So, if you’ve been following on Facebook or Twitter lately, you’ve probably seen some of our recent work with Pro Triathlete Liz Baugher. We took this shoot down to Galveston to really emphasize the “Rise and Grind” lifestyle of a triathlete by setting it on the beach at sunrise. The weather here in Texas played havoc with our plans the first few weeks, but we were finally able to get down to the island and we were blessed with gorgeous light, great weather, and some extremely cold water!
We started the shoot the same way any good athlete starts their workout with some shots of Liz warming up an stretching before we took it down to the beach for the run. I thought the catwalk down to the beach framed the stretch well and the sun just cresting the horizon gave us some really beautiful backlight to work with. As you can probably imagine, the space as a little cramped, but by maneuvering around and switching to a wide lens we were able to make the space work for the images and make the space look and feel much larger than it was. The sun gave us a nice backlight/rim light on Liz that wrapped around her face with an orange glow and I used a beauty dish as the main light source. I would have loved to get in there with a larger light source, but anybody who has been to Galveston can tell you that the winds on East Beach don’t play nice with large surface areas. So, the small light source was a little harder and we really had to sneak it in tight to create a softer look.
After the warm up images we hopped down to the sand and shot some photos of Liz coming at the camera. The lighting set up above was – again – very simple with just the sun and one beauty dish as the key light, but we hit the jackpot with the sunrise and the run photos were some of my favorite of the day. Switching angles and changing lenses let me play around with the images more without having to adjust the light. For focus, I looked at the spot we wanted to hit Liz with the light, marked it out with a soft foot print and watched Liz and the footprint until the two met. You only get one shot per run-up so timing is everything and nailing the placement with the stride and light is definitely a fun combination and will keep you on your toes behind the camera. I loved it!!
Look at that determination! Loved Liz’s facial expressions and we just kept running until we felt like we had it in the bag before we dared to jump in the frigid and chocolate-milky Galveston surf. Liz had her BlueSeventy wetsuit, I had to grin and bear it.
Before we really started jumping in the water, I wanted just some simple portraits of Liz in her wetsuit with goggles standing in the surf. We shot a variety of different poses and one of my favorites was created when I slowed the shutter speed waaayyyy down and closed down the aperture to adjust for the exposure. This allowed me to get the movement of the surf coming up over Liz’s feet while still snapping a crisp shot of Liz by freezing her with the light. The effect was truly ethereal and was – again – one of my favorites, but the attitude she gave me when I had her turn around and look at me was AWESOME! It truly said “badass” and it shows the mindset that I believe every pro athlete has to have. A, “Come and take it,” attitude that shows no surrender to yourself, the pain your feeling, or the competitor creeping up on your heels.
We finally braved the water and this is always interesting because we don’t use the lights, so I had to look at the sun a lot more and also time Liz, the waves, and the angle of the shot as best as possible. I used an EWA Marine bag to shield the camera much like my shoots for SROSM and Lululemon. Another safe and dry experience with this awesome product! The controls are a little difficult to maneuver through the bag, but as long as you set your settings pretty close before you start to shoot it is definitely worth the price difference between it and other housings.
We tried something different and actually had Liz diving into the water like a beach start rather than exploding out of the water like we’ve done with other athletes. I loved the entry splash created and the sun coming through her hands in the images reinforced that early morning Splash-and-Dash feeling that every triathlete knows and loves!
After drying off and warming up, we finished with Liz on the bike. But, instead of driving along in front of Liz like we’ve done in many other shoots featured on the blog, I chose to remain stationary and have Liz ride by so I could capture some different angles than the truck allows. The down-to-up shots were great and by utilizing the flash duration. I was able to create some great stills of Liz as she flew by. The light set up as a little different because the sun was higher in the sky by now, but we still used the single beauty dish and had the sun behind Liz as much as possible to continue to act as a back light and fill light on the dark side of the image.
The final shots of the day were just some more simple portraits of Liz in her tri kit with her Aussie Cycle Works custom bike. Again, the attitude was radiating and I loved the results. She is truly a gifted athlete and we can’t wait to see what the 2015 season has to offer her.
To take this shoot a little deeper, we shot some BTS video for you to enjoy and hopefully learn a little more about our shooting process, how we interact with our awesome athletes, and catch a glimpse of a beautiful Galveston morning.
Still have questions? Post a comment below and let us know what you want to see in the next BTS video or any other questions you might have for us about the shoot or working with great athletes like Liz. Also, give us a follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more BTS info, updates, and sneak peeks behind our upcoming shoots. 2015 is looking like it’s going to be a lot of fun and we can’t wait to share it!
- Equipment Used:
- Canon 5D Mark III
- Canon 50mm f/1.2 L
- Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L
- Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L
- Sandisk CF Cards
- Lee Filter Lens Hood
- Lee Filter .3, .6, & .9 ND Filters
- EWA Marine Housing
- PCB Einstein 640W Light
- PCB Silver Beauty Dish
- Manfrotto 420B Combi Boom Stand
- Cybersync Trigger & Receiver