A coincidental light / by Paul Granese

I have wanted to do more night shots with a model but have not had the opportunity as I only had Speedlite flashes and could never find the right settings for them to give me the look I wanted. Recently I picked up a Paul C Buff Vagabond Mini battery pack so that I could use my studio lights outside.

It was a strange event that led to my acquisition of the Vagabond. One morning I was researching portable battery packs and decided I on the wanted to pick up the Vagabond Mini as it seemed to be the best price/feature on the market today. Once I decided on the Vagabond I did a search on Craigslist and I found one person in the LA area selling a relatively new used one. I contacted them and as it turned out they were going to be at a local camera store 2 miles from my house within the next hour. So I met the photographer at the store and grabbed the Vagabond. It must have been preordained that I was to get the Vagabond mini because I went from researching portable battery packs to picking up a great used one in a matter of two hours!

In addition to that great find I then looked for a model to shoot with that was athletic and found one on Model Mayhem and contacted her. Within minutes she got back to me and told me she was free that night as was I! So once I had decided to do a night shot I had acquired the battery pack and secured the appropriate model all within a couple of hours...

Living in Pasadena I am surrounded by mountains and within 10 minutes I was at the base of Echo Mountain with my gear. I took along my camera, the Vagabond Mini and one strobe with a softbox and started hiking up. Within 10 minutes I found the perfect spot with an amazing panoramic view of the Los Angeles basin. I set up my light and ran some test shots and then the model showed up. Actually she showed up a little late due to traffic but that was okay because it gave me time to find the right location, check the settings and lighting and allowed the sun to drop a little lower adding to the dramatic effect.

We took maybe a dozen shots before I got the one I wanted. It was exactly how I had pictured the shot earlier in the day. A quick packing up and a short car ride and I was in front of my MAC editing the photo. I modified the lighting and added some punch with filters in Photoshop and came up with the following picture. I am happy with the results of my first flash-filled night shot and look forward to experimenting more with this technique.


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