Don Kates has been photographing high end custom motorcycles and cars for over 20 years. “I started out just photographing local rides, as I’m a rider myself. But I’ve really been most excited about the stuff that I’ve been able to shoot digitally over the last 10 years.” With multiple studios across the country, Don and his wife Deborah (a wedding/portrait photographer who also shoots Hasselblad) have become the recognized team for many major motorcycle and automobile enthusiast publications, including Baggers Magazine, Road Iron, Trucking’ Magazine, H.O.G. Magazine, and many more.
Hasselblad cameras and broncolor lighting equipment allow Don to capture the highest quality imagery, setting him apart from the competition. Photographing motorcycles presents a particular challenge. “Because motorcycles have so many exposed contours and reflective surfaces, creating a pleasing, well lit image is a hard thing to master,” notes Don.
To push the envelope further, Don often opts to shoot on-location outdoors. For this, Don choses the broncolor Move 1200L pack system. “I need to be able to pump a full 1200 watt-seconds out of a single head and no other pack offers that power. Using a strip bank, I’m able to create a beautiful highlight in a metallic part or pipe.” The combination of the output power of the Move 1200L and Hasselblad HC lenses’ leaf shutter 1/800s sync speeds allows Kates to control the light on location completely.
“Shooting on location, I often use a longer lens and move further away from the light, so I just love the RFS triggering system…I’ve never had a misfire.” said Don. By taking advantage of the RFS receiver built into the Move 1200L pack, he is able to fully control the power of the pack from up to 650 feet away.
In the studio and on location, Don is using the Hasselblad H4D-50 and H5D-50C cameras. “Many of publications demand really high resolution and detail, and you can’t beat what I get from my Hasselblad’s. Every time I open a file, I can’t believe how clean it is and how much detail is there.”High quality lenses ensure that the images Don captures are always the best possible, and with Hasselblad’s latest digital back, his 50C can really take full advantage of his optics. “Sometimes on location, you really just need to push the image and the CMOS sensor has been a godsend. It’s performance at high ISO’s is absolutely wonderful.”
Thanks to Don for sharing his great images, make sure to visit his site at the link here: www.shootersimages.com