Many years ago during my short stint at ALLSPORT I had the pleasure of working alongside/assisting a great American photographer Lane Stewart. Lane was Sports Illustrated's top features guy, coming to the UK to shoot all sorts of stories. Lane was a lighting Guru, technically brilliant, he could light scenes and you would not even know they were bathed in Elinchrom flash.
The most memorable time with Lane was at the R&A in St Andrews, Golfs Holy city. We shot every night as we were not allowed in when the members where there, doing all the usual shots of trophies, paintings etc.
The big opening shot was the last we did, with the sun beginning to set over the clubhouse and Lane scurried off down the 18th fairway hasslblad with a small flash gun attached to the top. I was positioned behind the binoculars that are like two 600mm lenses strapped together strapping a slave to one eye piece - then focus on Lane waving at me. Behind me was a maze of wires leading to Elinchrom'e everywhere small strobes that were to trigger the bigger lights. I was sitting at a desk looking at Dave Cannon's Pictures on the wall of Seve when boom... Lane had taken a Polaroid...then three more. The building seemed to shudder everytime Lane took a picture and I certainly couldn't see Seve! my eyes were sizzling. Shoot over within 6mins of him running down the fairway.
From then on I shot everything with Flash, inside outside, big lights small lights everything. I then stopped using them as it became the norm for people to shoot with lights. Baring in mind this was in the late 1980's early 1990's the technical advances had not yet been made with flash and digital it took a fair amount of working out.
Jackie Stewart, 1997 or 8 whilst working on the rebirth of Stewart GP. Against a rather crinkled back drop that actually had a load of camels walking through a desert scene printed on it just below his jacket!
Anyway yesterday I shot a series of pictures with my new ELB400 and pro head in a large softbox. I had been testing various lights recently whilst in Java. Holly Basset daughter of a good pal of mine, is a top SUP rider travelling the world in search of the perfect wave posed whilst I set up this lighting gear. Aided by John Ash who had just come off the water.
The light from this one head is amazing, not to say other lights dont do the job but when you know a brand as well as I know Elinchrom its more like a comfort blanket.
These images are shot at 2.0 output which is just above the lowest amount of flash output the ELB400 puts out - simply wonderful.
I also use Lee filters, and on these I have used two ND grads .6 on top and .3 on the bottom to hold the sky. I find they also help to separate the background from the subject.
So all in all I'm glad to be back with my lights again.