This is the poster used to advertise this year's edition of Varsity, a series of sport events in which the University of Kent and the Canterbury Christ Church University compete against each other. The original idea for the poster was to have students from both universities facing each other in two rows which through perspective would have formed something like this: ><. However the Christchurch students left before I arrived; I've been told they took their photo in five minutes, so they either have a photographer who can work way faster than me or, well... I haven't been able to find their photo, the Christchurch Varsity page hasn't been updated since last year and still shows David Cater's 2008 poster.
Change of plans then, I had the Kent students stand back to back in a V formation in front of Westgate (part of the medieval defence system that spans around the city centre), facing east towards Christchurch. Most sports gear is easily distingushable, the only trouble I had was with trampolining, a sport which distinguishes itself through jumps and figures, none of which could easily have been implemented in this picture without breaking the symmetry. So I had the trampolining representative on the right pull one knee up which she said was similar to one of their figures.
I borrowed a Canon 5DMkII with a 24-70 lens for this shot; it was good fun to work with that combination. I metered for the ambient and dropped it about a stop and a half to make high street a bit darker, then I lit the students with four speedlites. I only had three light stands available, so Cai Robbins, the Kent Unions sports sabbatical stood in as voice activated lightstand. You can see her in the original photo. The one thing that still annoys me in this photo is that I couldn't get the lights high enough, as a result of which the light which was in the front camera left cast a shadow onto the cricket player's cheek.
Post processing consisted of cleaning up the chewing gum from the street, removing pedestrians and the lightstands and some cables which were visible in the sky. I dodged and burned the players to give them a bit more edge. With a fifth light behind and in the middle of the players the whole thing would have looked much better, giving them a rim light on the inside to set them off against the background. Time to buy more flashguns, I guess :)
Teams f.l.t.r: Netball, Tennis, Women's Football, Basketball, Women's Rugby (2x), Cricket, Women's Hockey, Trampolining, Lacrosse.