Working out in the Rain

This shoot was inspired by Benjamin Von Wong’s “Epic Gym Shoot,” as you can see here: http://blog.vonwong.com/epicgymshoot/. He includes his own tutorial and guides. We didn’t have quite the budget he did so our replications came with it’s own challenges. We also decided to have color in the shoot instead of straight b/w images. The biggest issue was lighting the water droplets and freezing them. Using Paul C. Buff White Lighting 1600’s for main lights and Alien Bee 800’s for the rain was fine for power and great for budget but the flash duration at only half-power was too long to totally freeze the droplets. Instead we have small tracers. We shot this in a friend’s garage, mid-day. So, we needed to shoot with fairly high power and shutter speed to overcome any ambient light. Next time, I’ll shoot in a dark area, where we can have a lesser power on the strobes (allowing for a shorter duration flash, freezing motion more easily) and maybe have some ProFoto gear, rent out a warehouse in Brooklyn, and be shooting ‘90’s Kate Moss and modern day Robert Downey, Jr. making out in the rain – because it’s my dream, why not?
Equipment Used:
Canon 5d Mk IV
Canon 24-70 f/2.8
Pocket Wizards
2 PCB White Lightning X 1600’s with pans
1 Alien Bee 800 with pan
9ft Savage Black Seamless
20lb dumbbells
Portable lawn sprinkler being shook over my head by a friend.
So here’s our lighting grid (you may ask why I didn’t just take a picture, well I forgot. So now you get to see it through my photoshop recreation):
We did pans to get specular highlights, which worked out pretty well – the light wasn’t too soft. We were also still able to direct it downwards to get nice shading that makes me look like I actually workout. In all honesty, I haven’t had a free weight in my hands in probably 5 years at least. I don’t hike, walk, run, play sports or enjoy activities. I’m a big fan of raw steak, butter, and whiskey – but I digress. Here are a few unedited images from the shoot. Keep in mind we shoot in neutral and keep our settings as neutral, flat and dull as possible. When working with video this has helped us increase our dynamic range. Now that I’m doing it in photography as well, I also feel like there’s a difference. 
These were shot in raw at:
f/16
Focal length approx 60mm
ISO 1001/200th sec
We then imported into Lightroom, increased contrast, de-saturated a bit, sharpened, popped clarity, adjusted exposure, dropped blacks, opened shadows – basically did something similar to creating a very contrasty S-curve plus dropping out some of the color. The final products looked like so (we also cropped and flipped the second one):
So that’s about it! The set up took about 45 mins, the actual shooting time was about another 45 mins. We live in Phoenix, Arizona but it was January and a cold day so I couldn’t handle too much more. All it all it was a pretty easy set-up and shoot, but only because we had Benjamin Von Wong’s work to go off and inspire – so thanks to him!

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