Street Fashion With A 200mm Lens & A Fishing Rod

Posted by on February 18, 2010 in Blog, Model, Technique | 9 comments

Street Fashion With A 200mm Lens & A Fishing Rod

Ok, so I know I’m going a little over the top with flashed out images, but it’s hard to resist playing with my new Elinchrom Quadra Ranger kit 😳 .This is another set from my penthouse shoot featuring the model Ulorin Vex, but this time we took model, lens and lights down on to the streets of Dublin for a little bit of “street fashion” 🙂 Recent traffic restrictions have meant that this area of Dublin (Temple Bar) is all but inaccessible to private traffic during peak hours, meaning the street was more or less empty of moving cars, presenting us with an opportunity to use the cobbled street and city backdrop for a different type of set.

The whole process was very much a hit and run because on the whole I felt quite pressured by the shooting situation I found myself in. Whilst the street was more or less closed off to traffic, every now and again there was a taxi or delivery truck which made it up the street, meaning we all had to move aside to let the traffic pass by. This meant I was just as concious about watching out for a car coming up behind the model as I was about framing the shot perfectly & I think the first part won out over the other. On top of this we also drew a pretty large crowd of spectators, most of whom decided to break out their own cameras and snap away. One kind gentleman was also giving the model advice on posing 😆

I guess in fairness, we were a bit of a spectacle. As I was shooting this in and around 200mm, it meant I was a considerable distance from the model. This of course meant that to communicate with her, I needed to raise my voice (I’d hesitate to say shout, but it wasn’t far off it). So having a guy squat in the middle of the street, pointing a long lens at a model giving it socks 20~30 feet away, shouting at each other, was bound to draw a crowd.

But I think the star of the show here had to be the voice activated light stand 😀 The shot was lit by a single bare Quadra head. To get the light in the position we wanted an ingenious piece of DIY was involved. A telescopic fishing rod was modified so that the last extension wide enough to accommodate a light fitting, had a light fitting jammed and glued into it, which in turn had the quadra head attached. This allowed us to have the light positioned above the model about 12 foot or so. It was kindly held by one of the other photographers on the day.

In terms of metering, everything was “metered” by looking at the histogram and output. Due to the nature of the setup (model moving due to traffic, light moving due to it being hand held and it being impossible to fix the position precisely) I was constantly adjusting either the power of the pack via the sky port, or dialling up and down the aperture accordingly. Looking at these now, if I were to shoot this type of thing again (when I shoot it again ❓ ) I would probably mix in a little more ambient.

Unfortunately for this set, we didn’t have our behind the scenes camera man, so I don’t have a brilliant record shot of the setup or the crowd of spectators that gathered. But the shot above is a crop of an iPhone image which captures some of the scene that faced us. The crowd on the right of the picture (7 or so people) were mirrored by about twice that number out of frame on camera left. I’m the little black speck in the middle hunching down and for this shot, I’m actually shooting the model Juchi.  You can just about make out Brian (camera left) holding the fishing rod/light stand and beside him is Ulorin Vex.

I have to admit, out of the two days and all the sets I shot, this set was probably the least prepared, the shortest, the most rushed, but also the most fun. As much as I wish I had taken more things into consideration during it, I also enjoyed the hit and run nature of it. Yes, I’d probably mix more ambient into the shots if I were to take them again, but that said I really like the light in this and the feel of them. I love the effect of the cobbled streets and the city in the background with Ulorin giving it all hips and elbows 🙂


  1. Nice work Ciaran. I must admit I love working on the streets like this. Unfortunately I don’t get nearly enough opportunities to do so. But I’ll take the excitement of an urban fashion shoot over an “everything white” studio shoot any day 🙂

    Might be worth adding a cheap PMR (Private Mobile Radio) set to your shooting kit, to help with voice projection when using 200mm or longer lenses like this. And a monopod makes a great portable light stand when a fishing rod can’t be found.

    – Thorsten.

  2. Cheers Thorsten and thanks for the mono pod tip – very useful indeed!

  3. Great shot! You really know how to use a flash… Love your work!

  4. Tks for your talk last night in swords I was there and u were fantastic, I’ve browsed the gallery here and again it’s great. I’m lookin at this whole flash thingy very different now! Hopefully I will get the chance to watch u in action at some stage

  5. Philip, I’m glad you enjoyed the talk. As I’ve given pretty much the same presentation to you guys twice now, I think if we were to do something again, we should all grab our cameras & flashes and head out somewhere. So rather than a dark room where everyone is sitting around, we all get to play with light for real.

    @Filip – Thanks for the comment 🙂

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  7. The street shoots looks almost like a cut and paste job. I hope you dont mind me saying so but the model is lit up too brightly in relation to the background she looked very unnatural to the surrounding. I’ve seen many fake background that blends well with the model than these samples.

  8. I don’t mind you sharing your opinion at all. But this was an “artistic” choice and I wasn’t attempting to blend the model in with the background. I purposely underexposed the background in comparison to the main light to achieve this effect.

  9. superbly done

Care to share your opinion?