We came to call the job “Impossible Flash” around the studio. The notion was to come up with an idea that would stress the Nikon SB-5000 system, push it hard, explore the limits, and come up with an interesting photo that pinged on these requirements. I’ve seen too many action movies, to be sure, Blue Thunder among them, and started thinking about lighting a chopper in the air.
But it couldn’t just be the machinery. There had to be a human element, hence the intrepid stunt actress, Kachina Dechert, out on the skid. Over NY. At night.
The key is the radio controlled aspects of the system. I can talk to those flashes, arrayed in groups, in the subject helicopter, from my D5, via a WR-R10 transceiver/WR-A10 combo, from 75 to 150 feet away, give or take. I can tell them to be TTL, or manual. I can shift their power, which is necessary when you have constantly changing (diminishing) levels of ambient light. We started fairly early, below, and flew into the night.
Key to the job is lighting Kachina. This was accomplished via two Lastolite Speed-Lite 2 Plus Soft Boxes, fitted with grids, which make all the difference. See below. Also check out this video on our YouTube channel, showing the placement of the lights:
All thanks on this job go to Lynn DelMastro, in our studio, who ultimately got us in the air with NYonAir, a tremendous flying outfit based in New Jersey. Their chief pilot, Tim Orr, flew Kachina, and he did the delicate airborne game of chess he needed to with our pilot, Christi Brown, who was guiding the shoot heli. Cali, our crew chief, flew with me, trading off cameras and lenses as I shot. Andrew Tomasino did a great job doing BTS stills, and Mike Grippi handled a lot of the rigging and placement for our lights. Sam Brown did her usual wonderful styling job, along with Deborah Engelsman handling the makeup.
As always, a team effort! More tk….