Faces: Meadows Marathon 20100
neil posted in Photos, Sports, 5Dmk2 on March 9th, 2010
The trouble with the kitchen sink0
neil posted in Photos, Neil, Sports on February 19th, 2009
I contacted Edinburgh University Ladies Basketball team with a view to photographing one of their upcoming games. Basketball has always been one of my favourite sports to shoot and the one that has benefitted most from getting familiar with remote flash techniques. The last time I shot basketball I had a single flash and had to make compromises accordingly. I thought that now I had a bigger aresenal, it would be fun to go back and shoot it the way I’d always wanted to.
This meant hauling the “kitchen sink” loadout of four strobes, stands, batteries and two cameras to the game, setting them up and deciding how I would shoot the game. As I had four strobes and two cameras, I decided to try to shoot both ends of the game. I set up two strobes in a left right front lit combination to create dependable lighting at the other end of the arena. I would shoot that end with the 70-200mm and extender from under the key. On the near end I wanted to get a bit more artistic and had one side light and one long throw backlight from the halfwayline. This would let me shape they players without popping flashes in their faces and I would use the ambient as fill.
This did’nt work. The 5D’s autofocus struggled in the dimly lit gym through the teleconverter and long lens and a 16-35mm was too wide to cover the basket effectively. I eventually swapped to using the 1D on the 70-200mm and forgetting about the other end of the court. A spectator approached me in a timeout and informed me that one of my flashes had been knocked over in the warm-up and had lost its batteries and with all the equipment faff… I was missing pictures. If I had been shooting with a single flash and camera, there would have been no fiddling and I could have diagnosed problems faster. This just goes to show that the more equipment you have, the harder you have to work.
After halftime I decided to nail the near end of the arena with good reliable light and use the 1D’s splendiferous autofocus to pull out peak action shots. I used the same side light and long throw back light, but with another strobe high in the balcony above the camera for fill. This let me get away from the horrid hall lights altogether, immediately producing good images and letting me concentrate on capturing moments. The problem was, with the side and backlight, I had to be very careful of what angles I used to shoot the game, for every flash on the side line there is a cone you can’t shoot into without flare. Next time I’ll think a little flexibility into my setup but keep it simple. Lesson learned.
neil posted in Photos, Neil, Sports on August 3rd, 2008
Tournament pictures up as soon as photobox wakes back up. They’ll be up at:
A pleasing little flare and other tricks0
neil posted in Photos, Neil, Sports on March 10th, 2008
Table tennis and mud0
neil posted in Photos, Neil, Sports on February 28th, 2008
My round trip of sports union clubs happened on the SU presidents own this week. I was rewarded with the enthusiasm of two players (including the aforementioned president) who were happy to play the same shot again and again. Always a little quicker than my flash would recycle! I was using ceiling bounce on manual mode to trigger a SB800 slave. I used the slave to backlight and highlight while my bounce flash filled the world with soft but dull light. It did the job but revealled far too much of a rather dull background.
Working with lighting has changed how I view a “perfect” exposure and made me think more dramatically about my use of light. Even with available light I’m interested in pushing the boundaries a bit, unless its for news print. News print has the unfortunate consequence of printing shadows and darker sections like mud. Have a look at David Alan Harvey’s images sometime, indisputably good but their low key low light charm would be lost entirely if printed on newspaper. One thing I have learned to do is think about the medium of publication as I’m shooting. This does go against the advice “shoot only for yourself” that aims to prevent a “rut” developing, but it is still something to take into consideration. My current strategy is to shoot “bankers” meaning “in the bank” images before moving on to the fun stuff. I think it was Chris Johns who said “If every single one of your images is perfectly in focus and perfectly exposed, you’re not pushing yourself”. Meantime, enjoy the shots here.
My weekly sports post, more Busa knockouts action0
neil posted in Neil, Sports on February 20th, 2008
If at first you don’t succeed…0
neil posted in Photos, Neil, Sports on February 10th, 2008
Shooting the Scottish Universities league qualifier, Edinburgh vs St Andrews. First half the Sports Union’s video camera was taped to the top of my 70-200mm. Second half was trained tight on Edinburgh goalie. The aim was to merge stills and video so that the video would roll but freeze to the image I made of the keeper in action. A Canon strobe was snooted and placed left of the goal to cross light the water, set to over expose one stop.
I did’nt QUITE get it. It should be good enough for a proof of concept though. More here.