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Condom Challenge – Stop the Motion with Move

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This project is a personal project which means that there is no client involved. I do personal projects from time to time so that I can evolve my photography and retouching techniques and to be able to do images just the way I want them.

When you do images for a client you often haves specific request on image style, what the image should contain etc. So personal project gives a huge artistic freedom. Another reason I created this is to market myself as an artist, I had a feeling that this would go viral. One night I was lying in my bed and I couldn’t sleep and I just got an ide to create this awesome and fun portrait series with a condom challenge theme, since the condom challenge was still viral I thought I would create it as soon as possible. I got the idea 25th of november 2015 and I knew that I had to publish this project before christmas 2015 to get the viral momentum. So I had one month to find 11 models that would be willing to have a condom full of water dropped on the head, with the potential of being seen all over the world. I also had to arrange clothing for the models, find the time to photograph the project, retouch and publish the project. So the there was a tight deadline. One month is a short period of time for a personal project, specially when you want create a professional result.

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Condom Challenge
The condom challenge is a challenge where you drop a water filled condom on a persons head with the goal to make it stick on their head. Kind of bizarre challenge but it’s quite fun. The Condom Challenge went viral in 2015 and you can find hundreds of videos on youtube.

Production
There were several challenges with creating this image series. The first is to be technically “freeze” (stop the motion) of the water and artistically make it look good. I created this with special professional flash (light) equipment that basically can stop any motion. For that I used a broncolor Move 1200 flash pack with up to 1/20.000 of a second. Another challenge is finding somewhere to shoot this because dropping 50 condoms filled with water makes can flood an entire room. I ended up buying a huge inflatable pool, I placed a chair in the middle of the pool and had the model sit on the chair, this way I would ensure that my whole photo studio wouldn’t be filled with water. One of the models would stand on a portable stair case and on my command they would drop the water filled condom and I had to have a precise timing to take the picture when the condom was at the right level. I used a 150cm cm octabox from front/right and a 30x120cm strip box from the back with honeycomb grid to get a nice back light. I always shoot tethered to my Mac Pro so that I can review the images on a larger screen, I also have an external backup of the images at the same time.

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Post Production (photoshop)
A third challenge was to get a good composition of the models and the condom. Depending on how you drop the condom (straight from above or a little from the side) the exploding water will take of to different angles. I knew that we wouldn’t get a good images on the first try on all eleven models. This would mean that all clothing on the models would be wet if we didn’t succeed on the first try. Because of this I made a composite (added two images together) in photoshop. So all the images where the shirts are dry is created from several images, one image of the clothing that I shot before and one image with the face, condom and water. This is where photoshop is a great tool. I also did a lot of “dodging and burning” with curves layers to get more of a three dimensional effect in the images. I blended some coloured solid layers into the images to get a nice blu/greenish tone. Afterwards i added some sharpness to the images to bring out the details in the skin, clothing and water.

Lightning Setup

The advantage of the move pack for this is obviously the flash duration, but also the consistency of light and white balance. For a battery pack it delivers a relly good amount of light. So far I’ve never been in a situation where I don’t have enough light. I also love that the model light is daylight balanced for simpler video shooting, which is great. But thats another subject from this project. Another thing I like about the pack is that it’s small and portable. I’ve been using your competitors battery pack for faster flash duration and it’s heavy/bulky. As a commercial photographer I carry a lot of gear around, everywhere I can save weight is gold. When I fist was looking to invest in gear with fast flash duration I looked at several brands but I found out that broncolor was better in about every aspect. It’s smaller, more powerful, faster flash duration, daylight balanced model light and same or better build quality. I obviously use the Move 1200 L pack with 60x100cm Softbox, 30x120cm Strips and 150cm Octabox.

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Project goes viral
The first week I published the images i got over 3000 shares on social media and over 50 online magazines wrote about my project, among these 50 some big magazines like Fstoppers and DigitalRev. Several hundred thousands of people have seen the Project. News agencies from around the world have contacted me to publish my images.

