A lot of my photography takes place after I hike into a location. For this reason, I am constantly looking for ways to streamline what I carry. Recently I was going rock climbing with my family, and really wanted to shoot a few images of my son. He is now the ‘real climber’ in our family, and I can only wonder how far he will go. But in terms of shooting, the cliff was a hike in, and I didn’t want to haul major lighting gear with me. I knew the cliff would be in the shade, and I wanted to add some drama via flash to the climber. After much thought, here is what I took; D4, 24-120mm, one 11′ Manfrotto lightstand, one Lastolite triflash bracket, one SB900, and one Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 and Mini TT1. I figured one SB900 zoomed out to 200mm could easily add a little sparkle to the climber.
I used the Pocket Wizard for wireless radio speedlight control, no line of sight needed. One problem I ran into was the rocky ground was too uneven for my light stand. To solve this problem I just clipped it into a bolt on the wall to keep it from falling over. I set the ambient light to about 1 stop under exposed to create an edgy look; the shaded cliff had very flat lighting. I got a few shots I liked including the one at the top of this blog. One light speedlight can do a lot if you give it a chance.