Fifteen nationally recognized young photographers recently gathered in Chicago, Illinois, to participate in the Red Bull Illume National Collegiate Workshop. Faced with the difficult but exciting task of shooting professional athletes outdoors, in their respective sports, the photographers set their sights on the expanse of the city to choose a perfect shooting location. Along with their trusted cameras and hungry imaginations, the students had in their arsenal the Siros 800 L Outdoor Kit 2, equipped with Softbox, umbrella, flash tubes and reflectors. These resources would prove indispensable, as many of the students photographed their athletes at dusk or at dawn and didn’t have direct sunlight at their disposal.
Carlee Hackl, a student from St. Paul, Minnesota, had the opportunity to shoot Red Bull Slackline athlete, Alex Mason. Carlee’s photoshoot occurred alongside Lake Michigan at 7:30 am: sunrise. With mentor and Red Bull Illume global finalist Christian Pondella by her side, Carlee got to work brainstorming how she would manipulate the Siros 800 L around her athlete so that the light would work in harmony with the sun’s harsh morning rays. Eventually, this incredible shot (right) was captured. By placing the Siros 800 L opposite the sunlight, the young photographer landed a shot that perfectly captured Alex in his element, illuminated by two harmonious sources of light. According to Carlee, “I wanted to make Alex stand out. With the grass, slack line, water and city skyline, there were already so many different layers to the composition. The strobe helped center the focus on Alex, despite all of the various layers that filled the rest of the image… I set up the strobe on my side of the slack line to help even out the shadows and make Alex’s body stand out as a whole.”
Zack Altschuler, from Boulder, Colorado, also worked with slackliner Alex and mentor Christian to create his scene, but under wildly different conditions: nighttime. By placing his Siros 800 L to the right of the athlete and shooting at an angle, Altschuler was able to capture Chicago’s iconic skyline while still illuminating and maintaining Alex as the center of the shot (left). Shooting the contrast between the athlete, the trees, and the dark night sky would have been virtually impossible without the use of the monolight. Zack said, “I mostly used the Siros 800 L as my fill light because I wanted to have a soft light on the ground as well as on Alex. I used two other lights that produced a more harsh light on the environment.”
With outdoor locations spanning the entire city, and therefore no access to a power source, the photographers were given broncolor’s battery charger equipped with lithium-ion batteries for hours of uninterrupted shooting. The Siros 800 L Outdoor Kit 2 proved to be a key ingredient in producing the vivid action shots created by all fifteen of the artists.
Dustin Keony Sousley
“With the lights, there was obviously a learning curve because a lot of us had never used them before, but the mentors were a huge help with setting them up. Broncolor gave us the lights, stands, battery packs, everything… it was really cool.”
“I mostly used the broncolor as my fill light because I wanted to have a soft light on the ground as well as on Alex. I used two other lights that produced a harsher light on the environment.”
“I wanted to make Alex stand out. With the grass, slackline, water, and city skyline, there were already so many different layers to the composition. The strobe helped center the focus on Alex, despite all of the various layers that filled the rest of the image. While I was mostly shooting Alex from one side of the slackline, the sun rose from the opposite side, which clearly created a shadow problem on Alex as my subject. I set up the strobe on my side of the slackline to help even out the shadows and make Alex’s body stand out as a whole.”
“The broncolor strobes let us work with light metering and using them at different parts of the day which was crucial to the people that shot at night or in the morning.”