Dan Coffey Bounces with Light
What do you get when you mix photography and trampolines? If you’re London-based photographer Dan Coffey, one awesome composite of all your friends in mid-air. Here’s his behind-the-scenes take on this fun, summer evening shoot.
There’s something really cool about seeing people frozen mid-air, like time-lapse or slow-motion video, we’re seeing something captured our eyes can’t see normally. With this in mind, I set out to shoot a composite of a group of friends on my trampoline, all mid-action, in a way that would be impossible, or at least very dangerous, in real life.
Over a backyard BBQ, we shot various tests to find the best angle, time of day, how many lights I would need, and whether it was better to mount my lights and PocketWizard Plus II on a stand or have someone hold them and follow the jumper.
In the end I settled on four lights: two shot through an umbrella to act as key light and two bare lights with blacks flags to create some separation. I attach the PocketWizard Plus II to the highest-powered speedlight and have all the others trigger optically.
The final set-up by Dan Coffey.
With my friends dangerously jumping about and the evening light fading, it was great to know my lights would fire every time, no matter where I put my camera, whether line of sight was maintained or not. I even considered shooting the whole thing from the first floor of my house looking out over the garden (something I wouldn’t be comfortable doing with a less reliable radio trigger) but a tree was in the way!
Take a look at this quick video to see a time-lapse of the whole shoot:
So after a few near misses, I had a good selection of shots of each of my friends (and even our cat!) ready to composite into one image. The flexibility of the PocketWizard Plus II triggers let me move my lights around at the end of the shoot to get some background images of the bushes, softly illuminated, which made post-processing nice and easy.
Feeling inspired? See more of Dan’s work at dancoffeyphotography.com.
All images and video in this post are ©Dan Coffey, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or re-post elsewhere without written permission.