Some days ago I got a message from a friend who had just won the Finnish tryouts for the World Cosplay Summit, and was eager to get some pics of the costume. As a purveyor of fine light, I was happy to oblige! Little was I to know that it would become my most challenging shoot to date...
I had taken the day off work to prepare for it, and we met up at about 1PM. There was plenty of preparations to be done with the costume itself, and then we had to pick up the other part of the dynamic cosplay duo, so we finally got going at about 2PM. This late in autumn there aren't many hours of sunlight, and on the list of things to try was also some available light shots.
We had gotten a tip of a good place that could suit the setting of the show itself, sandy and a bit desolate. We got the worst possible start in that a small, but important, piece of prop was left behind, and we had to turn back to get it. On top of that we spend many hours searching for this place we had been told about, with no luck. We saw some places that could have been good, but they were pretty inaccessible by car, and walking any longer distance was out of the question, with all the gear, props and costumes.
Eventually we came across a place, not a very pretty place, but a place with sand nonetheless. By this time the sun had set, and the remaining light was fading fast. It wasn't the most optimal location, but we could either do it there, or waste more valuable time in going back to town to the b-location. By this time I had discarded any thought of using available light; it was gonna be straight to speedlights.
But we weren't clear just yet, with light falling as fast as the temperature, it was getting darker and colder by the minute. Before long I was having problems with the auto-focus on my camera, as without light, it can't focus. Luckily I had gotten another SB-24 flash the very day, that I had taken with me to be used as a backup in case one of them failed. So I could take the Canon-compatible Nissin I have and put on the camera hotshoe, and use its AF-assist beam.
This helped me get some critical shots, but time was running out, and the cold was taking its toll. As we were setting up the final shots to be taken, I noticed that the lens had fogged over, making further shooting impossible. As I was disassembling the gear I couldn't get the umbrella-stand screw loosened because I had lost feeling in my fingers...
But considering all the trouble we went through and the circumstances we shot in, we came away with some pretty fine images! And as for the subtitle I mentioned, this is a shoot I don't think would have been possible without small, portable flashes.