Adrien Broom on Location
A lot of things have to come into place for a successful photo shoot, especially when shooting outdoors. Add some animals and things become very challenging — just the kind of challenge photographer Adrien Broom thrives on. It is not surprising then that Adrien and her team of models, stylists and construction crew, pulled off an amazing photo shoot at the Ray of Light Farm in East Haddam, Connecticut.
Adrien Broom is a Connecticut-based photographer who loves to shoot outdoors, in unique, outdoor locations, preferably with animals. As quoted in a previous post, “I love the narrative side of things,” she says, “making stories and telling stories, but I’ve always been drawn to the bizarre.” In contrast, Adrien loves to shoot live music where there is little or no control over lighting, movement and places. She is the official photographer for Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, a relationship which started in 2000 as they were both starting their careers. Grace and Adrien are currently working on a book chronicling their experience together. When asked about a perfect day of shooting, Adrien responds with “it would start with a set in the woods complete with lighting, props, models and hopefully animals”, and that is exactly how the shoot started on the Ray of Light Farm a few weeks ago.
Arriving at the farm on a beautiful September morning, we found Adrien walking the woods around the farm scouting out the best location for the shoot. Once selected, Adrien’s construction crew began erecting three, eight foot by eight foot walls complete with door, window and fireplace on the chosen location. Meanwhile hairstylists and make-up artists were busy working on the models in one of the farmhouse rooms. Prop stylist and co-Art Director, Kristin Meyer with husband Colin Meyer began assembling the props including a cleverly hung chandelier.
Ian Ray, PocketWizard Technical Support Specialist and Adrien’s assistant for the day, set up an Elinchrom Digital 2400 RX triggered via a PowerST4 and an Einstein E-640 triggered via a PocketWizard PowerMC2. A five-foot Chimera Octaplus light bank was used with the Digital 2400 RX and a FTX Beauty dish was used with the Einstein. All of which were triggered via a MiniTT1 and AC3 ZoneController combination on Adrien’s Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Additionally, a second 5D Mark II was set-up with a FlexTT5 on-camera and MultiMAX connected via the motor drive port. Adrien could then trigger this set-up remotely via a second MultiMAX radio which triggered both the camera and the lights simultaneously (Auto-Relay Mode). This allowed Adrien the ability to take the images she needed for the compiled image with multiple tortoises on the ground. Move the tortoise, trigger, move the tortoise again and trigger. Note: the on-camera FlexTT5 with motor drive cable would have been sufficient for Auto-Relay mode using ControlTL. However, we wanted to make sure Adrien had fast recycling times so a MultiMAX was used in Repeater mode.
With models in place and lighting dialed in, the fun began when the zonkey arrived on set for his modeling debut. A zonkey is a cross between a donkey and a zebra, a beautiful, yet bizarre looking creature. Luckily, he avoided toppling over the Einstein™/Beauty dish combination when he decided modeling just wasn’t for him. And then came a stream of animals including a foal, a rabbit, some guinea pigs, a pair of miniature donkeys, an older more mature donkey, a lamb (which didn’t go so well), the tortoise, and last but not least, the ducks (which were perfectly comfortable on set). The models, Emily Cross and Audrey Smith, not only had to change wardrobe in the middle of the woods, but their animal-handling skills were amazing. They were simply pros.
It was fun to watch Adrien fire off images using the on-camera MiniTT1 and AC3 ZoneController to dial in and trigger the lights. As animals and models moved on and off the set, scenes changed and ambient lightning changed, not once was there a technical difficulty. It all just worked. During one scene, model Audrey Smith dressed in a red flowing cape dramatically entered the room with lantern in hand from the side door. A speedlight was seamlessly added to the lighting mix to provide a touch of light from behind Audrey as she entered the door. The Einstein/FTX beauty dish combo was set to zone “A”, the Elinchrom Digital 2400 RX/ Octaplus combo was set to zone “B” and the Speedlite was set to zone “C”. Adrien could dial the lights up, down or off directly from the camera’s position using the AC3 ZoneController. This provided Adrien with the ability to interact more with her models (both human and un-human) than having to fuss with her gear.
Towards dusk, the scene changed from a bedroom to a kitchen. The chandelier was moved into the middle of the room, the bed was removed and an elaborately set dining room table was added. The five foot Octaplus was extended to seven feet and the lighting turned more dramatic. The resulting images from later in the day show great flexibility in lighting between the Elinchrom and the Einstein. Again, Adrien was able to dial the power up and down on both lights creating a dramatic look as nightfall descended on the scene — the end of a perfect day of shooting with Adrien Broom.
More images from the photo shoot can be found here.