Just under a year ago I ended up buying a strobe and an octabox so I could start taking portraits and learning how to use artificial light. It's a skill that I don't really have and one that I've wanted to work on; the furthest I had gotten was taking dumb portraits of myself in my apartment. So after putzing around I hit up my man Trevor from Metro Ice Sculptures and suggested we take some photos of him.
I've been helping Trevor with his business for a couple of years now doing deliveries and set ups for events, but I also get the unique opportunity to see him work and create. One of the things you learn about sports photography is that things tend to be easier to shoot if you know the sport well. I figured that wisdom has to transfer so that's why I picked Trevor to be my first "test" subject. The location we used is the shop he works out of down in Shakopee, southwest of the Twin Cities.
Lighting was done with a single Alien Bee B800 strobe unit with a 48" Octabox. I don't really know positions very well, so I just kind of placed it and ran with it. I set the power to 1/4 and triggered it with Pocket Wizards.
The hardest part I struggled with was posing and composing. Since I've never done this I was kind of all over the place. A lot of "Uh, try this. Ok, now this. Maybe this." Originally the ice block wasn't planned in the third photo but I realized I needed it because it provided two things that were essential: Context and so he didn't give off a serial killer vibe.
This shot is far and away my favorite. I had a few ideas in my head on how I wanted to do a shot of him cutting into a block of ice and after experimenting and trying things out for about 10 minutes I came up with this one on the fly. Originally I wanted to get a full body shot from the side with him cutting into it and the snow spraying backwards while he was backlit. The reason that didn't work is because the fill light I was using was a standard LED worklight that's pretty bright but my strobe just over powers it so it wasn't showing up the way I wanted it to. Definitely a 2-3 light setup.
We also did some shots in the deep freezer (temps around 0*F and lower) and they were fun to shoot. I killed the main lights inside and instead used his light he keeps above his work bench. To also help show how frigid it can be in there, I put my white balance on a kelvin setting to make it blue, about K2500. Corny, but I think it gets the job done.
These shots were staged under my direction, same for the lead image.
Just for fun at the end we brought in his motorized scooter and I took his photo on there.
Not a bad way to spend the afternoon, huge shoutout to Trevor for coming down and being patient with me while I tried to figure out everything since this was my first real attempt.
Canon 1D Mark IV
Alien Bee B800
Fotodiox 48" Octabox
Pocket Wizard Plus III x2