Here is a preview of my next print promotion and eblast due out next week. This is a double sided card. Haven’t decided which side to go with for the eblast.

climber under Alaska glacier 2

Exploring ice cave under the Root Glacier, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska

climber under Alaska glacier 1

Exploring ice cave under the Root Glacier, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska

Here is the story behind the images. We were on location in Kennicott and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park as part of a lengthy summer assignment for the Alaska State Vacation Planner. After shooting for several days including a hike on the Root Glacier the day before, I decided to shoot some fun stuff this day. A knowledgeable guide and photography enthusiast with St. Elias Alpine Guides took Lauri and I under the Root Glacier into some fantastic ice caves. The most dangerous part of the shoot was the steep and loose approach and dealing with my claustrophobia. The ice caves reminded me of slot canyons in the southwest. They are hidden gems whose intimate beauty is not readily seen from a distance. Like slot canyons, the caves under the Root proved to be an excellent place to shoot in the middle of the day with maximum light illuminating the underside. What a great place to use the Radio Poppers. The poppers are a great little system for firing speedlites wirelessly in TTL without relying on the line of sight of the infrared triggers. And honestly, the Canon ST-E2 transmitter system fails miserably outdoors especially in harsh cold wet environs such as under untold tons of ice! The Radio Poppers have not worked flawlessly in harsh field conditions either, however, their performance is far better than just the Canon system alone. So in a small bag, we were able to carry about $2000 in lighting gear and achieve amazing results. In both shots we are using 2 580 EX 2’s with Honl gels and one of my favorite lightweight light shaping tools, the Honl 1/8 grid.

Lauri did a great job as a “mobile light stand” (a phrase coined by Joe McNally, whom I learned a lot from about location lighting with small strobes.) So TTL light fired from 100 feet away behind a wall of ice in a cold damp cave. Presto! Gotta love it.

In the closer shot the trick was to warmly light Jacob without light spilling over to the surrounding ice. This one was a bit trickier than the more distant shot and required moving around several times. The CTO gel does a great job of warming the skin so it pops out of the deep glacier blue background. In both instances, my standard technique is to use manual exposure. I get a background ambient exposure first and generally let the TTL do it’s thing using flash exposure comp to get the strobe lighting where I want it.

I was a little apprehensive about being under a glacier even though we were never more than 100 feet from the entrance. I’m glad we didn’t become a potential archeological find 10,000 years from now.

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