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Catching the Light – A new educational Video Series featuring broncolor’s Siros

broncolor has always strived for providing not only the best lighting equipment in the industry, but also educating customers and newcomers alike about the possibilities of their products and photographic lighting in general.

“Catching the Light” is a new project dedicated to document various photo shoots from conception to completion. Presented by broncolor Photographer Jessica Keller and featuring the new Siros Monolight, the charismatic duo will guide the viewers through a series of four videos respectively, devoted to an overlying theme. This first series is all about “the four elements”, but not necessarily in their purest sense. Fire, Water, Earth and Air all play a role though in finding creative ideas for interesting shoots, which will hopefully not only teach about advanced lighting techniques, but also inspire photographers, experienced and beginners alike, to get out there and start shooting.

Jessica Portrait Siros Video

The Team behind “Catching the Light”

Born in Zurich, Jessica spent five years in South Africa where the vast landscapes awakened her passion for photography. After her return to Switzerland, she assumed her position as a photographer and consultant at broncolor Headquarters in Allschwil.

“broncolor has definitely taught me a lot. Painting with controlled/studio light became very quickly one of my greatest passions in photography.”

When she was approached to host a series of Videos showcasing the abilities of the Siros, she jumped at the opportunity. It soon became apparent, that the best way for demonstration is in real-life scenarios of actual shoots, which made it all the more personal for Jessica since now it was not only about challenging the Siros but also herself.

“I’m always hungry for a challenge and willing to go the extra mile to achieve a masterpiece. I strongly believe that ability is what we are capable of doing, motivation determines what we do and attitude determines how well we do it.”

Having good tools at her side brought Jessica a big step closer to achieve her goal of the perfect image. About the Siros she has to say this:

“Siros is my miracle monolight. It is fast, simple, universal and at the same time powerful. A gear which impresses me every single time when either working on location or in the studio, Siros never lets me down. I’m able to create whatever is on my mind, put it into practice and capture with catching the light in my final image. ”

With the Internet becoming more and more important as a learning resource for artists from all kind of fields, broncolor is proud to provide this new source of inspiration for photographers eager to learn more about the endless possibilities of photographic lighting and hopefully help them grow their craft and realize their artistic vision.

“My hopes for my video tutorials is that people enjoy it, have fun and maybe learn a little something from it. I’m very excited for all the things, which are still in the pipeline and can’t wait to share my knowledge with the viewers in the near future and to create great art.”

In the first part titled “Fire”, Jessica is using the Siros to recreate a 1920’s Lounge Atmosphere including Candles.

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“Working with the Siros 400 S on location combined with candles turned out superb. Our Siros is a powerful monolight. You are able to actually create whatever you want. Is it a very atmospheric image or an action photograph? Siros can do it all.

The theme of this tutorial was the 1920’s. The styling, the model and the overall atmosphere played a big role. It was a pleasure working with the hair and makeup artist Pablo Kümin and a beautiful model Ivana Luggen from Time Model Agency in Zurich. Go and check out Pablos work on instagram @pablokuemin.

For this photo shoot I used two Siros 400 S and lots of candle light. It was all about catching the atmosphere.

Siros 400 S is a powerful light but at the same time it gives you the freedom to work with low power, obviously in this case to not destroy the candle light.

LightingSetupOne Siros 400 S was attached to a 60 x 60 softbox with a grid. Used just as a fill light. I used the grid to get the light more focused, the light shouldn’t spread too much and I wanted to set it precisely.

The second Siros 400S was used as a hair light, due to the models dark hair, attached onto our monolight was a basic reflector L40 combined with a very narrow honeycomb grid.

Working in a small space with windows casting unwanted sunlight and finding the right wall in the room as a backdrop made the shoot a challenge. We had to cover the castles windows to avoid unwanted light and reflections.

I worked with a power setting down to 2 which corresponds to 1.5 Joules of flash energy in a broncolor Siros 400 S. The broncolor Siros 400 S enabled a shooting which captured the existing atmosphere beautifully, thanks to the combination of high sensitivity, low power and slower shutter speed.”

The picture was shot with a focal length of 70 mm.
The exposure time was 1/10 s and the aperture f/8.

 

The first Series of “Catching the Light” will be posted bi-weekly on broncolor’s YouTube Channel.

