Every so often a unique opportunity comes along to showcase not only someones personality but also their skill in some sort of activity. Whether that be as an athlete, a musician, or an artist it makes no difference as usually the person you are photographing has achieved some sort of honor that it is your job to showcase in a grand image to the world.  Whether that image is on the cover of a magazine, or that image is someplace on the vast space of the internet; your job is to do the best you can to show that person in a beautiful light to help recognize the achievement they are being honored for.  Sometimes it’s an intimidating assignment, sometimes it goes way too quickly and there are a hundred things you wish you could do.  Sometimes the assignment works itself out in no time and you are left wondering why it wasn’t more difficult.  This assignment was a last minute idea put into fruition with the help of the folks at the Indiana University Alumni Association for their Winter magazine.


If you didn’t recognize her, that’s Lilly King.  I’m sure you also guessed it; she’s a two time gold medalist in the Rio Olympics for Swimming.  Helluva swimmer is my understanding which should be obvious since those gold rings mean she’s the best in the world in not just one, but two events.  As I recall, I had her to photograph for roughly 30 minutes to shoot the fold out deal you see above.  Not a lot of time for extra options when you’ve got a pool filled with people at the IU Student Rec Center.  It was definitely an exercise in working quickly, along with patience as some shots required threading a needle like accuracy while trying to avoid the enthusiast swimmers in the backgrounds.


(Nikon D5, 80ISO, Nikon 85F1.4D 1/124th@F1.8.  Phottix Indra500 set to TTL shot through a 47″ Octabox held on a C Stand above Lilly King at the IU Natatorium/Rec Center.  Indra triggered by Phottix ODIN2 on the Camera’s hot shoe)

This is where my Phottix Indra 500s really shined as I was able to get my C stand setup with light and modifier, and I was able to adjust everything on the Fly.   Here’s an idea of the setup used for the shot on the cover, as well as the shot above.  I did have another Indra 500 set up on a stand with a strip box, which you can see the result of down below.


I remember having to shoot things like this before I got my Indra units.  Wow was it a pain, raising and lowering the lights non stop to get the effect I wanted.  It was no joke to say the least.  With the Indra heads and ODIN 2 I honestly wasn’t even required to adjust the power too many times.  Since I was using only one light the TTL was spot on allowing me to work quickly, and to create a couple of stylized portraits to go along with the safe ones.


(Nikon D5, 100ISO, Nikon 24mmF1.4, 1/160th@F2.  Phottix Indra500 shot through a Phottix 11″x60″ strip box on a Manfrotto Stacker 13′ stand to camera right.  Indra triggered by Phottix ODIN2 on the camera hot shoe.)

Of course the shots here and is in the magazine are only a very small percentage of what was actually shot; even if 30 minutes was all I had.  Welcome to the world of editing.  Either way, this had to be one of my memorable shoots from 2016 and I’m thrilled to finally be able to share it with you.  Lilly is truly world class to work and I look forward to watching her swimming career unfold further.  Some may say she has no place to go but I disagree; look at Michael Phelps and all.  No matter what happens, right now she is the best in the world in 2016 and there’s nobody who can take that away from her.  It was an honor to work with her I greatly look forward to the possibilities of working with or meeting some more great athletes in 2017.  Look for more information about that in my next post, which will be my year in review.  More soon.