackthorn Trust and was asked to document their charitable trip.

"The trip was the brainchild of Susie Chassagne, who wanted to help raise funds for the Blackthorn Trust. She works for them and wanted to do a challenge. In only 6 months she learnt how to kayak and decided the French Alps would be one of the most challenging of places to end her training.

A week in the French Alps was then in the diary where I covered the kayaking and with the help of Barretts Land Rover, one of my clients, the use of a brand new discovery sport was the support vehicle."

Dramatic vehicle shots

Being an experienced motorsport photographer, Jason couldn't take a trip to the French Alps without capturing the vehicles themselves.

Surrounded by mountains and bright conditions, additional light was needed to ensure any images of the cars used were evenly lit in their surroundings. For the image below, Jason firstly used a Profoto A1 to the rear right of the car to add some fill on the rest of the car. Al, Jason's assistant, then held the B1 by hand with a reflector to widen the beam of light, which helped create an evenly lit and dramatic photo.

Capturing the action

Alongside shooting the cars themselves, one of Jason's main tasks during his time in the Alps was to capture the action that surrounded the kayaking activities of the week. This presented him with the challenge of strong sunlight, where reflections off of the water made it difficult to control the light naturally.

"The week was warm and with no cloud cover, and with temperatures in the high 30’s it was tricky to control the reflective light off of the water. Al had the B2 on the edge of a path of rocks which was on half power to light Susie as she was fighting the rapids along the stream."

 

 

Portraits using HSS

Alongside capturing the action, Jason wanted to take portraits of Susie herself. To create balanced images and reduce the harsh shadows formed by the strong sunlight, the Profoto B2 was used with HSS to create strong images with character. 

"Shooting against the sun I used the B2 to light Susie. I used a grid on the light to soften the effect and the high-speed sync function allowed for a shallow depth of field and to make the subject more prominent in the photo."

 

 

Jason's kit bag

To prepare for all possibilities, Jason took his Nikon D4S, D850, 70-200mm 2.8, 300mm f4, 14-24mm 2.8 and 50mm 1.4. Accompanying this was his Profoto B1, B2, and A1, in order to prepare for all potential lighting challenges.

"Kit wise I wanted to have a variety of lenses to cover all eventualities, same with the lighting. It was important to have the flexibility of the Profoto lighting, which is all battery powered, lightweight and was easy for my assistant Al to carry around the narrow paths that led down to the rivers."

 

Using Profoto's ecosystem

"The A1 and B2 are a constant part of my kit, due to their portability it’s never a chore to take them on location. The B1 is part of the trip on any car shoot due to its power and flexibility, and sometimes using these lights from a distance allows for subtle lighting and also makes sure that they are not in the frame."

Thank you to Jason for telling us about his charity shoot in the French Alps! To see more of his work, visit his website or Instagram.

 

Written by: Ailish Cook

Products used in this story