Making chicken salad out of chicken … stuff

Ok let me say that this was not the photo that I intended to make. Nope. Not at all. I had something very very different floating around in my scull as I was driving to the assignment. I was to photograph a trio of executives who relax by playing Lacrosse on a local team. I liked the idea of three guys in suits with their Lacrosse sticks and helmets with the sunset behind them and dramatic light in front. Yeah, that’s cool. Nice dichotomy there, huh? Well no luck. I had no less than 6 hours to get there, shoot them and put it on the editors desk. Due to a mix up I was supposed to be told about the assignment the week prior and that photo was going to press first thing the next morning. Nothing like pressure to make you creative right?

So I did a Google Earth lookup of their location and found that it was next to a large wooded area and we had nice sky that day. Great, I thought, I’ll take them outside, under expose the sky, use their sticks and such to ad more graphics to the shot … maybe shoot them from a low angle against said saturated sky. So I packed my strobe battery pack to give me power for my mono-lights out in the middle of a field. Sounds cool.

Well I get there and it’s windy as all get out. I mean I’d need a person on each stand to keep the lights from blowing away. Hmm, not good. So scrap all my drama sky ideas. Now what?

So it turns out that they had a good sized entryway/waiting room in their new office and by moving all their furniture out I’d just have the space I would need to shoot 3 guys. Cool.  The setup looked like this:

This is a kind of simple but dramatic rear cross lighting thing that accentuates texture. The blue background is actually the rear wall to their waiting room that is being lit by the softbox and is underexposed about 2 1/2 stops giving me that kinda sky blue effect that I was hoping for. I got lucky I guess – it wasn’t an orange wall.


Technicals: Nikon D200 camera, ISO 100, daylight balance 1/60th @ f/11. Nikon AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8. One Alien Bee AB800 set to 1/2 power in a Chimera Pro Medium softbox, two Alien Bee AB800’s with 20 degree grid spots. All triggered by Pocket Wizards. 

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