Using flash in sports photography – Downhill
In previous posts we had talked about how to use the flash in various situations and scenes. Today’s article is intended to explain more options about the use of flash and as a visual example I will share a photo of donwhill made yesterday using the strobist technique with two flashes. I combined this lighting technique with a panning made with a relatively slow shutter.
First of all I would like to thank the downhill riders that accompany me in these photo sessions that I usually post on my photography blog. Without them it would be impossible to publish this photo and of course I could not publish other descent with MTB.
Yesterday’s photo report took place very close to the Montserrat Mountain, in the province of Barcelona, Spain. We were in a couple of spots where we have already taken photos before and there were also a couple of new ones, so soon I will expand my portfolio of descent photography .
Let’s go in parts, first, the use of flash in remote mode, strobist , via wireless synchronization. What is the lighting scheme of this photo of donwhill and what equipment was used to get it.
Using the flash outdoors
To make this photo of descent, two portable cobra type flashes synchronized by an emitter and two receivers were used. The emitter mounted on the hot shoe of the body of the reflex camera, while the two receivers were mounted on their corresponding tripod and served as a hot shoe. Two flashes with different orientation were used to illuminate this outdoor photo.
The flashes used for this photo were a Canon 430 EX-II flash from the Canon brand and a Di622 Mark-II from the Japanese manufacturer Nissin. As noted in the previous point, synchronization equipment was used for remote mode shooting.
The synchronization equipment
The synchronization equipment used to communicate the camera with the flashes was a simple phottix equipment that has a very affordable price. In the pack there is a crew of one transmitter and two receivers. The receivers work with triple A type batteries and usually last a long time, regardless of the quality of these, if we have the precaution of disconnecting them when we finish the session.
Placement of the flashes
The two flashes used for the illumination of this photo of Donwhill were placed on the right, I would have chosen to place one of them to the left of the photo but in that part it was impossible since there was a ravine full of weeds and weeds, as well I used another lighting scheme.
The flash used in the right rear part of the rider was located about two meters diagonally to the rider and approximately one and a half meters behind. This flash was the Canon Speedlite 430 EX-II .
Also to the right but this time in the front of the rider was the other flash, a Nissin Di622 Mark-II. This flash was at a diagonal distance of approximately 1 meter and less than one meter in front of the rider.
Light modifiers of the flashes
For the Canon 430 EX-II flash, a simple plastic Sto-Fen diffuser mounted on the camera head was used to expand the diffusion radius of this main light to a certain extent.
For the Nissin Di622 Mark-II flash, the same bounce was used, which the flash incorporates as standard in the flash head.
Potency of the flashes
The Nissin Di622 Mark-II flash only supports increments or decrements of power in intervals of 1/3, it is a pretty basic flash but it works perfectly. The power of this flash regulated it in 2/3 positives.
The flash of Canon 430 EX-II allows several adjustments for its use. This was adjusted to a power of +2 1/3 for the realization of this donwhill photo .
Synchronization of the flashes
The flashes were synchronized at a shutter speed of 1/125 seconds. The main flash was synchronized to the second curtain while the Nissin Di622 Mark-II was synchronized in normal mode.
Equipment used for this photo
For the realization of this photo of downhill I used a camera body Canon Eos range large public together with a Tokina lens 28-80 millimeters F2.8, an equipment of synchronization of economic flashes composed of two emitters and two receivers of the Phottix brand and a Canon Speedlite 430 EX-II flash and another flash of the brand Nissin Di 622 Mark-II.
Adjustments and exif data
To make this photo that accompanies this article about the use of flash via strobist I set the diaphragm aperture in F4,5, the exposure time was 1/125 seconds and I used an ISO speed of 200. The focal distance was 38 millimeters
Brief analysis of the photo
The example photo has a combination of sweep and freeze. The relatively slow shutter speed is seen in the background while the use of the flashes has achieved a freezing of the entire rider and the mountain bike. It is noted the lack of accessories to improve and modify the light of the main flash while the secondary has acted as a filler. The proposal for the improvement of this photo is exactly that, the use of flashes with light modifiers mounted on the heads. As an option a third effect flash in rear position to separate the rider from the background.