I have always been fond of martial arts. In high school I used to train taekwondo and jiu jitsu. So I didn’t think twice when I heard Chris, professional dancer and martial artist, was interested in working together.
So there it is – I’m in China and I’m doing a kung-fu shoot. Could it be any more cliche? I’m always picky about the locations but this one was a no-brainer. I went with 1933 Shanghai, an old slaughterhouse transformed into sort of art / boutique center. This place is insane. It’s a maze of corridors, footbridges, and creepy nooks. After doing the scouting I chose my two favorite locations.
The first one was indoors and it appeared to be a little tricky when it came to balancing the available light with flash light. Because I really wanted to capture the light coming from halogen & fluorescent lights I had to bump up my ISO to 1000, which meant that even my small flashes on their lowest settings were spitting out too much light. I was already on 1/125 as this let me more or less freeze the action, anything below that would probably result in ghosting effect or even blur. Here’s the setup:
For this shot I went with 3 lights. Remember how they say you need key light and take it from there? Well, it sometimes doesn’t work like that. My SB900 was sitting in the softbox and acted as a fill to add some more definition. I wanted to keep the power low so as not to kill the shadows so I stacked up 2 gels, full CTO to balance the color with the ambient light and one more ND. The second light was hidden on the stairs and was supposed to light the face and sculpt the body. I say “supposed” because doing stunts like one-handed handstand with a grip while trying to face the light and keep it all together is no easy… And again, because it was very close to the model and I was shooting at ISO 1000 I had to use 2 gels on top of it. The third light, bare flash YN560, was sitting on a lightstand behind Chris camera right. I wanted this one on higher power level to cast some shadow and separate the dark clothes from the background. Chris got a good workout, we took about 20 shots before we moved to the next location. Here’s my favourite:
24mm | ISO 1000 | f/2.8 | 1/125 sec
The second location was a rooftop. I sincerely love rooftops. The challange here (of course) was the wind. The sudden gusts of wind knocked down my softbox a couple of times, which I must admit is not a pleasant thing to see… The suitcase and camera bag both sandbagging the lighstand did the trick though.
The light setup was very similar to the one above: 24” softbox from the front and 2 rim lights from the back. All flashes triggered by radio transceivers RF-603.
24mm | ISO 200 | f/4.0 | 1/125 sec
24mm | ISO 200 | f/4.0 | 1/200 sec