At Rollei, we like to subject new products to extreme tests. Functional is not enough, they should be really durable. And the location for testing our new studio flashes HS Freeze 6sand4s should be found quickly: an outdoor photo shoot in the desert of Dubai.
It turned out almost as quickly that our flashes had no problem with the weather conditions. It was more of a challenge for the team.
You don't just do a shoot in the desert. It requires extremely good preparation, especially as far as the water supply is concerned. Not only cool, but also sugary drinks should be available, because the body quickly reaches its limits and then urgently needs the energy from sugar..
Our guide therefore had a whole cool box with drinks with him. A specialist is worth its weight in gold at this point and is even essential for survival. Because in Dubai, you need someone with a license to even drive into the desert. You need a license because venturing into this sometimes unforgiving part of nature can be potentially life-threatening. Those who are lost are often doomed to die..
Why you let air out of your tires in the desert
You should start shooting early in the morning so that the sun's light is not too aggressive.
Before we went into the desert, we stopped at a gas station to let the air out of the tires. Deflating increases the surface area with which the tire moves on the sand. If you don't do that, you'll quickly dig yourself into the sand and then have a serious problem. In the desert, our driver then approached the dunes diagonally and down again on the other side.
There were five people on the set and we had a camera, two flash heads, our new ones, with usHS Freeze 6s and4s as well as varioussoft boxes. On site, we decided in which direction the photographer would take the photo, where the sun would come from and where the model would have to stand.
Tip: When all this is clear, nobody is allowed to go there anymore, so that there are no traces in the sand and the picture is clean.
Flashing in strong sunlight Yes!!
One could now ask why one should take pictures with flash in such strong, natural light.
The answer is very simple: When the sun hits the model from behind, it casts a strong shadow that you want to balance out in the photo. Of course, lightning bolts have to be about enough for that (wireless) have power.
All in all, the ideal test environment for our new devices, which have an output of up to 600 watt seconds (6s) feature. Until we had everything set up, the model stayed in the car so that the work wouldn't be too strenuous for her.
During the shoot she was sometimes barefoot, which quickly becomes tedious because the sand is very hot.
It is best to work with closed shoes. Sweat can also become a problem if the make-up runs.
For all these reasons, a photo shoot should not take up much time.
Such a situation can become a real problem for normal flashes without dust protection. Not only when the flash including the light shaper falls over, but also when dust is blown up in the desert by the wind. That's why our new flashes are protected against dust.
We have the following trick so that they don't fall over anyway: Open the soft boxes at the back so that the wind can blow through without knocking over the light shapers. Of course you can also bury the box, but sometimes that's not enough. For the light result in the final photo, the opening does not make a big difference.
Although the desert seems so barren and empty, it has the potential to be absolutely surprising. Because after crossing two dunes, we suddenly discovered a large tree, which in itself seemed very strange.
According to the motto: „Actually there is nothing here, but we have a huge tree with green leaves on offer.“
A fantastic background for our outdoor photo shoot, which luckily also gave us some shade, but at that time (around 8.30 a.m.) it was already very, very hot with 40 degrees Celsius..
Encounter with the camel sitter
And then we had another happy surprise. Because behind the next dune there were more than 80 camels, completely unnoticed by us, who were just invisible to us because of the dune.n.
The reason why they were there: camels need a lot of exercise, so there was also a keeper who took them for a walk once a day.
So our driver immediately went to the owner, gave him drinks and a little money, so that we got excellent motives for the perfect photos in the desert of Dubai with the camels.
A truly unforgettable photo shoot.