Paragliding Portrait

Jason Ely.jpg

Recently my wife went out of town on a week long holiday, leaving me home to look after the house and pets. Knowing that I was grounded for the week, I wanted to do some personal shooting for my book.  I contacted a paragliding company and asked if I could do a portrait of one of their instructors.  As it turned out, Jason Ely, owner of Tandem Paragliding in Golden, Colorado agreed to model for me.

I scouted a location near where they fly using Google Maps and agreed to meet up with Jason at 7pm, about a half hour before sunset.  As it turned out, Jason was running late due to student flyers and arrived about 90 seconds before the sunset.  I was hoping to get a few shots with the sun over his shoulder.  I am the sort of shooter that likes to be well prepared, set and ready to go just in case something happens.

Jason's van pulled into the parking lot with only moments before sunset, I had never met Jason so thing were a bit rushed. I yelled down the hill to him to run his ass off and get up to my location.  We no proper greeting at this moment, we pulled out the parasail and had him position himself where I marked out a spot.  Looking at my metadata, I got 9 shots off in 90 seconds before the sun went behind the mountains.

Once the sun went behind the mountains, we shook hands and greeted each other properly.  Only then did I learn he had a helmet and other gear to use as props.  It was rushed at the start, and we were able to make several more shots like the one above.  I image below is the third shot of the nine I took before the sun set behind the mountains.


I used a 48" FourSquare™ Softbox with 4 Nikon Speedlight inside the box. The power was set to about 1/8 power of each flash, which indicates that I could have achieved the same light with only one flash using a higher power.  Using several flashes at a lower power allows me faster recycle time. Here is the set up shot.