Photographer Ben Franke recently published a series called Parkour and Flour. I found the work to be so compelling that I called my nephew and his cousin to try to take some pictures using the same techniques.
To take the photos required a little bit of preparation and materials. What I used included 1) 4 bags of flour, 2) an single Elinchrom BX 500 lighting unit, 3) Nikon D4 and 24-70mm lens, and 4) a reflector to bounce light back on the subjects.
To be honest having a second speedlight to fill the image with light would have been much easier and taking these images at night required that I completely operate in manual focus mode since there is no way, my camera could capture focus in the darkness automatically. I used my Iphone flashlight to light them up first, used autofocus and then locked that focus in manual mode. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t.
It took awhile to figure it all out. At first I wanted to try to light them by backlighting, but that didn’t work at all so I tried putting the lights at about 90 degrees and side light them and that worked well. The other thing I learned was that you couldn’t use that much flour otherwise it would completely obscure the subject in flour. The best thing is to shake a little bit on them before they jump.
It was a real fun project.