Rocking the Sax in Sedona with Bob Coates

Words by Bob Coates
Edited by Owner/Founder Doctor Larry Tiefenbrunn and Eryka Bagwell


“Talk about a challenge! Nice background, continuous LED panel light for blurred movement, with a rear curtain sync flash lighting the subject over the blur. I tapped a local saxophone player and we hit the red rocks at sunset. Needed to employ lot of tools to make the image happen. My Platypod New! Multi Accessory Kit came in super handy for this shoot. The 36” strap, rubber pad and spigot adapter made it easy for me to mount my strobe onto a pole without slipping. The Platypod Arca-compatible Disc is certainly able to mount my camera onto a Platyball, but it can also be used to adapt the Platypod Handle to one of my Goosenecks for the Lume Cube Panel Pro light used for the blurred subject….”

"I placed the Lume Cube LED light in top of two Platypod Goosenecks (which was mounted on a Platypod eXtreme). There was a bit of a tilt to the land so only two legs were deployed on the downhill side to help keep it level."

"A Platypod Disc was used to mount the camera on the Platyball Elite. It takes a little getting used to but the disc makes it easier to mount your camera. When using it on the Platyball, when tilted to the side, I recommend that the channels holding the disc is under the disc."

"The carabiner clip comes in handy to hang your Platypod tripod(s) from your backpack. I will often use a Platypod eXtreme with a Platypod Handle or Platyball Elite as a secondary tripod when out hiking."

"The Platypod NEW! Multi Accessories Kit (available in the Multi Madness Bundle Promo, information below) made it easy to mount my Godox AD 200 on a post. The camera was set to rear curtain sync so the flash fired at the end of the 3.2 second exposure."

"These types of photo captures can be difficult to achieve. There are a few ingredients that it needs. The first, is that it needs to be dark enough for the LED light to allow the subject to blur. That usually means that the background will not have enough light. To capture the stars, you'll need a higher ISO and more time to register within the photo. What to do? I employed a technique commonly used in Astro landscape photography, called a 'Blend'. When capturing a Blend, the camera is locked into position and multiple photos are made each for its respective area over a period of time."

"The motion image of the saxophone player (Chris Counelis) was very challenging. Chris, was a trooper performing the same moves to show motion and ensure we capture the Blend. We tried various timing exposures starting at two seconds and stretching longer. Ultimately, a 3.2 second exposure yielded the winning shot! The sequence was to open the shutter and have Counelis stay in the lower position (with the sax near his feet) for two seconds before bringing the instrument up to the sky. While facing the sky, I had him pose while the flash fired and froze him at the end (with the rear curtain sync). In addition, we tried different colors which we dialed in on the Lume Cube LED panel pro. All in all, Chris performed the movement almost 30 times. I choose the best of these captures to blend into the final photo during post."

"Another image was made for the middle ground including the trees and bushes."

"The final image was made after darkness fell and captured the stars."

"Adobe Photoshop Layers, Masks, Adjustment Layers and Soft Light Blend Mode were engaged. Once all the pieces were in place a final crop, additional color work and dodging and burning were employed to add the finishing touches."

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark III with a 12-100mm f/4.0 lens was used to make the images which were blended into this final photo. Godox AD 200 Flash with Remote trigger.

Bob demonstrates a Multitude of uses for your NEW! Multi Madness purchase, in the blog post above. You can also view more of Bob Coates' work by visiting his website and/or Instagram page.


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