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Cross-Fit Shoot – Save Post Production Time with Para and get the 3D Look

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Some months ago I started practicing cross-fit, I’ve always liked sports.. all of them, practicing them watching them and luckily for me also taking pictures of them.

But well that’s not the case, the thing is that I signed up and got very into cross-fit like no other sports that I had practiced in some time now, and one of the reasons of me doing that was this guy (who is now my coach) Rafa. He is originally from Brazil (he has all the medals of Brazilian jiu jitsu that there is) and he also moved to Barcelona recently.

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One thing that I normally like to do is to photograph people that transmit a good vibe and have a positive effect on my everyday life or that I just find interesting. So one day we were training and I realized that we should go to this Basketball court that was a few blocks away from the Black Box (the gym) which I normally pass by everyday on my way there, and make a photoshoot.


The first thing that crossed my mind was that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to use the Para 88, so I did, and I can’t be more happy of having made that choice!  The set up I used where two broncolor Move 1200 L packs, one with the Para 88 as my main light and the second one as rim light with a small Octabox with it’s grid.

When shooting with the Para, I focused the light more less to the middle of the way. So that I would get it’s beautiful 3D look but not too soft nor too harsh, for me it is the sweet spot. It was the first time I got to use it on location and I’ll definitely start carrying it with me more often.

It’s like the images come out already with a dodge & burn process done in Photoshop, so you could say it’s saving you some time in post as well.. It’s look is just very particular and I really like it.

Learning from Pro’s – Australian Fashion & Beauty Photographer Peter Coulson

It is a great honour to have Australian Fashion and Beauty Photographer Peter Coulson here in Switzerland. From the 15-17 October you can join his Seminars organised by Light and Byte in Zurich. More Information at the end of this Blog. Read below interview and get inspired!  Peter_Coulson_Studio_28


“Hi Peter and thanks for taking time to talk with us.”
It is my pleasure!

“Would you be so kind to give us a short introduction to yourself and your work?”
I push buttons haha… My work is mainly black and white, and a mix of beauty, fashion and my own ‘edgy’ stuff. At the end of the day, I just love taking photos.

“Apart from your work as an accomplished Photographer, you also give workshops around the globe. Is teaching something that always interested you or did that come later in your career?”
Teaching happened by mistake. Many years ago, a company asked me to do some demonstrations at their exhibition stand. Within the first 2 days, their sales had quadrupled, and I was overwhelmed with requests to show more of what I do. I decided to then run my own workshop, it sold out very quickly, and everybody was really happy with what I taught.

Workshops is only ⅓ of what I do. I work commercially for ⅓ and the other ⅓ is my own photography that I love doing – This is what gets me my commercial work and bookings for workshops.

“Is teaching something that helps you personally to grow as a photographer as well?”
Yes, 100%. Teaching reinforces and keeps reminding me of what I tell other people to do, to keep doing that myself. I find when I do spend a couple of weeks teaching, I always take better photos after that, but start getting lazy before I do another batch of workshops. Teaching makes me concentrate on my technicals, then forces me to get more emotional and creative.


The target group for your workshop is described as „Professional photographers“ and „Advanced amateur photographers“, a line that has increasingly blurred over the past couple of years. What sets the professional apart from the amateur and how much does professional equipment play a role in that?
Professional photographer means that somebody makes their living out of photography, this doesn’t mean they are professional in the way they do it, and this doesn’t mean they are a good photographer. It also doesn’t mean they spend a lot of money on lighting, or camera gear. Some of the amateurs I teach seem to have more gear, and are better photographers than the ‘professionals’ I know.

I find that I attract  people that want to create better photographs, and it doesn’t matter if they are professional or an amateur, my whole aim is to make it easy for them to take better photos, but I do push very hard the fact that their gear means a lot. It helps take good photos and have more control when you use good camera gear, lens and good lighting. I always push the fact that it is better to have 1 very, very good expensive light, then 3 bad lights. Photographers need to learn how to use one light properly, and by the best light they can afford.


You’ve been a broncolor user for many years. For many starting photographer, when putting together their gear, lighting often times comes in as almost an afterthought. Where do you see the benefits in high end lighting gear like broncolor?
I believe every good photographer should be using high end quality lights. The biggest benefit is the actually quality of the light, consistency of power, and ability to freeze action.

