Tag Archives: Speed lights

The Dunwell Brothers

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A football club is playing host to the Dunwell brothers tonight. Tomorrow’s BBC tv performance on the Andrew Marr show has been cancelled, due to the untimely death of Nelson Mandella.

Entering the club, I’m greeted by David Dunwell, whilst his brothers Joe and Matt sound check on the makeshift stage area. There is no PA and no lighting rig. This is strictly stripped back to basics.

After sound check we retreat to the sanctity of the dressing room. In reality a room which is usually used to serve food on match days, complete with a double door serving hatch and overhead strip lights. Fixture lists and posters adorn the walls. It’s not exactly the BBC’s green room or Manchester Apollo’s backstage area resplendent with leather chesterfield sofas. But it’s home for tonight and in ten minutes a makeshift photo studio.

Tables and posters are removed to clear wall space, the all important serving hatch to the left will be used as a light source from the bar. The double doors acting as both reflectors and flags whilst the overhead strip light will create some hair light.

Although shooting Canon I used two Nikon Speed Lights off camera with triggers, everything being set manually after first ensuring the white balance was tweaked on the camera.

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The Dunwell’s needed some clean high key shots which would allow for compositing for PR material.

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Shooting headshots to full length against the off white wall, the Dunwell’s proved excellent subjects, taking direction and posing naturally as I worked around them. So much so that in twenty minutes we were done and they had time to relax and prepare before the show.

With the shots downloaded on to the laptop I began working on a composite taking a full length shot, and removing the background. Then opening up a shot of building ruins. Exposure and contrast levels were adjusted on both images along with some dodging and burning after the images were composited together.

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The ruins were chosen for the background due to the wall opening to the left which could be said to mirror the light source coming from the serving hatch whilst the roof void opening would similarly create hair light to give a more natural lighting effect. All in all the draft composite took fifteen minutes.


The Dunwell’s Andrew Marr show has been rescheduled for January 19th when they will be performing their new single, “If I could be a king.”

The band will be Stateside in January and February before returning to the UK for a tour in April finishing up at their home town of Leeds on Friday 25th April at the Town Hall.

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The end of an era


1 2013 grand final super league

In the fast turn round timescale of sport with its short-term contracts the term legend is often over used.  However, as the 2013 Super League campaign drew to its conclusion, the grand final would see two monumental players, Adrian Morley (Warrington Wolves) and Sam Tomkins (Wigan Warriors) taking their final bows, before moving on to pastures new.  Salford Red Devils for Morley and New Zealand Warriors for Tomkins.

Whilst legend, Wigan’s Pat Richards was due to return to the NRL  and Wests Tigers. With whom he won the Premiers title in 2005. Add in the Man of Steele award in 2010 when he also claimed a Super League winners ring, plus  a couple of Challenge Cup trophies.  Along the way scoring over 2500 points  in his eight year Wigan career, and the term legend is probably understated.

Caught In Action’s brief for the press conference was to obtain shots of  Pat for a retrospective piece on his career, whilst not forgetting to get images of Adrian and Sam also.

It was easier said than done given the fact that the Elinchrom Quadra failed that morning.  Speed lights to the rescue on a cool October day.

First up, Adrian and Sam with the trophy pitch side, in front of the Alex Ferguson stand.

I opted to shoot from a low vantage point to exaggerate the athletes physique.  To make them more imposing even over powering the size of the stadium stand behind them.  I had no fears of shooting from such a low vantage point regarding double chins as these guys have strong firm jaw lines.

After ensuring I had got full length shots and noted Sam’s customised X Blade boots, embroidered on the toe with his initials I took half length shots from eye level.  Before ending with shots at a more jaunty angle.  All the while checking the screen to ensure my shots had not synched with other photographers flashes and been over-exposed.

Pat Richards has features chiseled from granite and perceptive bright eyes.  A herculean figure both tall and broad.  I knew I needed to depict this power and strength.  To do so I asked him to fold his arms.  This pose created bicep bulge and accentuates strength and power.

Given his height, I could have done with a set of short steps to shoot from a slightly raised viewpoint to get his shoulders and chest even nearer to the camera to exaggerate his breadth even more.  I use this technique to create a more inverted triangular body physique.  However, you have to work with what you have and there were no steps.
1 blog era 1For the next shot Pat adopted a more relaxed pose whilst looking into the distance wistfully.  As if possibly looking back on his career in Super League.  It was important to ensure that I had sufficient depth of field for this shot.  I therefore shot with a smaller aperture, thus ensuring that “Manchester Is My Heaven” is legible.

1 blog era 2Finally, a head shot was required.  Given Pat’s 2010 status of Man of Steel it was necessary to incorporate the steel work of the stand roof.  Whilst cropping out the rest of the stand.  Pat was positioned so the Wigan Warriors badge and his player identity number were visible along with the steel struts.  The remainder of the shot is sky.  Allowing the negative space to be used for text and career statistics.  To ensure the sky was not blown out an ND filter was used on the lens.

1 blog eraOn the 5th October Old Trafford witnessed Wigan Warriors over turning a deficit of 16 : 2 to run out eventual winners 30 : 16.  This proved to be the biggest comeback in Grand Final history.  Inevitably Pat Richards scored Wigan’s fifth and last try.  He must surely believe that Old Trafford is his theatre of dreams.

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