This is Scott. He’s a regular dude, but for his severely underdeveloped fear of heights and an unusual hobby. Scott strings line across high mountain chasms and walks across. This is called high-lining. Even his mom thinks he’s crazy. That’s what everyone thinks. But we knew the beauty of these places he goes, and wanted to capture the sense of freedom and risk and exposure he feels out there. Problem is, mountain light is variable – clouds one second, burning sunlight the next – so most images show him backlit with blown out backgrounds. Plus, conventional lights are too heavy to carry long distances on rough trails, and their batteries and cords mean they can’t be moved quickly when light conditions change.
With the Profoto B1 AirTTL, our light was now portable. We hiked it in two miles, to an elevation of 9,500 feet in a place called Jurassic Park, just outside Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. We set the highline and waited for the 60-mph wind to die down. Meanwhile, we turned the Profoto B1 AirTTL and the Nikon D810 on Scott to shoot his portrait. Then we took our moment: Scott walked out, nothing but 200 feet of air and a two-inch-thick line beneath him. One of our two-man photo team maneuvered into position near the edge to overcome the natural sidelight – into a place we would never dream of placing a conventional light – and lit Scott perfectly. As the sun came and went, our the light man was able to quickly adapt his position and prolong the shoot. The result, this stunner: Scott in the full glory of high-mountain exposure with Lily lake shimmering in the background and enough texture on the rock to tell its granite.
Scott's mom may think he's crazy, but now she can see what he loves about walking the highline.