Shooting Santa with Elinchrom Quadra

This is an extract from an earlier post which included quick and unscheduled lighting demo with the aid of 2 heads plugged into the Elinchrom Ranger Quadra RX pack. We wanted a more considered image of John to highlight his luxuriant beard and wonderful features. If some of you are wondering where you have seen John before, he's the guy that the Coca Cola Company use as a model to guide the artists for all the CGI images they use of Santa.

Santa wondering what those pesky elves are doing now?

We decided that we didn't want any local ambient light in the shot so I dialed my shutter up to 1/160 th second on a Canon 5D MkII. The lighting is pretty simple - one Quadra head to camera left with the Rotalux 70 cm Deep Octa soft box and to camera right a standard Quadra head and 21 cm /8 inch reflectorwith a couple of layers of Rosco Cinegel #3006 Tough Spun to take the edge off the bare 21 cm /8 inch reflector.

Rough sketch of our lighting for the shot of John after the event.
  1. John at the bar.
  2. Wall behind, roughly 4 or 5 feet away.
  3. Elinchrom Ranger Quadra RX A head with 8 inch reflector and Rosco Spun.
  4. Ben with light on adapted paint roller pole.
  5. Elinchrom Ranger Quadra RX A head with Rotalux 70 cm Deep Octa soft box
  6. Me with Canon 5D Mk II, 24 - 105 mm f4 IS L Series glass

Our thanks to Nick Lightbody for this "still life" of Ben & I at work!

Ben came in useful as a VAL - Voice Activated Light Stand to position the second light behind John to bring detail to his hair and separation from the background. I must point out that we were working in an open pub, where it would have been impractical to place a tripod lighting stand behind he busy bar on Health & Safety grounds.

Our thanks go to Lance and his staff at The Woolpack in Burgess Hill for a warm welcome every time. The Woolpack has now been adopted as our home base for the National Photographic Society PUG (Photo User Group) in West Sussex.

Another advantage of working with Elinchrom Ranger Quadra RX flash is that they are battery powered and totally portable; so have the advantage of not trailing mains leads, or having to find a power outlet when you're in a hurry. And if you're in the UK, as they are not mains powered, you will not (as far as I know) need a PAT (Portable Appliance Test) Certificate for them.

This is our favorite frame from our quick 5 minute portrait of John. There is little post-production here, just the usual tweaks in ACR to process the RAW files.

What this space for news of a new series of lighting workshops for 2012 - not just flash, but lighting for photographers; we intend to show you how to light in all circumstances and give you the knowledge and confidence with daylight, flash and continuous lights. These workshops will start with the basics (including some theory) and build your experience, understanding and confidence in a wide variety of lighting challenges and scenarios.

Our thanks to The Flash Centre and Rosco Labs for their support.

If you wish to hire or buy any of the products mentioned here, contact Simon Burfoot at The Flash Centreand don't forget to mention the NPS PUG in Burgess Hill.


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