This was a corker of a job! The mandate, visually, was power and action, and the subtext was showing the highly accurate auto-focus system of the new Nikon D850. Long lens approach, using the 200-400mm f4.

It was a lighting challenge to be sure. We were in open shade conditions, under the forest canopy, so, if I lit just the runners, they would be charging out of blackness. Context is important here. So, the first step was to light the forest, which was done largely by deploying an array of Profoto B-4 units in the way back of the photo. All were gelled warm to connect a bit, color-wise, with the very large bonfire we set up in the background of the muddy stream area we chose to work.

The lead light up front was a Profoto B-1, boomed out overhead of the runners, and firing through a gridded beauty dish. In addition, the runners are charging through a gauntlet of SB-5000 Speedlights, on each side of the creek, again gelled, and controlled from camera via the WR-R10 wireless transmitter. The whole setup took about 5-6 hours to create.

It was a bit hectic. Over on our YouTube channel, we launched a BTS video which shows some light placements, etc.

Additionally, we threw up a 12′ silk in the late afternoon light, and commandeered an old climbing wall as a backdrop, and shot portraits of our wonderful endurance athletes in the aftermath of the mud bath they had been running through all day.

Joe McNally Photography
These woman were amazing, resilient, and tough, and obviously were the key to the whole picture.

Joe McNally Photography
Below, Lynn DelMastro, our executive producer, chips in a paragraph with credits and the producer’s perspective on a shoot like this……

This shoot was a blast to cast and fun to produce! Fabulous connection Janine Calise led me to the legendary Joe Ferrini, who set us up at his Tuff Scramblers obstacle course location. The talent consisted of well trained female athletes, all of whom had experience competing in these kinds of races: Candice Peak, Christina Morris, Chrystal Thiebedau, Dani Bryan, Perri Lauren, Sarah Wakeman, and Shelbye Schlange. Our warrior women knocked it out!

More tk…..

Check out more blog posts from Photographer Joe McNally here.

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Joe McNally
Joe McNally is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning photographer whose prolific career includes assignments in nearly 70 countries. McNally is known world-wide as not only one of the top, technically excellent photographers of his generation, but his charming demeanor, confidence and humor make him a sought-after choice from CEO’s to celebrities to commercial and magazine clients alike. He is among the rare breed of photographer who has bridged the world between photojournalism and advertising, amassing an impressive commercial and advertising client list including FedEx, Sony, ESPN, Adidas, Land’s End, General Electric, Epson, MetLife, USAA, New York Stock Exchange, Lehman Brothers, PNC Bank, and the Beijing Cultural Commission. McNally is equally comfortable climbing buildings or lighting a telescope to capturing quiet, sensitive subject matter with confidence in medical surroundings. He has shot numerous cover stories and highly complex features for the National Geographic, LIFE, and Sports Illustrated, where his research skills and unmatched preparedness were highly valued.