Bio
I’m Andreas Varro, 31 years old an located in Sweden working as a commercial photographer and digital artist in the area of Stockholm/Örebro with photo studio in both cities. I started my commercial career in 2010 and have worked with both small and global brands. My speciality is creating creative concept images which means images that no one else have. I use photoshop as a tool where i can photograph different images (composite) and add them together to create a story in the image. Kind of artistic storytelling.

CHAIRS by Alexander Pawlowski – The Magic of the Para 222

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As a people and advertising photographer based in Hamburg, Germany, I recently released my first Fine Art Series.

The series CHAIRS is a tribute to the connection between human being and design. In photographic still lives, human subject and artificial design object merge.

For that topic it was without alternative to use the best and most reliable photographic material I could get. Without a doubt this had to be my Hasselblad H5D system and my trustworthy and beautiful Broncolor Para 222.

To clear this up first: I don’t get any money for this article. I simply fell in love with the Para 222 since I first used and bought it – in my opinion the best and most versatile lightformer for what I do as a people photographer.

The Para was the only light I used for the main subject in the CHAIRS shootings. I did not use any aditional reflectors and I simply added one more flash for the background in the white motive of CHAIRS #4. That’s it. I set the flashlight in the Para to mid-focused so I could get a threedimensional light characteristik – not too hard shadows, not too flat surfaces.

The position of the Para was centred about 3-4 meters in height and 4-5 meters away from the main subject.

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The tricky part of the lighting was to get the highly reflecting surface of the chairs and the less reflecting skin and clothes as close as possible in terms of dynamic range. Of course the big sensor of the Hasselblad is very helpful for that. But the even light of the big Para really really did magic here. I hardly had to make any dynamic corrections in the post except from getting the highlights a bit down. The whole subject was lighted perfectly from head (chair) to feet.

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What a wonderful way to work. Of course I did a lot of work in post to get those Fine Art results but the point where I could start from after the shoot is a so brilliant and time saving origin for the whole post process – I would never get back to another workflow of lighting freely.

All in all I couldn’t be happier with the results of the CHAIRS. Crispy details, natural skin-tones and brilliant contrasts. As I printed the series in sizes of 135 x 180 cm everything had to match absolutely perfect – thanks to my setup it did! And I also know I can get up the setup really quick and easy for future projects in the series.

Keep your Paras high,

Alex

BMX-er Ben Lewis – Inspiring Siros 800 L Shoot with Rutger Pauw

Broncolor Siros L in action

Transcontinenta BV, the distributor of broncolor in the Netherlands, introduced in May the battery monolight Siros L. The broncolor Siros L is one of the most powerful compact, mobile and versatile monolights and now featured with an integrated battery. This new fantastic product actually ‘screamed’ for a good and practical test according to Transcontinenta, because, as the British tend to say: “The proof off the pudding is in the eating”. No sooner said than done.

In early June Dutch Red Bull photographer Rutger Pauw packed his camera gear and the broncolor Siros 800 L Outdoor Kit and left for Liverpool. As one of Rutger’s specialties is capturing’s BMX riders, he knows the English top BMX rider Ben Lewis and persuaded him to be a ‘model’ for this inspiring live outdoor photoshoot with the new broncolor Siros 800 L. The Siros 800 L is, just like the smaller version Siros 400 L, a true genius in providing optimal light for demanding outdoor photographers. Perfect for outdoor use on site due to the integrated battery. Never short off power!

Broncolor Siros L in action

The cooperation between Rutger Pauw, Siros 800 L Outdoor Kit and Ben Lewis resulted in inspiring and spectacular images. The Siros 800 L proves during the photoshoot in Liverpool its services and utility as shown in the images taken by Rutger. The versatility, mobility combined with the compactness and light weight of this outdoor combination outdoor really impressed Rutger Pauw without any doubt. Rutger’s adventure with the Siros 800 L was also captured by videographer Matty Lambert in a short inspirational video. No boring “tech talk” but Rutger, Ben and Siros 800 L plus plenty of action as it should be.

