Photo of the Week: Josh McElwee

mulville by mcelwee

“This slab of cement is located in the Indian River along US Route 1 in Titusville, Florida. Mark noticed it while driving into town one day, and we decided that it was great location for a bunnyhop barspin photo.

We arrived around 3:30 in the afternoon, so the Florida sun was in full effect. Since we were in the water, my setup options weren’t exactly ideal for getting the strobes in super close to Mark, which is my first line of defense when trying to freeze action during the middle of the day. The first light that I set up was an Einstein on half-power (320 w/s) on the cement slab parallel to the one Mark is riding. Although I placed it in a rim/kicker light position, it serves as the main light in this case by both lighting the camera-right side of his face, and freezing his spokes (to a degree). The atypical positioning was done in an attempt to get the light a little more off-axis and create some depth, and avoid having flat-looking light.

I placed two more strobes in the water about 15-20 feet from the slab. The large distance is due to the depth of the river, although I might have been able to get away with putting them in closer, I wouldn’t trust having normal light stands in water more than a few inches (a C-stand would be a perfectly safe solution, though). To compensate for the distance, I used an Alien Bee 800 at full power (320 w/s) on a small stand, and another Einstein at half-power on a larger stand. This gave me a reasonably large amount of light to kick some fill into Mark’s face and the front of his bike.

Both the pair of strobes and the single strobe metered at f/11. I ended up shooting a third of a stop under at f/13, just to try and get the sky a tiny bit darker, knowing that I could bring back detail from the flash portion of the exposure in post without much of a hassle. I originally envisioned the photo with Mark in the left side of the frame, but it just wasn’t working out, so I ended up switching the composition completely about halfway through shooting. Mark was nice enough to fire out a whole bunch of these so that I could get the framing and timing just right.

Tech info:

Canon 5D MK II
70-200 f/4
Paul Buff Einstein Strobes (2)
Alien Bee 800
Vagabond Mini Lithium Batteries (3)
Pocket Wizards
Light stands”

See more of Josh’s work here.

See Mark’s riding here.

Join the Flickr group.

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