Using the flash in sports photography – BMX – Photography blog

Using the flash in sports photography – BMX

In previous articles we have talked about the use of flash in different situations. Today we are going to see how we can use the flash in remote mode, what is known as strobist, in sports photography. In particular we will go into detail with a BMX photo.

Before going into detail I would like to point out the lighting difficulties of the example photo. As you can see the light was complicated in the spot of this BMX session and, although the sky was spectacular, the area where the rider performed the trick was practically in the dark. The solution was to make use of the flash in this BMX photo .

And now, considering that we only have one flash and we can use it in remote mode, we will analyze in broad strokes the lighting and the use of this flash in this sporty BMX photo.


Placement and direction of the flash

If we look especially at the light that illuminates the rider we will know to determine exactly where the flash that was used for this BMX photo was placed.

Let’s go into details. The flash light is ascending which determines that the flash was located in a lower position than the protagonist of this sport photo. On the other hand you can see that the flash flash comes from the right, so we see that the flash was used from the side. On the other hand we see some direct directionality of the flash, this can be seen in the less illuminated part of the face of the rider of this photo.

What he intended with the previous paragraph is to understand the placement and directionality of the flash and therefore justicaba each point mentioned. The exact details of the placement of the flash and other settings you will find at the end of the article in the section where I explain the exif data of the photo, among other things.


Synchronization of the flash in remote mode

The flash of this BMX photo was synchronized in remote mode and at a shooting speed of 1/125 seconds. The speed of synchronization was relatively slow since it is about sports photography. The flash was mounted on a tripod on a simple remote firing receiver of the Phottix brand and on the camera the emitter of the synchronizer was mounted.


Exact placement of the flash

A few paragraphs above I tried to explain in a relative way and based on the lighting of the rider the placement of the flash. To finish with this point what I’m going to do now is explain the exact lighting scheme that I used with that single flash synchronized in remote mode.

The flash was used mounted on a tripod and at a height of less than one meter, approximately 80 centimeters from the ground on which the rider performed this BMX trick. It was placed half a meter in front of the vertical rider and a meter and a half to the right of it.

If we want to enter approximate angulations about the directionality of the flash we will have the following. 45 degrees in ascending direction and 15 degrees approximated frontally.

The angulation of the natural light of the scene can be seen without me having to detail it since the sun gives us clues of its location.


Equipment used for the example BMX photo

For the example photo of this article entitled “Using the flash in sports photography – BMX” I used a camera body of Canon brand great public range together with a Tokina lens 28-80 millimeters F2.8 SD. A flash of the brand Canon model Speedlite 430 EX-II mounted on a lightweight aluminum tripod and an economic synchronization device Phottix brand that consisted of an emitter (mounted on the camera’s shoe) and a receiver, which made the hot flash shoe times and also synchronized this with the main team.

Custom settings and settings for the photo

The measurement of the scene I configured in spot mode, I used a focal point to point to the area closest to the face of the rider. Having more focus points ensures a more precise approach. Diaphragm aperture regulated with an aperture of F11, shutter speed adjusted to 1/125 seconds and power of the flash set to +2 1/3 without diffuser and pointing with the head at an inclination of 60 degrees with respect to the horizontal of the photo .

Subsequently an improvement of focus and contrast has been made in the clouds and the sky in post edition. It is recommended to see this photo in full size, with the lightbox.


How to improve this photo?

To improve this picture it becomes clear that we needed another flash in a position opposite to the flash used at the time. That second flash would have been advisable to use it in the left side of the image, without angulation with respect to the front of the rider and in the same way in ascending trajectory. This would have filled the darkest area of ​​the rider with light. However, my pretension with this and other articles is to use the minimum equipment for this type of photography.

And so far my article today entitled “Using the flash in sports photography – BMX” , put a couple of candles if after reading this you do not clarify or write a comment as an alternative …

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