I made this mistake myself. My first lights were Visitech. The bigger my business grew, I thought I needed more lights, and assumed lights are just lights and they are all the same. I bought a heap of very cheap lights from China. Within a year, all the Chinese lights didn’t work anymore, they didn’t work very well when they did work, yet my Visitech latest fine. I learnt very quickly that it is much cheaper to buy good quality lights as they last much longer.

You will be holding two Workshops in Switzerland on October 15th and 17th. What can the attendees expect?
A very passionate eye opening demonstration. I have no secrets, and I show and teach people photography is very easy; you just have to make it easy. If you try make it hard, photography can be very hard. My whole aim is to help people understand and see light. Once they start to understand and see light, the world of photography becomes a bliss.

Thanks for the interview and all the best for your future, photographic endeavors.
Thank you for the interview. I am really looking forward to the workshops in Switzerland.


Peter Coulson by Light & Byte The Australian Fashion and Beauty photographer Peter Coulson will run three seminars (in English) from 15th to 17th October 2015 in Switzerland.
Themes of the Seminar at Light & Byte, 17th October: - Digital work-flow – Color management – Seeing and modify light – Tricks to using soft boxes – How to use one light like a professional . How to use multi lighting – Beauty lighting – Posing models – Getting it right in camera – Peter’s Photoshop process

Don’t miss this exclusiv Seminar and register now!  All Information and online registration here (in German)

Peter Coulson’s Website…
Peter Coulson’s Blog…
Peter on 500px…

Juan Osorio’s Portraits of a New Guinea Snake Charmer and His Python

Juan Osorio emailed us a couple of months ago about his latest project, it took a minute to reply because we were too busy collecting our jaws off the floor…A ‘nude’ body painting shoot the likes of which you have NEVER seen before, Juan captured a New Guinea Snake Charmer and his extremely rare python in action, all in the man’s own back Yard. Scroll down to find out both the story and the setup behind this incredible portrait shoot, including a breakdown of the many challenges he faced, gear he used, BTS details, and a look at the exact lighting Setup!

Background and Inspiration
The snake portrayed in the pictures is a very unique species of python called the Boelen’s python—its scientific name is Simalia Boeleni. The photo shoot was commissioned by Evan Wexler, one of the world’s successful snake enthusiasts and the owner of one the largest collections of these marvelous species snake in captivity. The inspiration for this photo shoot was Evan’s love of these pythons, and his friend Ari R. Flagle, a researcher who “travels to study these snakes in the wild. Flage’s first book titled “Black Python” was published in 2009. He is presently writing his updated manuscript detailing Simalia Boeleni and New Guinea. For interested readers, his first book can be found on Amazon.


New Guinea, the second largest island in the world, houses roughly 4,642 vertebrate species. The island of New Guinea has numerous species of reptiles; this unique species of python is only found on the Island of New Guinea, at an elevation of 6500-8500ft above sea level.

Boelen’s pythons are cloud forest residents and have been sited from the Vogelkop Peninsula (Birds head region) all the way to the east of Papua New Guinea (PNG). These snakes are presumed to follow the mountainous spine of the Maoke Mountains, which is composed of the Sudirman and the Jayawijaya range. The original holotype specimen was found in an area named Dimija, on December 25, 1952.

Interestingly, this species of snake receives as high protection as that of the bird of paradise in PNG. Throughout New Guinea, this snake is highly revered by the indigenous tribes and is referred to by many names such as “Blu Moran” or “Papa Graun Moran” in PNG.

IMAGE-1-Boelens-python-distributionBoelen’s Python distribution

The snake is a uniform jet black color with forward facing yellow bands that start from the face of the animal and work its way towards the mid body. Set in the right lighting, these snakes display a velvety sheen and a breathtaking iridescence. To the average person these pythons seem rather large; however, on average, this species rarely exceeds 8 feet in length. As neonates, these snakes are typically a rusty red color, and they change to adult colors as they mature.

In my personal opinion, I can honestly say that I have never been in the presence of a more beautiful snake than this in my life, and I have seen hundreds of snakes before.


