Some relationships take longer than others. I got the dream call from VeloNews to cover the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS), a year after I first pitched to them. The NAHBS is an annual gathering of bicycle makers who build a limited number of bicycles in small shops. You could say that they are artisanal builders who hand craft small batches of bicycles, but I would not. Unlike cyclocross, the bicycles are in static displays, the event is indoors and the people I will be interviewing will be standing still. The last time I covered a cycling event in Hartford it was the 2017 Cyclocross Nationals.
My head immediately filled with technical thoughts...mostly about camera, lens and lighting. Fortunately, I will also have media credentials for a lighting assistant. My editor, Susanne will be filling that role (again). We started our plan of attack using two speed lights, one with a small (16x16) soft box and a second speed light with a grid to contain fill light, illuminate the details of bicycles and remove unwanted shadows caused by the directional soft box light. Both off camera speed lights are triggered from my camera and adjustments can be made on the fly. This BTS photo illustrates the two light approach I contemplated.
This seemed like a good approach until I considered that the show floor will be crowded with people. Time to consider a single light source (speed light) mounted on a painter's pole for maneuverability and rapid deployment. The small soft box provides dramatic directed light, but needs a fill light to avoid exaggerated shadows.
Back to basics - a shoot through umbrella creates a directed light and the curved surfaces help fill in the shadows - the reason that this has been go-to light shaper forever...
More to follow...
See ya around,