Using the flash to freeze the image

Using the flash to freeze the imageUso del flash para congelar la imagen

Following the line of content that I addressed in other articles of this blog today I intend to explain how to use the flash to freeze the image effectively and through a photo of descent. I have used this technique for other types of photos but … If you are 30% of the users who return to my blog and have already read other articles before, you will know that sports photography is one of my specialties.

In the photo that accompanies the article I made an extreme panning , since I like to note the speed of, (in this case), the kamikaze downhill rider that appears more times in my blog. From here I thank Andreu Gonzalez for his courage at the time of doing the crazy trialeras.

In this photo there is a co-star who accompanies Andreu in the trialera, and far from being one of the two flashes used to freeze this image, is the time of exposure . This shutter speed has allowed me to draw the lines of the sweep and some have been marked with lighting permission (which could have blurred them).

Let’s go to dismantle the image and all the data that the exif of this descent photo show, together with the information that I memorized to expose it in my photography blog.


Why partially freeze and not everything?

Because that was precisely the effect he was pursuing at the time of taking the picture. I wanted to draw the lines that are seen diagonally to show the sweep and speed of the rider.


What part has been focused?

The whole part of the photo that allowed me depth of field has been focused, I recommend you follow the link if you want to know all the factors that influence.

The point of autofocus I aimed at the eyes of the rider, (area that seemed more relevant to me), and has remained focused that particular part and the line of the wheel of the downhill bike closest to the fork.


Why one area has been frozen and another with a wake of light?

Because I used a flash with second curtain synchronization as the main light source that produced the wake of light while the flash used as a filler has frozen the parts of the photo where the influence of this flash had more power. The dust raised by the rider in his descent will always be frozen completely due to the influence of the lighting and because light bounces off. This is especially appreciated if we had smoke instead of dust.


And the diagonal sweep?

The sweep of this photo of descent is diagonal because I find the sweeps achieved with this directionality much more aesthetic and dynamic, I also think the curved sweeps. Another reason why the sweep is diagonal is by the inertia of the movement of waist, hands and head when following the rider. Also by the slope, it is the natural path.


Equipment used for this photo of descent

To make this photo of descent I used a SLR camera body of the brand Canon range great public together with a target of the Tokina brand of 28-80 mm F2.8 SD. Together with the camera and the lens I used 2 tripods for the fastening and placement of the flashes, an economic synchronization device of the Phottix brand that consisted of an emitter mounted on the hot shoe of the camera and two receivers that served as a hot shoe Hot flashes used for lighting. The flashes used were a Canon Speedlite 430 EX-II and a flash of the brand Nissin Di622 Mark-II.


Arrangement and power of the flashes

The flash on the right and back of the rider was placed at a diagonal distance of 2 meters and a half, its regulation was set to +1 2/3 and I used a simple Sto-Fen type diffuser. The head was oriented at an angle of 45 degrees with respect to the vertical of the photo and was located in a rear position with respect to the rider of an approximate meter and a half. It was synchronized to the second curtain at a shutter speed of 1/50 second.

The second flash, Nissin Di622 was used as a filler and was on the right and at a diagonal distance of about one and a half meters. I regulated the power in 2/3, this flash only allows adjustments in intervals of 1/3 of power, and I bounced it towards the rider by means of a tilting of the head of 60 degrees with respect to the horizontal of the photo using only the rebound that incorporates the flash itself. Its position with respect to the line where the rider was was approximately one meter in front and the synchronization went to the first curtain with a shutter speed of 1/50 seconds.

What do the exif data say?

The exif data reveals that I adjusted a diaphragm aperture of F4.5, an exposure time of 1/50 seconds and an ISO speed of 100. The focal length was 51 millimeters and the scene mode was custom configured.


Conclusion about this partial freezing

The use of both flashes at a slow shutter speed and the first and second curtain sync have created different freezing effects. As is the total freezing in the parts pointed to by the flash synchronized to the first curtain (Nissin Di622 Mark-II) and the wake effect caused by the main flash (Canon 430 EX-II). The power of the flashes has also influenced the amount of frozen image and this issue was taken into account when taking the photo to achieve precisely these effects that are seen in the photo.

The determination when adjusting the point of sharpness or maximum focus of this photo of descent helped me to get the point (practically exact) where to make target, which for me is the most important point of the photo as it shows the expression of the rider at the time of rectifying the trajectory of descent at the most critical point of the trialera (moment which took the picture), knowing Andreu I know what that gesture means on his face and is what I most wanted to get.


Points of improvement in this photo

A few, of which some are not possible due to equipment limitations or due to terrain limitations. To give an example, in the left part it would have been great to have a third light source or to place the light that I used as a bounce (even if I had modified the settings and the frozen area had changed direction). However it is impossible since that area is a ravine and to mount a flash I need a crane or climb a tree.

There are some more but this time I will leave them in suspension points in case you want to make a criticism about it.

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