Since this snake is unique to this island and so protected and respected by the aborigines, Evan wanted me to take pictures of him in authentic wardrobe from the Region. I thought that having the clothes picked out already made the creative process easier and would expedite the preparations. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. The traditional feathers, hat, and necklace were beautiful pieces brought directly from New Guinea, but I was not aware that the full outfit was completed by the Koteka. That is the name given by the natives to the penis gourd they wear and which has been always part of their culture.

The reality of having to photograph an almost naked man with a snake was very stressful. The goal was to direct attention to the rare and beautiful animal and their docile demeanor, but also incorporate the human element and keep the lack of clothes from becoming a distraction.


IMAGE-9I immediately started doing research on the snake and the people from New Guinea and found that there is an annual festival at Mount Hagen, the third largest city in PNG, in which several tribes wear different kinds of makeup and outfits. I was especially attracted by the skeleton dance, and I thought that would be the perfect decoration for the model.

The photo shoot has to be done at Evan’s home, because this is a very delicate and rare animal valued at more than $10,000 USD and is kept in an air-flow, humidity, and temperature controlled environment. Traveling to a studio and keeping the reptile out of its environment for several hours would have been deleterious for its health.

This meant that we had to build a studio in the backyard. To keep external light contamination to a minimum, the actual shoot had to start at night and we had to work fast because the cooler air of late afternoon and evening differed greatly from the normal conditions of the sophisticated system the animal is usually kept on.

Working with animals is always complicated. One has to be careful about not hurting the animal or getting hurt; it also poses challenges to everything you take for granted at the time you press the shutter.


Focusing, posing, and composing are usually dynamic because with few exceptions, animals move most of the time. In this particular case, everything had another level of complexity because the snake was moving around Evan.

Both snake charmer and snake had to be in focus and well-illuminated, and the model was simultaneously trying to listen to my directions and pay attention to the position of the snake at all times.


Given the constant changing conditions and the requirements to work fast, the lightning equipment had to be capable to keep up and be reliable.

Strobes are known for over-heating if you take images in rapid succession; furthermore, most strobes cannot deliver a fast rate of flashes because their recycle time is limited. It is also known that only the best systems can perform under these stringent conditions without changing color temperature. Consistency in color from image to image was paramount to us.

After researching all the options, I concluded that the best equipment I could use was Broncolor. They are famous for being capable of delivering very short flash durations, quick recycling, and the best color consistency under extreme conditions.


We used the 2 largest strip softboxes from Broncolor 180 X 30 (1 x 5.9′) with grids on either side of the model because it gave us the freedom to squat, stand up, and sit on the floor, but control the spill and quality of the light. We wanted to create drama.

Since the snake would move all over Evan’s body, we also decided to use a front fill very softly. We used a large parabolic umbrella from Broncolor, the Para 133, which covers a large area and creates wonderful light even if the subject moves from the initial position.

I would say it is much more forgiving in these kinds of dynamic situations than an octabox or a large softbox. We were also very pleased with the vertical highlights, giving more emphasis to the reptilian nature of the subject.


One of the most interesting things about this snake is its iridescence, and we wanted to show it in its grandeur. The problem is that is not a constant—it only appears when light is striking the body of the animal is certain angles, and if the animal moves it is gone.

In order to capture as much as possible of the fantastic color we needed a high megapixel camera with the highest dynamic range and color depth possible, so we decided to use a medium format Hasselblad camera with an IQ 250 Phase One digital back.

Creative Phase

I have always been an admirer of makeup artists and body painters, and this was the opportunity I was looking for to incorporate this kind of art into my images. Going through body painter websites, I found incredibly beautiful work from many artists, but my favorite of all was the work of Tash Kouri. Tash Kouri is an American body painter and performance artist living in New York City. She represented the United States at the 2012 World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria.

I called her and she was very excited by this unusual project. We had several conversations about how to incorporate the skeleton dance makeup into the photo shoot, and came up with the idea of mirroring the snake’s skin on Evan. The makeup process was very meticulous. After 5 hours and several layers of air brush paint, we were ready to start taking pictures.

Camera, Lenses, and Lighting Equipment

We used a Hasselblad H4X medium format camera with a Phase IQ250 medium format digital back with CMOS sensor attached. For lenses, we alternated between the Hasselblad Wide Angle 35mm f/3.5 HC, Hasselblad HC Macro f/4 120mm II Lens, and Hasselblad Normal 80mm f/2.8 HC.

