Juggling & Paint





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Behind The Lens

This photo was taken at a bandstand in a park near where I live, Hither Green in London.
It was taken early afternoon on a cold day in March 2014. The sky was cloudy but occasional patches of sun would shine through. I did take a flash and some triggers but we found we didn't need to use them in the end as the light was good, especially when the sun came out for a few minutes.
I wanted to have some shadow effects but I didn't want it to be too strong as the contrast would have detracted form the flash of colour of the paint powder. I needed enough light to create a vibrant image, and having soft sun coming through was the perfect light balance for this image.
I used a Canon 6D with a 24 - 135mm L lens. The light was good so although I brought my tripod I didn't need it. It quickly transpired that the paint disperses almost immediately so a fast shutter speed was needed. I had two helpers throwing paint powder at the model and had the camera set on high speed continuous shoot.
I was commissioned by a friend who is setting up the Hackney State Circus; a non profit organisation that plans to create events and performance pieces for young circus acts. I wanted to revive and update the essence of circus while at the same time to convey the colour and skill of the performers. I used coloured paint powder as I think this conveys the sense of movement which compliments the juggler's act - something that can be tricky to convey in photography, as well as including the vibrancy of circus through colour.
I use Lightroom to process my images. I shoot in Raw and for this photo I did some minimal post process - I cropped the photo, enhanced some clarity and a touched up the colours a little.
In my camera bag
I normally have my Canon 6D, my 24-135mm lens, the 50mm lens (f 1.4) a polariser and Lee's Big stopper for landscapes. If i am heading out for macro I take my 100mm lens, tripod and ring flash. And a cleaning kit!
Choose a clear and dry day and take a couple of friends with you as they need to be throwing the pain powder at the model. Take note of the wind speed and direction, you need some for a good effect, but not too windy as the paint disperses very quickly. Be careful not to get any on your equipment! A fast shutter speed is key and always focus on the model's eyes. I shot this with 1/500 shutter speed, f4.0 and ISO 100. Patience and practice!

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