The White Cliffs of Dover – when speedlites / speedlights are not quite enough

The posts in the next few weeks will be in praise of the humble speedlite / speedlight as they continue to be an essential part of my daily editorial and commercial photography kit. Just a quick post though about when you need to overpower the sun with something a bit stronger.

Recently I was hanging off a step ladder on top of the White Cliffs of Dover taking some shots for the National Trust, celebrating the successful end to a campaign to purchase a section of the cliffs.  I have always been, and continue to be a big fan of underexposing the ambient / background light to create a bit of contrast and depth. So, the shots below the sun (coming from the direction of the sea) became a fill light and I used a single 500W Bowens head (with battery pack) with a reflector dish at full power, camera left to create a kicker. Now although the light direction appear a bit contradictory, I had to bring down the exposure on those huge white cliffs

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