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Evening Stretch, Sobranes Point, Big Sur

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 19 October 2010 in Landscape & Rural.


Arches/Canyonlands Photo Workshop - November 3-7, 2010 (Workshop Sold Out)
Winter Big Sur Photo Workshop - Magic Light and The Pfeiffer Beach Arch - January 11-14, 2011 (only 1 spot remaining)
Northern Arizona Photo Workshop - Grand Canyon, Upper Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and Sedona - March 16-20, 2011
(Workshop Sold Out)
Spring Big Sur Workshop - 4th Annual Wildflowers and Color - April 17-20, 2011 (space available)
Springtime in Lake Tahoe and the Mokelumne Wilderness Photo Workshop - May 14-17, 2011 (space available)
Northern California - 3rd Annual Redwoods and Mendocino Photo Workshop - May 23-26, 2011 (space available)
Second Annual Garden Isle and Tropical Paradise - Kauai Photo Workshop - July 8-12, 2011 (hurry - only 5 spots remaining)
New Articles on my Website: Combining Beauty With Beauty - Photographing An Athlete In Big Sur With The Help Of Smart Flashes And Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 Remotes and Behind the Scenes at NHL and NBA Media Days

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Here is another image from a recent shoot with friend and professional fitness trainer Mary Margaret Lanning at Sobranes Point in Garrapata State Park, Big Sur. This 2 1/2 hour shoot started with a jogging session and finished here above the iconic Sobranes Arch just as the sun was setting allowing for the warm light bathing Mary Margaret.

We had both loosely worked-out the wardrobe changes in advance and I knew I wanted to end with her in this light-blue top that would compliment the warm colors of sunset and blend nicely with the various shades of blue in the sky and ocean. We also had Mary Margaret put on longer stretch pants to emphasize the cool-down portion of the workout - seemingly small details but important nonetheless to the overall success of the image.

I had envisioned Mary Margaret doing stretches that somewhat mimicked the shape of the arch and the Whale's Hump in the distant background. She was brilliant with her poise and flexibility and willingness to cooperate with every little direction I threw her way. I tried to keep my directing to a minimum. It has been my experience that over-directing an athlete can lead to a stifling of creativity. It was important that everything flowed and I think it helped that Mary Margaret was totally committed to the shoot and seemingly completely relaxed in front of the camera.

On the technical side, I let the warm setting sun act as the main light but did fill in with a single Canon 550 EX speedlight on a light stand boomed out in front of Mary Margaret thanks to the help of a very patient Mike Hall. If I recall correctly, we dialed-down the speedlight to -1 to allow it to fill and not overpower the shadows on the side of our model's face. Unlike the last image, this image was captured in complete manual mode as fast recycle time was not crucial. The camera and flash communicated via the FlexTT5 Remote Pocket Wizards developed for Canon and allowed both Mike and I to move where needed without being constrained by a cord. We fired the strobe through a 2' x 2' Lastolite Ezybox softbox that perfectly matched the softness of the evening's light. The image was fine-tuned in Photoshop with the help of Nik Viveza 2.

After the sun had set, we added a full cut CTO (warming filter) over the flash head to keep the warmth on Mary Margaret and mimic the sun even though it had left us for the day. This bought me another 15 minutes of workable light.

This session signaled a potentially new direction in my work in a genre termed active lifestyle. This is not an end of landscape photography; rather, a meshing of both my sports and landscape passions. I really enjoyed this shoot as Mary Margaret was so easy to work with and it must be mentioned that having a capable person (Mike) on the lights who made posing suggestions and helped to keep me on-tract was what really pulled this shoot together. Plus it was getting out in a beautiful location like Big Sur and trying something new and creative with a couple of good friends - can't beat that!

BTW - if any of you are interested in being trained by Mary Margaret, you can contact her through her website at Mary Margaret Lanning Personal

To see Mike Hall's terrific images, you can visit Mike's Website or Mike's Blog.

To read a more in-depth account of the session, please read my latest how-to article: Combining Beauty With Beauty - Photographing An Athlete In Big Sur With The Help Of Smart Flashes And Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 Remotes.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 1/10 second F/10.0 ISO 200 22 mm

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