One big light, accompanied by a definitive gesture, is often a desirable way to work. The tried and true practice of getting your light really close to your subject to wring the most quality out of it is occasionally not possible. Such as when the gesture in question is expansive or the environment to be shown is sweeping, and thus an important player in the game. You simply have to back the light off. One way to overcome sacrificing closeness is to make the light big. In situations like the above, with an exuberant Peruvian scissor dancer aloft on a desert road, I rely on a simple, big source such as the Profoto 5′ RFi Octa. One stop shopping. Put a Profoto B1 into it and you are basically done. The light, by the time it gets to the subject, is no longer completely soft, but achieves a wonderful, clean snap to the quality of it, which serves a colorful subject such the gentleman above really well. Also, because you are literally draping the subject in light, the adjustments are pretty simple. Up, down. Right, left. No real need to finesse, feather, gaffer tape, skirt, gobo, or cut the light. Put it up and go. When the sun is fading fast, that’s a blessing.
It’s a great way to work long lens. Both of these pix were shot with a Nikkor 70-200 mm f2.8. I can back up, zoom around a bit, and compress the road, turning it into a graphical element. Or I can swing horizontal and go a bit wider. Put the lovely Claudia out there in a gown that matches the color template of the desert, and you can just work, beautifully and simply. And concentrate on the picture, without having to move the light or work around it.
For the technically minded, both the above shot with the Nikon D810. The location is the Paracas Desert, just south of Lima, Peru. Many thanks to La Casa Films for getting us to this spectacular stretch of rugged earth. We did a fun BTS video of this nearly three week adventure in Lima. Check it out here.