 

The other Look with UV light – Ice Climbing Shoot with Markus Berger

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The UV project is something I have been working on quite a while. I started it October 2014 when I put together the concept of shooting various action sports using only UV light.

The main idea is to show athletes in a different light which might make themselves and their sport look completely weird but reveals also different perspective of what we are used to see everyday. I wanted to create something new and unseen before by using a maximum of UV light and almost use it like normal lighting with short shutter speeds. The interesting part is that this kind of light has different wavelength other than visible light and therefore also shows a complete different behavior of reflecting structures or various substances. Actually ultraviolet radiation can cause many things to glow or fluoresce. This effect I was aiming to use for my shoots but then also to use it very subtle and only unicolor without too many bright glowing colors giving the actual known and seen before 80’s UV look.

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My goal was to get clear and clean action shots accompanied with portraits that show the athlete within his playground and with completely different look as the UV radiation would also reflect different parts of his skin that usually are not visible in natural light. It is a super interesting way of shooting and every time it is so exciting to check the results because you never know before what you end up with.

In terms of photography the biggest challenge is to get enough light in the areas you need it and that is a tricky task if you know that the UV radiation has only a fraction of the power that your flash usually has. This means that I had to push my Moves to full power almost all the time and also get as close to the action as possible with the flash heads to not end up with complete underexposed shots. Also using flashes at this high voltage means that you have to be more accurately shooting and that freezing fast action becomes even more trickier. Yet it is possible and so far I managed to achieve all the results I was aiming for in already 3 different sports disciplines.

All the different disciplines of my project will be revealed together in a exhibition in 2016 so I can not tell you too much about the rest. Yet I want to give more specifics about my first UV shoot I did this winter with ice climbing legend Rudolf Hauser from Austria. We went to Thunn Klamm in Kaprun together with 3 mountain guides who voluntarily helped out. We met early in the morning and started with a location scout a set up of all our gear.

Since the UV radiation is so weak even at full power of 1200w flash units we had to prepare everything to shoot at night and actually used all day for that. We found one really nice 15 meter ice wall that Rudi could climb at dark. We installed ropes and secure standing spots for everybody. We had one guide securing Rudi while climbing, one managing the flash coming from below and one operating the flash from above and me finally hanging in between shooting Rudi from above.

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Since the environment was completely iced and more than dangerously steep every step needed to be planned and secure ropes have been pulled everywhere. So overall we decided before the sun was going down everybody’s tasks.

For the flash from above we had to mount the move head onto a long wooden pole to be able to reach it over the edge and aim at Rudi climbing.

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Last but not least we needed to spray paint the ice with fluorescent water mixture to make it glow. After 1 hour of spraying we realized that it was still to warm and the water mixture just vanished within minutes. So we had to wait and get painting another time once it got colder.

Eventually it got colder, really cold actually. We had at least minus 10 degrees and even one of my cameras stopped working because the mirror didn’t flip up anymore. So with only our head lamps and secure ropes we started painting the ice again and finally started Shooting. I could not believe my eyes once I triggered the UV flashes for the first time and saw the amazing glow and illuminated structure of the ice on my camera.

Another thing that is actually interesting is that the light source is actually not the flash but the fluorescent subject that you make glow. Therefore there are also hardly any shadows and there is actually no other way (e.g. gel filters etc) to achieve this kind of look if you look at all the Details.

We were done and completely frozen at about 10 pm and were happy to finally have pulled this project off. It was great effort and I am proud of the result and all the team members that worked so hard in their free time to make this happen.

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I was very happy also that broncolor sponsored two of their UV head lamp attachments for this project and that I was able to use them easily with my Move units. Even it was that super cold and I was operating in that narrow space, the remote and the batteries didn’t let me down even once.

About Markus Berger
I am a photographer from Austria specialized in action sports and commercial Photography. I have a sports freestyle background and like to bring that into photography. I strive to capture images that are creative but at the same time authentic and true. I like to embrace my inner child and take every shoot as new exciting challenge.

http://bergermarkus.com/

“Amazing People in Amazing Places” – ViewBug Winner Victor Hamke

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My name is Victor and I am a 28-year-old Fine Art photographer, currently based in Leipzig, Germany. I completed my Literary, Cultural and Media Studies degree but, for a very long time now, my passion has been photography and visual art. I get my inspiration not just from pictures, but also to a great extent from music or emotional sensitivities.

