Nikon has teamed up with sports photographer Tom Miles and world champion martial artist Tom "Fire Kid" Duquesnoy for its new #MomentOfImpact campaign – which largely involves epic action photos of the latter smashing watermelons, cakes, and pumpkins. Check out the intense photo series here, and learn more about how it was lit and executed.
The purpose of these images is to showcase the new D500, which Nikon boast has "rapid processing speed and high ISO capabilities." Photographer Tom Miles reveals that the brief was to illustrate "how fast, powerful and robust [the D500] was." Enter two-division BAMMA world champion mixed martial artist Tom "Fire Kid" Duquesnoy and we have on our hands an exciting project.
Frankly, give me any excuse to smash stuff up and make a mess, and I’ll take it, but the shoot did present a few technical challenges. The main challenge of course, was freezing the moment of impact precisely and sharply, not just catching it in the first place.
Miles admits that the decision to shoot indoors was based on being able to control the lighting; shooting at 10 frames per second with a high shutter speed and the camera’s burst mode, he knew he needed to light Duquesnoy adequately. He used an astonishing 11 different Nikon flashguns – consisting of SB5000s, SB900s, SB800s, and SB80DXs, all triggered via SU-4 mode. So why the SU-4?
Whilst Nikon flashes have the very clever CLS system that allows remote TTL lighting, as well as full control over power output, it only works on the newer flashguns, so that rules out my older SB80s. I’ve had triggering issues with it in the past as well, as the sensors really need a nice clear line of sight to the triggering flash to work properly – you can’t really hide them behind things and expect them to work.
Despite being armed with much "ammo" (aka many cakes and watermelons), most of the shots were nailed on the first take. Most shots went to plan, except for a 20KG bag of flour rigged to an overhead gantry, which conveniently collapsed a few seconds after the impact of Duquesnoy's punch. As well as the flour, the team decided on smashing up a watermelon, ice sheets, a carton of juice, pumpkin, eggs and cake. Sounds like fun, if you ask me.