I first crossed paths with documentary and portrait photographer Trupal Pandya a few years back when he was completing his senior year as a photography major at NYC’s Fashion Institute of Technology. He was also the subject of my very first ‘Rising Light’ blog post for Profoto’s website.
Trupal has come a long way since then. With a specialty in photographing members of remote cultures - people most of us would never encounter otherwise, Trupal Pandya’s photographs have appeared on CNN as well as the pages of National Geographic Indonesia, The Huffington Post, The Week, Captured Nation, Daily Mail, Buzzfeed, Earthables, The Times of India, PDNedu, W27, DNAindia, Hue Magazine, The Wild Magazine, and Creative Image Magazine.
His travels have taken him to Ethiopia, Ecuador, India, Iraq, and Sri Lanka. Along the way he has photographed tribes indigenous to the Omo Valley in Ethiopia, the Huaorani people of the Amazon rain forest, the Brokpas, the Aghoris, shepherds in India, headhunters, and eunuchs.
Getting to many of these remote locations can be tedious and can involve days of trekking through the roughest of terrains with few creature comforts. As a photographer who usually travels and works solo, Trupal must carefully consider the size and weight of everything he takes along on his journeys. Every ounce of gear must be justifiable. When Trupal was introduced to Profoto’s B10 OCF flash system, he instantly knew he had found an off-camera flash system that could lighten his load without compromising his lighting needs.
Prior to being introduced to the B10 flash units, Trupal was using a Profoto B1 flash system - a system that has served him in his travels quite well. But as powerful and compact as his B1 flash units may be, the new B10 offered equally-controllable, quality light in a notably smaller and lighter package. And though he was initially concerned about the loss of about a stop of light when shooting at full power compared to his B1s (250ws vs. 500ws), real-world experience has proved otherwise.
Pandya’s first outing with his new B10 flash system was to a remote village in South Sudan where he photographed members of the Mundari tribe. Any doubts he might have had concerning the speed, power, and accuracy of Profoto’s latest lighting system were quickly put to rest.
Trupal doesn’t light the scene as much as ‘compliment’ the existing ambient light by accenting select portions of the scene rather than wash over the very light that caught his eye in the first place.
Once he’s reached his destination Trupal will often befriend a tribe member and using body English more often than spoken words, would have them hold and aim the B10 flash head at his subject using the B10’s continuous LED modelling light mode as a visual guide. Once everybody smiled and shook their heads in agreement Trupal would switch the B10 back to flash and WiFi mode and get to work. For light modifiers he mostly relies on his Profoto Grid Kit and Profoto OCF Softbox Octa 2’.
On a lighter note, Trupal put the B10’s LED modelling light to work as a utility light on more than one occasion. (When you need a good flashlight in the middle of nowhere on a dark moonless night you make use of whatever tools are at your disposal.)
For all of the above-mentioned reasons, Profoto’s new B10 has become Trupal Pandya’s go-to light source. After using the B10 on assignment, Trupal is seriously considering replacing one of his B1 flash heads with an additional B10 flash, which can easily fill his needs when shooting portraits in remote environments as well as commercial shoots and lighting workshops.