Monday, September 14, 2009

Sunset Photoshoot with Makenzie

Did a sunset shoot with Makenzie from Model Mayhem this weekend at Kapalua Bay. Ran into a few snags with lighting, but we got some great results and an awesome sunset.

With a background in hip-hop/jazz dancing, Makenzie is a great model to work with. She also has these amazing green eyes so I wanted to start out with some headshots to capture that. We had her leaning in the shadow of a tree and positioned an SB26 flash to camera right. I zoomed the lens out to 200mm to blur as much of the background as I could.

Canon 1D MkII with 70-200mm L Lens 1/250 @ f5.6

We then moved to a hill overlooking the beach. Makenzie's mom held a Silver California Sunbounce Mini just out of camera right to bounce some fill light in. Shot it from a low angle to try to get below Makenzie's eye level and hide the snorkelers behind her. I cropped it to a 16x9 format to try to make her legs look longer and to hide the restaurant across the bay.

Canon 1D MkII with 70-200mm L Lens 1/250 @ f5.6

Next we went out onto the rocks near the water. At first I attempted something similar to my previous shoot with bodyfitt, using a slow shutter speed under natural light to blur the incoming waves, but it wasn't working too well. (Can't wait to get my carbon fiber tripod which will make it much easier to lug to location). So I went in another direction and setup the beauty dish with a CTO gel and the camera set to tungsten white balance to get this shot.

Canon 1D MkII with 28-70mm L Lens 1/250 @ f11

We moved to another section of the rocks and positioned her up high. I tried to get my lightstand into a position close to me, but the terrain made it difficult. I used an AB800 bare bulb to try to lighten the shadows .

Canon 1D MkII with 28-70mm L Lens 1/250 @ f8

Around the beginning of sunset, we headed down to the beach. By some stroke of luck, the beach was nearly deserted.

I setup a large softbox on my AB800 with a 1/4 CTO gel inside. I've always wanted to try this in the past, but usually run into problems with the wind so I had been sticking with the beauty dish for beach shoots. It was really calm today, so I was able to get the softbox up with no problem.

Unfortunately the battery pack for the strobe stopped working after a few shots. But I did manage to get a few good shots with it before it went out completely. It's a shame because I really liked the look we were getting with the softbox. This was one of my favorites:

Canon 1D MkII with 70-200mm L Lens 1/250 @ f8

With the sun setting quickly, I got out my 580EX and a Gary Fong lightsphere. [Thank you Chaz for reminding me to bring that ;-)]. Without it, I probably wouldn't have been able to get this shot:

Canon 1D MkII with 24-70mm L Lens 1/250 @ f2.8

Sometimes when the conditions are right, you get really cool colors in the sky if you wait around a bit after sunset. We lucked out that night and got an awesome firestorm in the background.
At this point it was so dark that I literally couldn't see her face. I had to rely only on the focusing aid from the 580EX to get the shot. The camera and flash setting were all manual, with the flash on 1/2 or full power by this time, using the Lightsphere with the white dome aimed directly at her.

Canon 1D MkII with 24-70mm L Lens 1/30 @ f4

Even with the few minor equipment mishaps we had, we got some pretty good shots out of this one. Now I just need to get all that sand out of my gear...