Behind the Scenes of the Snow Angel Diptychs

snowAngelBTSeranSome people have asked me how I shot the snow angel diptychs from yesterday, so I thought it'd be easier to show you. Don't worry, it'll be a short post as it wasn't a fancy setup at all. Basically I had to find a way to get the camera up above the subjects. So either I had to go up with the camera on a platform or ladder of some kind, or I had to have a way to remote control it from below. Setting up ladders and platforms is generally frowned upon in NYC parks and I had to do this on the down-low anyway, so I settled on the second option.

First step was to find some sort of arm to stick the 5D Mark III camera and 28mm/1.8 lens at the end of. I opted to use my carbon tripod and ball head with the legs together but fully extended. This gave me about 4 or 5 feet of distance. If I anchored the feet of the tripod in my stomach, I could then use my arm to control the angles. Then the question became how to fire the shutter. My last ditch option would be to use the built-in timer and then have to get the camera in position before the camera fired. This would suck. Next up was a little cheap IR remote I bought on eBay, but I found that I couldn't control the camera angles enough to get an accurate framing. It worked, but it didn't work very well. Luckily I had a trick up my sleeve.

A couple months ago I was sent a CamRanger from the manufacturer to try out. I've been meaning to send it back to them, but I had yet to find a real life portrait shooting situation for which it was suited. Something to actually run it through it's paces on a real shoot. Well I found one today. So the Cam Ranger plugs into the camera body (I taped it to the tripod toward the top of one of the legs) and connects via wifi to your iPad or in my case iPhone (The iPad would have been too heavy). It allows you to not only fire the shutter and change exposure settings from afar, it also lets you stream liveview images from the camera to the phone. Basically full remote control. So I could have the camera up at the end of the tripod over the people and still see everything the camera saw. Firing the shutter when I had things framed just right. I have to admit that it worked flawlessly, and I have not generally had a trouble-free experience with Canon remote control even using their own software and an actual computer with a hardwired cable. Color me impressed.

As for lighting I had planned and brought some pocketWizards and a strobe with a little softbox to use, but ended up just using the hard sun as it was. It made the whole thing feel more real.

Below is a very rough video of the whole thing in action.

Video courtesy of my friend Patrick DiJusto whom you should follow on twitter. Photo courtesy of the lovely Eran Jones.

[youtube 7l2iBxrX9NU Snow Angel BTS]