Broncolor Siros L in action

More about Red Bull photographer Rutger Pauw
http://www.rutgerpauw.com/

Overpowering the Sun – Jay Kolsch’s Bouldering Shoot testing the Siros L

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Jay Kolsch spent his years after college as a photo assistant working closely with some of the world’s top photographers. He began photographing professionally in 2014 and continues to refine his portfolio and push his boundaries in adventure.

He feels most at peace exhausted, dirty and far from home. When he’s not in the backcountry you can find him in Brooklyn complaining about how hip his neighborhood has become. Jay tested for us the Siros L monolight. Read his photo statements about the shoot in California.

“The small size of the Siros L 800 J allowed me great versatility when I found myself in complicated spots. the unit was easily hidden out of sight without the added hassle of cables and power packs. 160301_Broncolorbishop-034_smallThis resulted in greatly increasing my ability to motivate light from tricky spots. In the above photo I combined a Siros L 800 J at full power with 1/2 CTO to emulate the sun setting on the opposite side of the boulder. [more…]

Photographer and Filmmaker Joel Cartier – Louis XIV Energy Drink

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Joel Cartier began his career as a freelance photographer and filmmaker.
He successfully established his own company and now boasts brands such as SWATCH, BMW, Jean Paul Gaulthier, Huawei, Armani and Vogue as loyal customers.

Making Of

The inspiration and ideas that Joel gathers on his travels around the world, find their way into his work. Whether film or photography, every little detail in his work is full of fantastic energy, every moment in a Joel Cartier film is an adventure! He makes life itself to an exceptional stage and takes the mind on his travels into a nostalgic fantasy world. His passion is composed of colour, light and the moment. Joel believes in embedding products and people into a story, giving them a deeper meaning, and always endeavouring to give them all he can, thus ensuring both quality and joy in his work. [more…]

Wedding photographer, Sails Chong, Tested the Siros L in Japan

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When I received the news that broncolor had invited me to test their latest product, the Siros L outdoor monolight, I was very happy. It was a perfect match for my forthcoming trip to Japan in late March.  I planned to do one of the shootings in Sasayama Castle, Japan.

The construction of this castle had begun upon the order of Tokugawa Leyasu in 1608. It is a historical and cultural heritage. We spent a few months getting a permit for shooting in the castle. Eventually, we received their permission just before the trip. [more…]

The cordless Siros L – Fitness Test Shoot in Brooklyn New York

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by Erik Valind

On paper the Siros L reads like the perfect blend of legendary broncolor speed and control, married with all the power and portability an on-location photographer like myself could want. To really put it to the test I setup a whirlwind shoot on the waterfront of Brooklyn New York. Together with an incredible athlete for my model we focused on seeing just what this new monolight was capable of.

Quality / Compatibility
The first and arguably most important thing to look at was the quality of the light. With the Siros L’s exposed flash tube it is compatible with every modifier in the broncolor lineup and is designed to evenly spread out and fill each modifier for optimal light quality. I chose to use the Beautybox  for our first series of portraits. Nothing beats the Beauty Dish quality of light in a package that breaks down to easily travel with! Adjusting the power of the Siros L remotely using the RFS transmitter allowed me to quickly shoot at various apertures for creative control of the depth of field as well.

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LightingSetupFlash Duration / Recycle Speed
In my eyes the next feature I wanted to look at really sets the Siros L apart. And that is its speed. It has both an incredibly fast flash duration and recycles very quickly for a battery powered unit. Anything this light touches is frozen in the frame.

To evenly illuminate the model I used two Siros L strobes here, each with an L40 reflector to concentrate the light for more output and a longer throw. After activating SPEED Mode on each of the strobes we got to shooting! I had the model running along with two assistants tracking his movements while hand holding the Siros L’s on either side of him. I was blown away by the results!! The Siros L recycled fast enough to keep up with the multiple shot burst mode of my DSLR, and the light was so fast they froze the model in mid stride in every shot. [more…]

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