Let’s face it – most photographers that I know aren’t exactly what you would call fitness junkies or health nuts. As artists, we are drawn to all things creative and this includes good food and drink. Am I right? Couple that with the fact that when we’re not out shooting we’re usually in front of a computer – either editing, blogging, tweeting, or building our businesses. It’s what we do.
It adds up to a lot of time spending being fairly sedentary. Even if a photographer has the occasional 5-mile hike to reach a location she is shooting at, there is still a large quantity of time spent in front of the computer or at a desk. And lets not forget the photographers who are constantly traveling while on assignment. Those guys and gals hardly have time to sleep sometimes, let alone maintain some sort of fitness regimen. So how do we combat this? How do we keep ourselves healthy?
Personally, I use a couple of pretty handy devices that I can take with me very easily. The first shot above is of the Perfect Pushup Mobile Unit, which folds down flat and fits into a handy travel case that’s easy to pack in my bag. The handles come off and the bottom plates face each other, then the handles are attached to the sides to form one piece, nice and flat.
Second, I use that funky-looking ball thingy (technical term) that you see just above. It’s called the Powerball Pro and it’s made by a company called Dyna-Flex. It uses a gyro to create resistance and it is designed to help work on grip and arm strength. It’s a lot of fun to use and wears you out in about 10 minutes. I can tell you without a doubt that my grip strength has most definitely improved since using it and it’s gives my a therapeutic effect that I truly enjoy.
I chose to use both of the devices above because they are easy to use, easy to travel with, and very effective. I can’t depend on having a gym everywhere I go and I don’t want to come home from a long day at work and then go to the gym. I’d rather spend that time at home with my family. So I usually get my workouts in while I’m catching up on a show with my wife in the evening. The workouts are short and effective, which is the way I prefer them to be.
You didn’t think I was only going to talk about fitness stuff, right? Good. I took the shots above in the studio, using some black seamless paper and black granite tile. I used a flash with a gel on the background for the color and in the case of the Powerball, I snooted it too.
This was the first shot that I took of the Powerball and I didn’t like it because it really didn’t do much to add shape and dimension to the ball. It sort of fell off into the background and so I had to do something different.
This was the setup shot for my first shot of the Powerball (just above). Since nearly the whole object is round, shiny, and reflective, I had to do something to try and minimize that as best I could. So I feathered the softbox from behind and used a couple of fill cards to help light the ball. I still wound up with a specular highlight but I put it in a place where it seemed the least distracting to me.
For my second go-around I added another speedlight with the fresnel zoomed to 105mm and used it at 1/128th power (big advantage of using speedlights in product setups) to bring back the shape to the ball and separate it from the background. I was much happier with the result and that was why I showed that image of the Powerball first.
Here’s the setup shot of the Perfect Pushups. I brought my key light in from above and at an angle and then used a speedlight with the dome diffuser at 1/64th power to provide separation. The reason I put the dome diffuser on for this shot was so that I would really soften any shadows and prevent the light from being too harsh.
I hope you enjoyed the images and the setups – as well as my advice for staying fit. I’m not going to preach to anyone and I don’t believe in forcing one’s beliefs on people either. But I do think it’s an important thing and so I thought I would share what I do to try and stay healthy and keep myself in decent shape. I say “decent” because I’m no bodybuilder either!
Enjoy your weekend and I hope you have the opportunity to get out and shoot! It looks like I might have something cool lined up for Sunday. If it pans out, you can bet I’ll post in on the blog next week! Take care and happy shooting!