Spring Break 2016

October 3rd, 2016

Written by Christian Espinoza


It’s always inspiring to see a group of students challenge themselves, and push their own limits to see what they can really achieve. I am privileged, and honoured that I got to to lead the Kingsize Spring Break course this year. We had an enthusiastic group from all parts of the world, and all ages. Here is our story.


Day 1


The focus for Day 1 was to lay the foundation for the days ahead. We knew we had to get up to speed with the fundamentals – Camera, Grip, Stands, Frames. The students were introduced to the full range, from Matthews Grip to Chimera, and everything in between. We worked to set up, tear down, set up, tear down. We did this enough times, and with enough variation, that it became like second nature. Then we were ready to experiment with lighting. We used constant light sources from ARRI and Kobold, and were able to see the results immediately. We created bounced, reflected, diffused, hard, and absorbed light. We discussed light shaping and saw first hand the effects of each lighting set up. By the end of Day one it was clear that we had a long week ahead of us !!


Day 2

Still life0066

After seeing what light does and how to shape it in different ways to achieve specific results, we began day two by discussing another area of control – Flash Photography. For a lot of people, flash photography is something they shy away from. Our students were no different, especially in studio. We aimed to change that. A good mix of theory and practice was the best way we were able to deliver this. The benefit of seeing the results in studio, with our Broncolor flash equipment, was a big eye opener. In the afternoon the students observed light control across different surfaces, and we were able to engage in discussion about our learnings. Another day of setting up, and tearing down stands, grip and lighting equipment… and the students loved it !!


Day 3


We worked in pairs to photograph each other, as well as photographing still life. Playing with some new light modifiers from Broncolor, Mola, and Chimera made the process very interesting for us all. The practice of shooting tethered was developed more, and further elements like adjusting the direction, height, positioning of the light, were all refined as well. This was also the start of my one on one sessions, where I got to know the students and what their passions were, what they wanted to create, and what were the issues they faced (if any). On Day three, the intensity ramped up, and despite all of our new learnings (or perhaps, as a result thereof!) we realised that we had only scratched the surface and there was so much more to go…


Day 4


If you had two days in studio to create anything you wanted, what would you come up with? Each student had to answer that for themselves. For some, this was straightforward, but for others it was a hard challenge. We had a mixed bag, some students had props, some brought their friends, their plants, and for one student it was his brothers Indian Cruiser motorcycle! No matter what the subject matter, we had a chance to experiment, make mistakes, learn, and share the information with each other. We could walk from one studio to the next and step into another stage, another world which we created. The students really brought life to the studios and managed to create some stunning work.


Day 5


Wasting no time, we had our final morning catchup and went straight to work. This day would prove to be the most challenging. We had a model from Clyne in the afternoon, which gave us a chance to practice something new to most of us… direction. It’s one thing to practice light shaping and camera control… but a whole other ball game when you have to direct someone in front of your lens. This brought a range of emotions, however, as with the entire course.. we were there to learn from every experience.


Spring Break left us all wanting more. As I had mentioned at the beginning of the course, by the end of the five days, we would not walk away as experts. Rather, we would walk away with a solid foundation and the ability to keep on learning. Whether you’re a hobbyist, or starting your commercial photography career, this course would be a step in the right direction. We are holding a Summer School course in 2017, we would love to see you there.

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