Behind the Scenes: Photographing a Harley in North Yorkshire

Behind the Scenes photographing a Harley Davidson at Ribblehead Viaduct in North Yorkshire

A few weeks back I was up in North Yorkshire at an absolutely stunning location ‘Ribblehead Viaduct’ to photograph Model / Biker Sam Walker and his Harley Davidson Motorcycle; here’s the result:

Harley Davidson - Glyn Dewis

I thought for this post I’d give you a quick look behind the scenes and also explain one of the challenges that had to be overcome to get the final shot.

First off though here’s a list of the kit I used:

  • Canon 5D MKIII
  • Canon 70-200mm f/2.8
  • TetherTools Cables including Jerk Stopper and Extension
  • Lightroom (for shooting tethered)
  • MacBook Pro in an iCap Collapsible ‘Tent’ – Used to shield screen from sunlight
  • Elinchrom ELB 400
  • Elinchrom Rotalux 135cm Octa Softbox
  • Phottix C-Stand with Boom

•Note: I was unable to use my 3 Legged Thing ‘Winston’ Tripod due to the location we were photographing and that for the shot I needed to photographed positioned in the road so was constantly having to look over my shoulder and get out the way of traffic.

Here’s a look at the Tethering Set up which I had in the boot of my car during the shoot.

You can see my MacBook Pro in the iCap and the orange TetherTools cable going to my Canon 5D MKIII and you can just about see the TetherTools Jerk Stopper; an invaluable piece of kit that prevents damage to the socket on your camera where you plug in the tethering cable…

Harley Davidson - Glyn Dewis

So here’s a look at what the exposure would have been like at ‘normal’ studio type settings of 1/125 sec, ISO 100 and an Aperture of f/4.0 …

Harley Davidson - Glyn Dewis

Clearly way over exposed, so this is where Elinchrom HS (Hi-Sync) comes into play.

Different to High Speed Sync (I’ll do a video on this v.soon), HiSync allows the user to shoot with shutter speeds of up to 1/8000 second which means being able to overpower even the brightest of days without having to have a pack that can go nuclear; the ELB 400 kicks out just over 400ws

Here’s what Sam and the location looked like when increasing the shutter speed to 1/1000 sec …

Harley Davidson - Glyn Dewis

So now that we are in HiSync…how to meter? Well you could just keep increasing the lights power and taking test shots but here’s how I do it…

First off meter the light with the usual ‘studio’ settings i.e. 1/125 sec, ISO 100 and f/4.0

Then dial in the look you want by adjusting the Shutter Speed. In my case to get the sky / scene how I wanted it meant going to 1/1000sec which is an increase of 3 Stops (1/125 to 1/250 = 1 Stop; 1/250 to 1/500 = 2 Stops; 1/500 to 1/1000 sec = 3 Stops)

So knowing this to get the light exposed correctly I just increase the power by 3 Stops. I have my light power increments in 10th of a Stop so 30 clicks up in Power in 3 Stops (10 clicks = 1 Stop etc…) meaning f/4.0 to f/5.6 = 1 Stop; f/5.6 to f/8.0 = 2 Stops; f/8.0 to f/11 = 3 Stops)

Because of the increase in Shutter Speed, metering the light at f/11 allowed me to keep the camera settings at f/4.0 and so maintain the depth of field that I wanted.

Now in the picture below you can the set up with the Octa, C-Stand and Tethering into the MacBook which was in the boot of my car; obviously in this shot Sam is actually holding the light from having the wind take it away but this gives you a look at the exact set up for the picture of him.

Harley Davidson - Glyn Dewis

Here’s the Out of Camera shot lit using the Elinchrom ELB and next to it the Print Ready version the same shot having been Post Processed in Lightroom and Photoshop:

Harley Davidson - Glyn Dewis

If you have any questions or comments then please do make use of the comments section below and from what I’ve gone through in this post if you think there’s potential for a video tutorial please do let me know and I’ll get to it.

Harley Davidson - Glyn Dewis

In the mean time though, you can check out a BIG version of this picture of Sam and his Harley by CLICKING HERE

Cheers
Glyn

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  • Ferdinand Bart Alst

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge, always interesting to see how other people work.
    I would really like to know how you did your pp in photoshop 🙂

    Cheers,
    Ferdinand
    pixelyoursoul.com

  • Nick Bayliss

    I’ve been struggling to understand HiSync with my Elinchrom ELC. I think I get it now.. Hope to see the video soon as I find your videos easier to follow than in a written format.
    Keep up the great work

    Nick

  • Vincent Hofer

    Geee, finaly an excellent explaination on how Elinchrom HS works, thanks so much for that!

  • marycd

    Would absolutely LOVE to see a video on this. I’m migrating from continuous lighting (for scaredy cats) to strobes and off camera flashes.

    So any help is very appreciated.