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The Car | BMW E46 M3 Convertible
date | 01.27.2013
location | las vegas, nv
las vegas automotive photographer | john afravi
Here we have Marq’s BMW E46 M3. This was a shoot in which everything that could go wrong, went wrong!!
I woke up on the day of the shoot and noticed that the weather wasn’t too great. It was extremely windy with huge gusts. Gusts and light stands never mix. My Einstein strobes are one investment I’d hate to see crash to the ground. But why let something like that hold you back? I felt I had to take this opportunity to get some awesome photography. Inclement weather makes the best backdrop in my opinion.
So I took a leap of faith and had Marq meet me miles outside of Las Vegas. We drove for a bit to a stretch of highway that I felt would’ve worked great for the photos I was looking for. Unfortunately, the highway was extremely busy. Bummer. I had to come up with a backup plan quickly.
So we drove around aimlessly until we found a construction factory off the side of the road. It was perfect, other than the “NO TRESPASSING” sign out front and the fact that we were entering a dangerous area. The compound was open for business too. Trucks whizzing by, and loud machinery making…..large machinery sounds!
So we find our spot. The sun is getting lower by the minute and I start setting up the gear. The wind was even harsher out there due to the open area. The chill was kicked up a notch as well. I set up my first light, and immediately I catch my finger in the Einstein when attaching the reflector. I start bleeding out of my finger…..profusely. WTF!
So after about half an hour of getting it to stop bleeding. I set up the rest of the gear. Get my camera settings set for the flash exposure, turn on my strobes, take a test shot…..CRRRRRRAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSHHHHHH!!!!!!! A huge gust of wind hit us and one of my Einsteins go crashing to the ground! This causes a chain reaction of epic disaster. I have 3 Einsteins, one is down right? No problem. I’ll just shoot with 2 strobes.
WRONG!! My Einstein somehow screwed up the circuitry of my battery power pack!! Now I couldn’t fire any strobes! My shoot was ruined. I was done. There was no point in being there…..I was defeated. Yes, I could’ve just shot with natural light, but the reason I went out there was to shoot with my strobes to practice my technique.
Rewind back to earlier that day. As I was packing, I just had a feeling that I should bring some sort of backup lighting equipment. I brought along (2) speedlight flashes. One Canon 580 EXII and one Yongnuo 565 EX. I originally brought them along to use for lighting individual wheels and for accent lights.
Well, that wasn’t the case. They became my primary lights. The sun was still high up enough to drown out my little speedlights. I had to change my plan. Originally I was going to nuke out the sun with my Einstein strobes, but now I had to light completely differently. I decided to use the natural light as a third light source. I wanted to use my 1/4 CTO gels for my speedlights but due to the high winds they’d just get blown away.
I set up my speedlights side by side. This doubled the power of my lights giving me an extra stop of light….which was barely enough as I had them both blasting on high power. I used the speedlights as fill to brighten up the shadowed areas while I used natural light as my primary key light.
The shoot turned out real well. It taught me some invaluable lessons. Always be prepared. Bring backups. Adapt to your situation. Innovate and get the job done.