Back in August, Arizona-based commercial editorial photographer Chris Hinkle went storm chasing. While hanging off the back of a truck— and shooting cyclists in the midst of downpours over mountainous terrain. Ah, the adventures of photography.
The shoot was for Bicycling Magazine, and Chris’s understated work was a perfect fit for the natural-looking images that the magazine was going for. His ability to shoot in a free-flowing manner while directing talent and shooting in a documentary style was key. The story was a feature about the beauty of riding in the rain so, of course, the weather was the biggest challenge. The late summer months in Arizona are known as “monsoon season,” during which downpours frequent the trails in the early afternoon.
The shoot required that the talent be on-call, as everything was dependent on the rain. Most of the shots were done with ambient light, although Chris’s assistant held a lite-disc when the sun was available, and sometimes used an off-camera flash which was triggered remotely. Chris described the most exciting shoot day, which took place on the journey to the top of a mountain:
It was on my list of locations but since the monsoon rain is so unpredictable on a localized scale, I wasn’t sure when or if it would work at that location, or any for that matter. As luck would have it is started going off with a torrential downpour, including hail at times, while we were loading up only a 1/2 mile away. We arrived at the parking pull-out near the base of the ride up, I quickly jumped out of my vehicle and into the back of the pick up truck, the riders jumped on their bikes, and with my assistant driving the riders followed us up while I shot from the back. The rain continued pouring, debris and rock were rolling off the embankments and across the road, and within minutes there was a nice size stream reminding us which way was down. We made 2 or 3 trips up before a some super loud lighting strikes, within a couple hundred yards, sent us back to lower ground. It worked out great, we got the shots, and the riders had a fun too. And I have to say, hats off to Canon, the 5d mkiii worked like a champ…I kept it semi-covered with a rag but there is not much you can do in a monsoon – everything gets wet, sometimes the rain goes sideways – but the camera and lens didn’t have any problems.