Laura Barisonzi’s HyperSync Dance

We’ve been fans of Laura Barisonzi’s environmental portraits for years, and enjoy seeing what she’s up to at any given point in time. She has an ongoing personal project entitled Dance, and she took a few minutes out to share with our readers how she pulled off one of the images. Here’s a breakdown of the process for this shot in her own words.

An image from Laura Barisonzi's ongoing project, "Dance." ©Laura Barisonzi

An image from Laura Barisonzi’s ongoing project, “Dance.” ©Laura Barisonzi

I had scouted this alcove at a Manhattan park location up to a year before the shoot and had it in my head for a long time as somewhere for a dramatic shot. Once I began my personal project on dance, this location was at the top of my list for locations which could convey some of the formality of a theater or stage, but still have the grit and interest of being outside in an urban setting.

Due to the fact the location is west-facing and any sunlight is blocked by a lot of tall trees, there is no time of day when it would work well to shoot only using available light. The challenge of lighting the entire 30-foot wall was lessened by my choice to shoot mid-afternoon on a sunny day where the sun could provide dappled fill light on the wall. For my own additive lighting I used a Honda generator with three Einstein lights consisting of one beauty dish, one striplight and one 5-foot octadome.

I wanted to light the dancers without lightening the lightly-colored granite walls too much. I was able to control exactly how much of that fill I wanted by limiting a lot of the ambient light and shoot at a very high shutter speed of 1/640th of a second by using the PocketWizard MiniTT1PowerMC2, and AC3 ZoneController. This diagram breaks down my set-up:

©Laura Barisonzi

©Laura Barisonzi

In terms of the poses I chose, for this one, as for all of the images in the series, I worked with the dancers to figure out what moves they would be able to do in the space that related to the location the most. I styled the clothing in a bright colorful theme that would pop off the backdrops. I wanted the outfits to still appear like everyday urban clothes rather than dance leotards, etc., but still give the dancers a full range of motion.

This shot was retouched only in the sense I took out the crash pads which I had laid down on the ground in the alcove for the woman dancer to land on as she jumped from the tiny landing in the alcove. The jump she was doing would have been too dangerous without them. Probably the main challenge of the shoot was that even with the crashpads the dancers only were able to do these moves a few times as the surfaces and locations around them were pretty unsafe for these types of moves, so I needed to have the lighting right from the beginning.

Laura’s gear for this shoot:

  • Nikon D800
  • Nikon 20mm f2.8 AF
  • PocketWizard MiniTT1PowerMC2, and AC3 ZoneController
  • Einstein E640
  • Honda eu2000i portable generator
  • Mola Beauty Dish
  • Photoflex Octodome3 softbox with grid
  • Photoflex HalfDome 2 Softbox with grid
  • Benro Versatile Tripod

More of the project and more of my sports and active lifestyle work can be seen at


All images and quotes in this post are used with permission and ©Laura Barisonzi, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without written permission.

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3 Responses to “Laura Barisonzi’s HyperSync Dance”

  1. Gary Canazzi says:

    Well these are impressive sync speeds with this setup. I’m assuming this is what the new firmware/software is now capable with the Einstein units. Did not see which camera body was beign used on the shoot. Do you know?

    • Ron Egatz says:

      Laura used a Nikon D800 on this shoot. Her lens was a Nikon 20mm f2.8AF. Thanks, Gary!

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