I was asked to photograph Dr. John Hellemans within what felt like minutes of landing in Kona, Hawaii in 2013. He is a world class coach as well as athlete. Born in Holland, he has spent most of his adult life in New Zealand training top endurance athletes. His humble quiet nature betrays his impact and importance in the sport of Triathlon. I was shooting uber coach Siri Lindley (Rinny Carfrae, Rebekah Keat, Rafael Goncalves, etc) during the same shoot and she was beside herself having the opportunity to meet Dr. Hellemans.
I decided to use the beautiful available light on the west coast of the Big Island. The plan was to shoot at sunset for this reason. The portrait above was all natural light shot with a 70-200mm 2.8 lens at 155mm and f/3.2. I found a textured background facing the setting sun and used no modifiers. I love the shallow depth of field and prefer the intensity and personality of black & white over color images for portraiture.
We quickly moved from traditional portraits to shooting Dr. Hellemans with his bike on the back road of the Energy Lab. I found a high point for John to stand and put my belly on the pavement for the low, long perspective. This too was available light.
And we finished with a rushed sunset shot with major key shifting to keep John from becoming backlit but maintaining the density of the sky. I used a White Lightening 1600 head with the compact Chimera 22" portable beauty dish. This image ran as a full spread in the magazine.
Per the usual, I didn't have time to plan the shoot or location scout beforehand. All my decisions were made on the fly without an assistant. It's functioning in panic mode (remember I was concurrently photographing Siri Lindley). Any mistakes I made I had to live with. I have no more than eight frames of every look I shot which is not power-in-numbers. My only saving grace is that I run through a thousand scenarios in my head before the shoot. If you have any questions about how or why I do the things I do, give me a shout!
On another note these images are directly out of Lightroom with no additional retouching. Retouching has become a dirty word but that is due to a lack of understanding. Images have always been perfected since the beginning of the art form. If I had time to retouch these before posting, I would. But I didn't. I'm lazy.