Thursday, June 4, 2009


f/13 at 1/15 sec ISO 200

Sometimes you have an upcoming shoot already planned out in your head. You know what your model will be wearing, how she looks and what light would look best on her. You've already scouted your location, checked to see where the best light will be at what time of day, and have found a few perfect spots for your session.

BUT, what if something unexpected happens?

That was the case with my last shoot, with fellow photographer Nina. We knew where we wanted to shoot, and I had already come up with a few cool lighting setups that would totally rock.

We picked this abandoned train station that had every square inch of it covered in graffiti. It had windows on both sides of the main building, tracks on either side running East/West and many cool rooms full of urban decay.

So we get there and I immediately start setting up a few lights. I always do this on a shoot because I know I will be using at least one light (if not more) so it just makes since and saves time to go ahead and set one up. I had my friend Nina standing roughly where I wanted her, and then off in the distance I hear...

WHOO-WHOO! ....holy crap, here comes a train! I had no idea that the train still ran through this station! It was moving fairly slowly so I turned around, dialed my shutter speed down to around 1/15 sec. composed and took a few frames. I tried to keep the building in focus but still show the train as moving blur.

I liked this look so well, that I asked Nina to quickly jump next to the train, I turned my Nikon SB-800 around, zoomed the head to 50mm, pointed it at her, set my flash setting to Commander Mode TTL and banged away. That's how I got the image above.

I normally will manually select my flash power and use either my Nikon's D300 built in Commander Mode to trigger my flashes or use my CyberSyncs. However in a situation like this, I needed to work fast so I relied on my camera and flash to do the heavy lifting for me. At close range, this is something the Nikon Creative Lighting System absolutely excels at, with no other devices used.

So remember as a photographer, it always pays to be prepared and have everything planned ahead as much as possible, but what separates the pros from the amateurs is the ability to respond to a given situation, take the bull by the horns and go with it!

I liked the photo above so well, that I never even did my "planned shots". ....although I did squeak one or two more different ones in ....before the cops ran us off. We were trespassing. :)

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