Fellow photographer, DJ and engineer Daniel Wood had a guest this weekend. Alex, who’s best described as the bastard love-child of the tenth and eleventh Doctor Who, was visiting from England.

Spring sprung upon the country and apologized for her tardiness with a splendid, warm weekend, so we took to the park for some portraits.

Normally we’d have sought open shade, but the sun-kissed stream and meadows made for irresistible backdrops, so my radio-triggered flashgun got quite the workout.

While impressively powerful as a light source, Canon’s 600EX isn’t a match for the sun’s power under normal circumstances. I wanted to keep the exposure down enough to bring out the blue in the sky, without turning Alex into a silhouette — or worse, having him squint into the full-on sun.

I put the flashgun in a massive Apollo Orb umbrella reflector and anchored the light stand deep into the grass, as it was mighty windy. Alex had to stand quite close to it to gain the benefit of the flash’s warmed illumination, which made for challenging framing.

Since I generally prefer a more fluid, organic portraiture flow, I set up my ridiculous, but recognizale signature light shaping tool: a plastic beauty dish velcroed to the flashgun, and the flashgun mounted on a pistol grip. This lets me put gorgeous, soft light anywhere I want on my model without requiring annoying shot-to-shot pauses while mucking about with light stands.

Alex, being quite the extrovert, was a terrific model. He needed no persuasion to dust off his old karate (ka-ra-TÉ!) forms, and finally Daniel needed a new headshot as well.

Such a relief to have such gorgeous light back in the country. The winter was too long!