My morning started looking out the window and seeing 10 inches of fresh snow, with more falling and the wind blowing. In other words, a blizzard day in Colorado. I always look at heavy snowfall as a great reason to get out and play and shoot…kayaking, fly fishing, running, snowshoeing…snow is just an excuse to go play! With that in mind I loaded up the truck with my new Elinchromn ELB400s and the new EL-Skyport Plus HS and headed out into the snow.
Snow looks great when hit by flash, the only challenge is shooting when the snow is coming down hard and blowing everywhere. I’ve developed a system that works great when shooting with Quadras and ELB400s. First, I put the battery packs in their own small backpack. This keeps the flash packs plenty dry, and they trigger just fine using a Skyport.
Next, I put my flash heads onto stands and cover them with a waterproof nylon bag. The pack with the ELB400 is clipped onto the lightstand and stabilizes the stand like a sandbag. With the pack clipped on and the flash head covered, I can go about setting up the shoot without worrying about heavy snow getting anything wet. True be told, I’ve used my ELB 400s in blowing snow before with no cover, and they worked great. These packs are well sealed against the elements. I often leave the waterproof bag tied around the back part of my flash head to cover where the cable connects to the head. This prevents any moisture getting in; be careful not to cover the bulb and reflector. Flash heads get hot and can melt nylon and plastic.
I also always bring a foam pad to place my gear on in the snow. Nothing is worse than dropping something into the snow and it disappears in the snowpack. If the snow is really coming down, your pad may get buried quick. Bring a small whisk broom to brush off the snow. And bring a small absorbent cleaning cloth to wipe off the drops on on your lens.
I know my Nikon cameras can get really wet and keep on shooting, but what about that new EL-Skyport Plus attached to the top? I’m happy to report this skyport does great in bad weather; my unit was very wet and snow covered after shooting in the storm, but it performed beautifully. The new LCD interface and larger control buttons allow easy control adjustments using bulky wet gloves.
For this shot I used cross lighting and darkened the ambient light around 1.5 stops. I love using this lighting ration between daylight and flash to add more drama to the intensity of the snowstorm.