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Since 2006 Dynalite Inc. has been honored to work with New York Mets official team photographer Marc Levine in taking the team portraits from outfields of Shea Stadium to in the last few years at Citi Field.  Portrait sessions are always simple on the surface, but as any photographer can tell you there are many obstacles that need to be addressed and overcome to have a successful image.  If you thought shooting a family of four in a studio over the course of an hour is difficult, shooting a major leauge baseball roster in just a few minutes in center field might not be for novice photographer.

With most studio based portraits photographers are offered the luxury that is control of all the lighting and elements indoors, however in grassy outfield of Citi Field, you are subject to unpredictable winds and the sun, which makes you appreciate professional baseball players fielding each time Dynalite lights the team portrait.  With Mets official team photographer Marc Levine in charge of posing and capturing the image, it fell to Dynalite to balance out these elements to provide a even and controlled lighting environment.

To accomplish this, Dynalite utilized three of our SP1600 power packs, SH2000 studio heads, along with two Rime Lite 71″ Grand Series and a single 12×71 strip bank. The equipment itself might seem minimal, however the obstacles presented by shooting a professional baseball roster and team officials can be many.  And for the past 6 years, our gear has accomplished this difficult feat.

The time of day is always key in outdoor portraiture, especially when utilizing strobes to balance out ambient light with the sun.  Although this is an obstacle, it also is a favor as the stadium background in the portrait is purely ambient light, this allows us to concentrate on our subjects and foreground.  With this many subjects of varying size, complexion, attire including wearing baseball caps, shadow and light must be balanced on our subjects.

This balance is achieved by equalling the power of the sun in the foreground but not to the point of creating harsh shadows on our subjects.  This is achieved by using the Rime Lite Grand 71″ parabolic reflectors which not only distributes soft even lighting including no harsh shadows on the subjects.  With the sun behind and overhead, lighting for the players wearing baseball caps requires additional light modification.

To accomplish evenly lit faces of the players and personnel, we utilized the 12×71 strip bank from Rime Lite positioned low and horizontally between the two 71″ Grands.  With a lower position and the shape of the bank, this head is directly lighting the subjects, and the Grands filling balancing out the light and shadows on the foreground as well as the subjects.

Each SP1600 power pack has a built-in PocketWizard™ MultiMax receiver enabling wireless syncing to Marc Levine’s camera.  Although packed with 1600 watt seconds of power, the SP1600’s were in fact powered down to increase the speed of the flash duration for this image. In the end we were able to shoot at 1/125 ƒ 9.0 at ISO 200 on a Nikon D800.

Below is the finished image provided by Marc Levine that shall be the official 2012 New York Mets team portrait.  It is always an honor and a privilege for Dynalite to be part of what has become an annual tradition.  Special thanks to Michael Corrado for providing the candid images included in this post.


© Marc Levine Photography