Words and photos by Stan Evans
I recently got a call from Red Bull to shoot rock climber Sasha Digiulian. Even though I hadn’t climbed in a long time I figured it would be no big deal. Some ropes, some rocks. Pretty straight forward right? Nothing of the sort.
When I was told the location scout would be at the Red Bulls Soccer Arena I really started racking my brain. Were they going to build some sort of fake wall in centerfield and have a rock climbing competition? Maybe some creative climb on the outer walls? I figured I’d see soon enough.
It took an elevator to the 6th floor and a climb up a ladder to the upper decks before it was all explained to me. Sasha was going to climb the upper rafters of the stadium then rappel down to the field to deliver the game ball for the season opener.
Mellow… that is if I don’t mind being perched precariously on scaffolding watching a young girl dangle hundreds of feet above a crowd of rabid soccer fans…. Oh, and fireworks too!
The reality is I love sketchy jobs, and this one brought a smile to my face. It did present an interesting list of variables though.
Matching the exposure underneath the dome and the outside light was going to be tough.
Getting lighting equipment up on ladders and scaffolding was a challenge in itself. With people in the stands a hundred feet below, dropping equipment was not an option.
The light in the rafters was dark so I illuminated with the Profoto B4 with two heads to achieve some separation of Sasha and the background. Frontal light was provided by a Profoto B1 with a grid. Every piece of equipment was secured by webbing and carabiners. I had my camera slung on my shoulder with the Custom SLR Glide Strap for quick access, yet still secured so I wouldn’t have to put it down or accidentally drop it.
I would shift Exposure as she climbed from the darker background to the brighter edge of the dome above the crowd. I used the Profoto Air Remote so Flash power could be easily compensated. Having the heads on A, B and C Channels I could change the fill, rim and key without moving. Sasha was awesome to work with and for being upside down most of the time, she took my direction well, pausing or looking towards me for a shot, which made the whole experience a lot easier than it really was.