Lighting the spirit


Lighting The Spirit

Michael Clark and the ELB 1200

Do you wonder how tough the ELB 1200 unit is?

Michael Clark did a real-size field test to push the unit to its limits. Working with Red Bull Athlete, Rafa Ortiz, Red Bull Photography and some intense ingredients he ended up with astonishing results.

“In short, the ELB 1200 unit is damn near perfect!”

Michael, you are specialized in adventure photography.

After all you’ve accomplished, how do you manage to go even further in this field?

In this day and age, where amazing images are created and posted online daily, as pro photographers we have to constantly keep pushing the envelope of our abilities and the technology we have at our disposal.

To that end, I am always staying up to date on the latest gear so that I can create new and exciting images with a different perspective or look than has been shown before.

I am constantly thinking about how I can create images that will stop the viewer in their tracks, as with this whitewater kayaking shoot.

“The new lighting options, and the way in which we can radically alter the lighting in an image, even from far away, is incredibly exciting from a creative perspective.”

What is the story behind the kayak concept?

We discussed a wide variety of possible sports for this ELB 1200 photo shoot. Kayaking always seemed to be at the top of the list.

Whitewater kayaking is a sport that requires fast shutter speeds to stop the motion of the kayaker and the water flying everywhere. Adventure, water, speed, technology, it seemed like a perfect fit for using the Hi-Sync capabilities of the ELB 1200 along with the HS flash heads.

Once we decided on kayaking as the subject, we partnered with Red Bull Photography and Rafa Ortiz, one of the best waterfall kayakers in the world. Rafa convinced us that Spirit Falls in Washington State was the best location for this project.

In the end, the shoot went incredibly well and I got some of the best images of my entire career.

“I got some of the best images of my entire career.”

Why was the ELB 1200 the unit you needed for this project?

For this shoot, we not only captured the action, but also shot a lot of portraits and lifestyle images.

We needed a flash that can light up a waterfall from 100 feet (30 meters) away and also be versatile enough to shoot portraits with a fast flash duration.

The ELB 1200 is by far the most versatile battery-powered flash unit on the market because of the three different flash head options.

Elinchrom has also optimized the Hi-Sync flash head across the entire power range, which means you get clean light from edge-to-edge on the sensor and you can vary the power output as needed to balance the flash with the ambient light. No other flash on the market, save for the ELB 400, has this ability.

“I don’t think there is any other flash system on the market that can deal with the torture we dished out and survive!”

“The ELB 1200 is tough!”

Lastly, the ELB 1200 is tough. I wanted to see how far it could go before it died and tried a lott of different things. It was dropped a few times (not on purpose) and kept on working. I never did kill any of the ELB 1200s on this shoot or on subsequent shoots.

I don’t think there is any other flash system on the market that can deal with the torture we dished out and survive—and there definitely isn’t any other system that is as versatile as the ELB 1200.

In short, this unit is damn near perfect.

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Chasing The Shot

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