Whenever you get a brief on a commercial shoot, you are given direction in often very simple terms. The directive here, for this shot for the Nikon D850 ad campaign, was speed and power. I came up with a few notions, one of which involved Parkour athletes. I noted it was young, hip, urban, cool, all appealing qualities for any client trying to target a likely-to-buy demographic.
Again, as I have noted repeatedly in my blogs, this was a big team effort. What looks like a relatively simple shot had lots of hurdles to cross to become real. NYC is a wonderful backdrop, but is a jungle of restrictions, permits, insurance requirements and the like. Layer onto that the fact that this wall the wonderful Nikkie Zanevsky is clearing is in a NYC Park, which has its own departmental regulations and requirements. Delving into this paperwork and actually getting clearances to shoot is like trying to climb the Cliffs of Insanity.
But this is where Lynn DelMastro in my studio reigns triumphant. T’s were crossed and i’s were dotted, and I found myself behind the camera, testing the lighting and trying to make this happen. The below production pix here made by Mark Cutler of Nikon. Cali, our athletic crew chief leaps as a place holder for the talent.
It was not easy. The action is crossing right in front of camera, and I had to use Speedlights at full power in the bright daylight, hence I got one frame per move. I am relying on the D850 to make a split second AF decision here, and time the action and expression. I am firing multiple SB-5000 Speedlights into a Lastolite 6×6 Skylite Panel. In some instances, out on the walkway are more SB-5000 units, zoomed tight, and firing at the back of Nikkie’s hair. We worked on various moves with some wonderful Parkour athletes, but this frame turned the corner for the purposes of the ad. Long day in the field!
Above the supremely athletic Alexa Marcigliano goes up and over, almost right into the camera, actually. Speedlight driven backlight is very evident here, as the ambiant levels fade.
Thanks to the creative team at Nikon USA and the Cramer-Krasselt Agency for making this opportunity, and thanks to our wonderful athletes, Nikkie Zanevsky, Alexa and Emily Tung. And of course our whole A Team. Lynn drives the train along with fellow producer Patricia Bilotti. Cali runs the crew, and we had a great team of Mike Grippi, Andrew Tomasino and Casey Mathewson. Sam Brown brings impeccable style, and Deborah Englesman is peerless as a makeup artist.
The athletes saved the day, as always, with their power and speed. The D850, coupled with a Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 was also a good partner, sharp as a tack. Numnuts here just had to hit the shutter at the right time. Lots of work goes into creating that moment, or rather, that 1/500th of a second, over that wall in Brooklyn.