For some time now, I have been occupied with the relationship between painting and photography and I think that nowadays the transition between these two art directions can be described as flowing.

Today, digital photograph manipulation offers us all the options that painting also offers and, in my compositions, I try to integrate the virtues of classical paintings. I not only believe that digital artists, such as I, can learn a great deal from the old masters, but also that we have long gone beyond pure photography with our art. I find it exciting to be able to make use of the options offered by digital processing to create surreal, fantastic and unusual images. One of these images has won the Broncolor Viewbug Contest and I would like to just say a few words about this.

“The Undying” was photographed in a field on a warm, sunny day. At the beginning, it was not planned that the picture would be so bleak and surreal. Quite how an image will look at the end, is often not clear to me at the beginning. Only when I edit the image, does the creative inspiration flow and the image then develops differently to how one might have expected. I wanted the image to have a dramatic character, to be graceful, but to also have a moment of tension. The long dress served as an eye-catcher. I love long, unusual dresses, so I decided to digitally integrate it into the image. I think it is always better to use real photographs in the image, but if that which one imagines is not available, one has to just create it. This dress creates a dynamic and directs the viewer’s gaze.

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I often prefer black and white edits because they reduce the image to shapes, light and shadows. In addition, black & white contributes to the surreal character, because we do, of course, really see in colour. I gave the image a very strong vignette which relieves it of any reality. I played around with a lot of different gimmicks in the image and ultimately decided upon a dragon skull. I am a big fan of fantasy and myths and have always been keen on such stories, so I decided to contribute my own “story”. The dragon skull is only supposed to be perceived in passing. The observer should be wondering about the mysterious figure on the horizon.

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I am delighted that the image won the contest and I am happy that companies like broncolor make it possible for artists such as I to reach out to new People.

Thank you for your time.

Victor

Please take a look at my web pages:
www.facebook.com/victorhphotography
www.victorhamke.de

 

About ViewBug
Founded by photography buffs Ori and Jimmy, and supported by a team of all-star advisors, ViewBug is out to redefine the photo contest. Much more than just contests, we’ve built a unique photography community that fosters collaboration and rewards creativity.

More at http://www.viewbug.com

Jury ViewBug
We are proud that our Gen NEXT ambassador Benjamin Von Wong was part of the Jury of the Contest “Amazing People in Amazing Places”. The Prize for the Winner was a broncolor monolight Siros Kit 800 S.

Quick and Clean Beauty Lighting in 3 Easy Steps

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The title of this post may sound too good to be true… Fast AND good at the same time?! Usually you have to sacrifice quality for speed, or speed for quality. But Beauty lighting is one of those areas where simplicity really speaks volumes. This is great because as photographers a simpler setup means more time for engagement with our subjects!

So how did we create this clean Beauty image? What motivated the lighting? Simplicity. We lit three main areas of the photo, each to minimize a distraction or imperfection. There was a background light, a main light on the model’s face, and finally a fill light. Lets break down each light and look at what equipment was used and why.

First things first, we need a canvas! The folks at Studios LIC in Long Island City, NY were kind enough to hook us up with one of their studios for the afternoon. Like most NYC studios it’s a blank canvas with white walls and tall ceilings. These white walls would serves as the perfect background. The key to this photo is simplicity remember, so a background free of distractions was the goal, and a pure white background is as distraction free as you can get. To get the white background to register pure white in the camera we needed to blow it out, by overexposing it. To do this we used one of the new Siros 800 S strobe kits and two large white v-flats. If you look at the Behind the Scenes photos you’ll see we aimed the Siros monolights into the v-flats – rather than directly at the wall – which spread out the light before bouncing it back onto the wall behind our model. By doing this we avoided hot spots from the narrow beam of the strobes and achieved a broad area of overexposed wall. The result is the silhouette seen here with distraction free background.

 

Next up we needed to actually light the model. For this High Key Beauty image I didn’t want to create too much shadow and contrast on the subject’s face, which is common with classical Rembrandt and side lighting patterns. So I chose to butterfly light the model using another Siros 800 S monolight and a broncolor Beauty dish overhead aiming down. The Beauty dish produces even lighting in both eyes and across the face, while creating a crisp edge to the shadows. This is a great modifier for Beauty as it really defines facial features while still illuminating evenly. My final exposure was ISO 200 f/14 1/200 of a second. At f/14 we have a wide depth of field, keeping all of the details of the face in focus. At this exposure our background lights were also 2-3 stops brighter ensuring that the white wall was sufficiently blown out to pure White.

 

At this point we’ve eliminated distractions with the white background, and illuminated the model with the beauty dish, now the final step is to erase any imperfections. While the main light was positioned to produce minimal shadows, there are still distracting shadows drawing attention to the under eye area and below the chin. To remove these we simply add some fill light. The fourth and final Siros 800 S, coupled with the kit broncolor 2’x2′ softbox, was placed below the model’s face and aimed up. This Siros was set to be slightly less powerful then our key light. In the very next shot you can see that the remaining shadows instantly disappear and we have a perfectly radiant face. This fill light also adds a second catchlight to the bottom of the model’s eyes, which is unique to this clamshell beauty lighting technique. (Under fill like this can be achieved to some degree by placing a silver/white reflector underneath the model’s chin as well, but by using a second strobe instead, you gain more control over the intensity of the fill light.)

 

Similar results can be achieved with a single Siros 800 S kit as well, if you were to use one strobe on the background and a reflector for fill underneath the face. In the end I chose to use two kits for the versatility that four lights offered. It was really a testament to the power and speed of the Siros monolight as well. Clocking in at 800ws each we really pushed the strobes to their higher power levels to achieve exposures of f/14 and beyond. They not only pumped out a lot of light, they recycled incredibly quick which means the flow of the shoot wasn’t interrupted waiting for them to be ready to fire, and the resulting color accuracy between shots made post production breeze.

Photographer: Erik Valind
Make Up Artist: Soleil Atiles
Model: Jordan H – New York Model Management

“InMotion” Multiple choices with one light shaper – Para 88

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Last January, the opportunity to visit Stuttgart (Germany) was given to me. I always knew That they had fantastic dancers and performers but I never had the chance to meet them. Last year, I worked with Sandra Ehrensperger from the ballet du Rhin and she advised me to meet a fellow dancer in Stuttgart named Miriam Kacerova. You know what ? I’m glad she did ! The first plan was to organize an outdoor photo shoot, but I realized quickly how bad that idea was.

We’re in January, and it’s freezing cold out in Stuttgart at this time of the year. So I had to find quickly a backup plan. I had a few ideas of cool locations in mind but all of them were hard to get unless having time in front of me, or were off budget. Everything was set except for the location, and I didn’t want this detail to modify our plans. So, me and my partner in crime Marlène, headed to Stuttgart in hopes of finding something on the spot. We had a few days before the shoot and we wanted to visit the city. There were so many places to see but one, in particular, got my attention : the Stadtbibliothek. A modern building conceived by the architect Eun Young Yi. Once there, I simply asked myself, what if we made our photo shoot there ? Well, that’s what we did.

We were allowed to shoot with the minimum gear for the first half of our session in the huge white hallway on the ground floor. The difficulty was to concentrate with the users in the library gathering around us, intrigued by what was going on. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the library for us as for the Andre Malraux photo shoot but we couldn’t complain, the place is beautiful and unique. So, we had a broncolor Move 1200L and my favorite light modifier the Para 88. With a few scenarios in mind, we were ready to make new pictures for the serie “InMotion”. Like I already stated in a previous post, one light sometimes is just enough. You can have a multitude of looks with the minimum of gear by playing with the height and the placement. The focusing rod lets you have a harsh or soft look with deep shadows with contrast or not.

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After that, we just couldn’t leave without making a couple of shots on the other floors, so we headed inside the library. This time, no flash was allowed, I used the available artificial light and my 5D mark III set in silent shoot mode. We could only whisper so communication wasn’t simple. We still managed to capture quickly a few poses without disturbing anyone.

You guys may think I’m obsessed with libraries ? This one wasn’t really planned unlike the Andre Malraux shoot. Next stop, Strasbourg my hometown with local artists. You guys will be surprised because the next one will not involve any dancers ! Be notified when I drop my latest stories, behind the scenes videos, or tips by subscribing to my newsletter. Take care people, see you on my next shoot.

I would like to thank Miriam Kacerova and her boyfriend for sharing their craft with me, my partner Marlène who filmed this video. Thanks to Meike Jung and the entire staff of the Stadtbibliothek for welcoming us and giving us the opportunity to shoot in this amazing place. Thanks to Broncolor and SNAP for their help and for supporting this photo shoot.

ABOUT HAZE KWARE
Andriamampandry Tiana also known as Haze Kware is a photographer and videographer located in Strasbourg. He is one of the members of blackdough Team, and proposes from now on his craft as a solo Photographer under the pseudonym: HK

Photographer for Dancers / Performers / Artists / and individuals looking for edgy, gritty, bad ass visuals.

http://hkvisuals.com/hazekware/

“Schlumberger Sekt” since 1842 – Clip by Damien Krisl

The client went for a completely new image. This offered a great opportunity to follow my inspiration, come up with inputs and thus allowed me to infuse the TVC concept with my own style. Together with the agency Leo Burnett we wrote a modern story based on the slogan “When the moment demands the special”.

Cultivating its “méthode traditionelle” since 1842, Schlumberger is the producer of Austria’s most traditional sparkling wine.

The planning process went over 2 1/2 months. Our advantage was the great location and the amazing crew of 25 people, our disadvantage the very limited time for the actual shooting. We needed to shoot 25 takes in 11 hours and we had time to shoot at night only. The production company Jerkfilms gave me the best team of Austria. Together with the assistant director and DOP Andreas Berger we scheduled a master plan. Every light setup was fixed. We used the available indoor light and colored the broncolor HMIs with CTO. For most of the frames our key light was the Para 88 and an Octabox.

I wasn’t allowed any overtime, as the budget was very tight (as ususal). That means we had less than 30 minutes per shot. Almost every shot required a new light setup. So we had to work very fast, which was only possible because we filmed everything in one location with a golden spiral staircase.

The clip will be shown on Austrian TV over 600 times.

Damien Krisl
Paris based director Damien Krisl discovered his love for motion pictures as he realized that producing moving imagery gave him the opportunity to breathe life into his dreams. His skills in making fashion and advertising films are the result of his passion for filming, editing and composing. His art enables him to create beautiful new worlds and dimensions that originally only exist in his mind. Damien has a unique way of bringing fashion and film together.

http://damienkrisl.com/

Moving and Freezing with the Move – MTB BUCS Downhill Mountain

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An 8 hour overnight drive took me to Innerleithen in Scotland for the BUCS Downhill Mountain bike Championships. The brief was to get promotional shots for future events as well to capture some general action and event images for their social media. Although I’d never shot in this location before I have shot downhill quite a bit so knew what to expect. Firstly, downhill trails are often in amongst heavily wooded areas where even on the sunniest of days it can still be pretty dark, and, secondly I was going to be spending the day climbing up and down some pretty steep woodland tracks.

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Being able to control the Move pack with the RFS transmitter from across the track means I can adjust the flash power to balance it with the ambient light of the start area so the rider doesn’t end up as a silhouette. There is only time to shoot four or five images at each location as there is a lot of course to cover and not a lot of time to do it in. The Move outdoor kit packs up into a backpack so moving from one location to another wasn’t a problem.

A couple of hundred meters down the track I find a small drop off where the race marshall said some of the riders are hitting good air, so I set up for another shot. Using one light keeps set up quick and using the bare bulb keeps the lighting bright and punchy. The flash duration of the shot was 1/5250th second which freezes the rider and keeps him pin sharp while panning with a shutter speed of 1/250th and a 10mm lens blurs the trees and keeps that feeling of movement in the Image.

When the day is done and I’ve got all the shots I need, I have another 8 hour drive home. I’ve driven nearly 900 miles in under 24 hours, but loving every minute of it!

About Mark Roe
I’m a sports photographer based just out side of London but I love a good road trip and travel all over Europe working with some great clients and some of the worlds best athletes. No two shoots are ever the same and thats one of the many reasons I love what I do.

http://sports.markroe.co.uk

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