Lighting was already mentioned above but we’ll recap here: We used one Broncolor Para 133, a Broncolor Move L 1200, two Mobi LED lights, and two Broncolor Siros 800S’s.

For those who are interested, here’s the lighting diagram that shows the final Setup:



Behind The Scenes
These images were taken with a different snake. This is the Ocelot Leopard python. We took several images of this beautiful snake before we started with the Boelen’s python because its bright yellow color made a wonderful contrast against the black background and therefore we could setup the lights faster than it would have been possible with the almost totally black Boelen’s.

Once we had everything ready to go and the lighting dialed in, we switched over to the Boelen’s python and captured the rest of the images, including all of the shots scatte throughout this post.


3rd Issue Herring & Herring photographed with broncolor

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We were extremely happy to receive a full set of broncolor lights for our 3rd issue of Herring & Herring. The quality build of the lights was amazing and they were so easy to use.
We also loved that they all came neatly packed in separate travel bags, which made transporting them on our frequent trips from New York to Los Angeles effortless.

H&H_OBJECT_Adrian H&H_OBJECT_Hilary H&H_OBJECT_LilyThe sturdiness of the lights and packs also really surprised us – there is nothing more frightening for professional photographers than arriving at a remote location to find that part of your equipment has broken during transport.

We learned very quickly that with broncolor that was something we didn’t have to worry about. They performed perfectly in every situation!

HERRING & HERRING is the collaboration between renowned international fashion photographers Dimitri Scheblanov and Jesper Carlsen. The team’s photographic approach is based upon conceptual and aesthetic exploration; continuously pushing the boundaries of story telling through an ever-expanding visual vernacular for their editorial, commercial and celebrity Clients.


Lucho Vidales and his Action Sports and Lifestyle Photography


Lucho Vidales is an Argentinian photographer currently based in Barcelona. Specialized in sports and lifestyle photography, he has been chosen by Red Bull to be part of the team of photographers of this brand known all over the world.

At present Lucho is using artificial light for a large part of his productions, which is supported by broncolor lighting equipment. The other day Lucho paid us a visit in the tx-lab studio and talked to us about his current projects. We would like to share a short interview which we conducted with him. Many thanks for coming, Lucho, and good luck with your new life in Barcelona full of great experiences and adventures!

How did you start in photography?
I started in photography some five years ago, everything began as a hobby. At that time I was playing rugby, and for personal reasons I had to stop, but so as not to give up the habit I started to carry my camera to the matches and take photos. Both of the action itself and of the people and situations which arise in these meetings of the family which is larger than the club.
In the course of time I became more and more interested, I began to experiment with other types of photography and other sports and studied a lot on my own. I improved with prac-tice until I realized that I didn’t want to do anything else besides photography. [more…]

Nikola Borissov at Nu Boyana Film Studios to shoot actress Elena Petrova

When ELLE Bulgaria approached me with the idea of shooting actress Elena Petrova for their 10th anniversary issue, I immediately knew that I wanted to shoot something cinematographic, which looks like a backstage from a film set, with a slight hint of film noirish ambience. 

Luckily we were granted access to an amazing location, the Nu Boyana Film Studios ; their set of an entire New York city block was fitting perfectly my vision for the image. Being it a very busy location, our schedule was extremely tight so I had to plan everything in advance, down to the last second – we only had about an hour, in and out, in which I had to do a double page spread and two cover options, with setting up and everything. This is very often the case in my line of work, so the constant time constrains were a big factor in the decision to invest in broncolor equipment – I have zero margin for error in terms of time, reliability and quality, so only the very best available tool cuts it – I often shoot in remote locations where if something goes wrong there is no way of fixing or exchanging the gear.



Para 88 for poor light conditions – Rutger Pauw Shooting at Red Bull Hard Line

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I got to shoot Red Bull Hard Line last week, it’s one of the (if not) gnarliest down hill mountain bike races in the world. Dan Atherton spent months preparing this course with some of the biggest jumps and gaps mountain biking has seen.

Usually, I would bring two flashes to a race like this, and shoot at spots on the course, setting up, and moving to the next spot when I feel happy with the shot. In this case though, things worked out completely different.

Because the course was so demanding (and intimidating), practise was done in one big group of guys coming down the mountain, and us photographers with shoddy knees trying to keep up with them.



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