Walk in the Park with Yolanda

I like walks in the park. I really do. And shoots in the park are wonderful too. But walks in the park are not always a walk in the park, figuratively speaking. Shoots in the parks can be grueling. Specially with gear and going uphill and suddenly the walk in the park becomes a hike in the park. Wait, I have to catch my breath…

The Location

Codornices Park in Berkeley

The Model

The stylish and wonderful @yolandainthecity

The Shoot

I shot at this place once before and I knew I wanted to revisit it. It’s right across the street from the more-popular Rose Garden but I very much prefer this place. The Rose Garden looks okay from pictures I’ve seen but between the the times of the day and time of the year I’ve been in the area it never quite piqued my interest. Codornices park, on the other hand, I feel is more up my alley due to the look and variety.

I wanted to shoot with Yolanda because, well, it’s self-explanatory. Her styling is great and while current, is not cliché. Adding to that, she’s extremely pleasant and a joy to work with. So we ended up arranging for a nice, Sunday morning.

I shot these with a 600w/s strobe with soft box on one side and a bunch of speedlites on an S bracket on the other. One light would have been enough but having more lights and being able to use them at less power means that you can wait less in-between shots. Flashes have to recycle after every shot and even though the difference is between is only a few seconds, it’s just nice to have the option to wait less between shots.

We started by some steps not far off from the park. I think there’s a lot you can do with steps and although we stuck to standing shots, it’s nice to have the option to do sit or use the handrail as a prop. Before moving to a different location at the park we shot by the gravel trail since the neutral floor fit in better with the whitepants.

For the second look, we shot by a tree stump and the reason I wanted to shoot there is so that the outfit wasn’t too matchy with the background. It still matched a bit. And I did do matchy right after because I do like it, so I did it. I shot it similarly to the first look but with a little more flash power on the stump shots so that could use a faster shutter speed and not have the background too bright. It was still pretty bright, but not as much as it would have been without flash.

The third look is where things really got fun. After struggling to lug my gear up a slightly muddy hill, we got to our last location. This was an open location where there was no shade. It was almost noon at this point and then sun was on full blast.

My favorite thing to do is to overpower the sun with flash. It’s definitely my favorite look and it’s easy to do, provided you have enough flash power. I put my lights on as close as I could place them without them being on the shot, I set them to full power, and I setup my camera settings accordingly. There are still shadows left, but less of them and it creates a sort or unrealistic look, which I like.

We ended up spending a bit of time here and experimenting with the location. It was a fun shoot and I really enjoyed shooting and working on these shots.

Check out the shots and behind-the-scenes video below.

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