Readers of my blog will remember the giant potash mine dump I used as a gorgeous backdrop in previous posts (location scouting and quick shooting). I returned to that location to take some more images. I’ve got that perfect image in my mind with a deep blue sky during magic hour, a shining white mine dump and a perfectly lit bike in front of it. Well, for that I would have needed a full moon to illuminate the mine heap, but it was a new moon.
I started with some bike and biker portraits. The sun was setting off camera right, so there was a pink-ish sky. I placed camera and flash on the other side of the road and dialled in my settings. Again I was rider, photographer, lighting guy and the model (at least I was able to wear another jacket).
This is the setup shot, nothing fancy. You see the remote trigger on the camera with the connector cable. Another trigger was mounted underneath the flash, the third trigger was in my hand to take the image.
Using such a setup it was hilarious to experience every single passing car slowing down noticably once the outline of a camera on a tripod was spotted. Living in Germany I kind of expected the police to show up and check what I was doing, but nothing happened.
After realizing I won’t get magic hour with a white gleaming potash heap (because it was a new moon as mentioned above) I changed the setup and brought the camera to the other side of the bike (also facing the bike the other way). Now I had the blue, magic hour sky I was dreaming of. I found that leaving the lights of the bike on makes the image more vivid and interesting.
Let’s start with some more portraits. The three images you see below were 2 sec exposures with a flash illuminating the bike and me. The two seconds are necessary to capture enough light for a nicely lit sky. The flash is necessary to illuminate the bike. It also means that the model has to stand absolutely still during these two seconds in order not to get a pseudo double exposure (exposure 1 from the flash, exposure 2 from the residual daylight during the 2 sec).
After reviewing the above image on my camera screen I noticed the flies and moths dancing in the beam of the lights, leaving fine trails of light. That gave me the impromptu idea for some lightpainting.
The first shot was taken over 5 sec to get more moth trails: