It’s nice to have creative licence with regard to a shoot, although it can also cause additional pressure too. This assignment had been in the works for quite some time, waiting on Ramsgill Aviation to have a quiet few days that coincided with decent weather. Incidentally, I consider days without rain to be decent!

 Ramsgill Aviation provide rather exclusive transportation for couples, whether for weddings or dining out. This particular assignment was to illustrate their “heli-dine” package, and rather than just have a grinning couple alongside the helicopter, I wanted to emphasise the exclusivity of the service.

The above image is the final version and the look I had in mind when I shot it. It was a rather overcast day and threatened rain for most of it, to the point we would occasionally get a smattering of rain drops and consider packing up, and it would then stop. Not ideal conditions really, especially when Nicola was wearing a rather lightweight dress that afforded her no warmth whatsoever.

I say not ideal conditions, but in all honesty, it couldn’t have been better (I just couldn’t say that within earshot of Nicola and Dan!). The sky had a lovely lumpy texture to the clouds, and there were varying degrees of grey depending on how likely the rain looked. Better yet, if the cloudscape didn’t look that exciting, I only had to wait ten minutes and it was completely different. Fabulous!

Getting back to the image, with the sky being overcast, I wanted to ensure it became part of the image, rather than just a backdrop, and I really wanted to emphasise the texture I’ve already mentioned. I needed to under expose the ambient enough to enhance the clouds, but not lose all the detail in the trees and bushes in the background. I would also need to light Dan and Nicola, along with the helicopter to ensure they “popped”, and I felt my only real option would be to use the Lencarta Safari system.

I used a single Safari 600ws head to put the light through a white 70cm Beauty dish without the diffuser. The beauty dish was chosen as it doesn’t cut down the light as much as a softbox, and can provide quite nice contrast. It was on a 2.6m stand at full height and angled down towards the couple and barely out of shot, camera left. The output from the safari was on full.

Nikon D3 ISO200 1/125th sec 24-70mm f14

As you can see, I had some headroom with regards to the shutter speed, insofar as I could have raised it to the maximum sync speed of 1/250th sec to either darken off the ambient further, or open the aperture a stop to maintain the same exposure level.

The above image includes the post processing to get it to where I had been aiming originally, whereas the image below is pretty much as it was taken.

I think the image is great straight from the camera, as it shows the power of the Lencarta Safari very effectively. However, I wanted a little more detail in the background trees and grass. I also wanted to take out the reflection of the beauty dish too, as I found it distracting.

I particularly like the large beauty dish for this kind of work, as it softens the light just enough, but avoids reducing the power.

The image below is another from the set.

Nikon D3 ISO200 1/200th sec 24-70mm f16