A quick post for what was a fairly quick shoot. I briefly caught up with Dre Bennett on Sunday arvo for the first time this season. But we came away with a couple of nice little shots from the short time he spent together. This being one of them. As you can probably tell from the image below, snow conditions are still building, and the fog was rather heavy, so here's looking forward to more and better ski action images as the season advances.
It's been a while since I've made a blog post. In that time I've been shooting quite a bit. With a variety of clients and subjects. But one sporting category that's stood out as something fresh for me of late has been a few shoots with some roadies. Last week I was on a shoot for Bike Buller, updating their library with some fresh road bike shots. And a few weeks before that I got out of the studio for a few hours with Brodie Chapman and Nick Kenyon as the sun was setting on Port Melbourne. In the end finishing up with a couple of very nice roadie portraits.
Another road cycling portraits making the most of my 4000w/s stobes and Hi-sync to both knock down the direct setting sun, and get some separation from the BG with soft focus. This shot was a test for my modified Nikon D810. I'd Just picked it up from Camera Clinic the day before and was super stoked to get it out side for a test shoot. The modification eliminates the need for pocket wizards or Elinchrom Skyport Plus HS transceivers to achieve synchronization of the flash at high shutter speeds. The slight tweak on the flash timing is done in camera, thanks to the custom modification done by Wayne at Camera Clinic. I still use the Elinchrom Skyport Plus HS trigger and receivers for firing the strobes wirelessly, but in Speed mode, rather than in normal mode, so as to improve their timing accuracy. It's subtle, but with this modified camera, I'm achieving better and more repeatable high speed flash sync results than with any other system I've tried before. And trust me I've tried a lot of them. Oh, and this image is of road racer and enduro rider, Brodie Chapman. Though you wouldn't know by this shot, she can actually descend on a trail or enduro bike faster than many blokes.
A model rider, Nick Kenyon turned on the performance exactly when needed to get the shot. Again. testing the Modified Nikon D810. Thanks to Wayne at Camera Clinic for creating such a unique Frankenstein beast for me.
The January holiday period is over and it's back to Melbourne for me. Well at least for the week days for the next few months. Back to the real world and focusing on shooting things other than just bikes. But here's a few shots from my month on the mountain. I did some updating of summer imagery for the Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management board, some apartment interiors for Buller Holidays, and also captured a few of the pinners at the Victorian Downhill series event held at Buller.
It's been several years since I've shot any Beach Volleyball. I think the last time was probably in about 2006, when I was shooting a number of the QBVA comps for the Beach Volleyball Queensland. So I was a little worried about getting the timing right. Because I know just how fast these guys move. Especially when they are serving or spiking. It's vital that the ball is in shot, in order to successfully tell the story that it's beach volleyball. Other wise it just ends up a shot of someone jumping on the beach. It needs the ball in frame to give it context. And, ensuring that the ball is in shot is easier said than done. It comes down to timing and feeling the rhythm of the athlete. So that the shutter is firing at the same split second as the impact of the the players hand on the ball.
This assignment was about creating a package of images for an athlete profile with a young and upcoming Beach Volleyball player named Patrick Tang. who turned out to be fantastic talent, and an awesome bloke. I had planned to get a variety of different shots including some portraits, and some actions moments. Talking about action and speed, one needs to use a fairly hefty shutter speed to avoid motion blur. Also, I had a vision for a highly stylized look across all of the images in the set. So this presented the perfect opportunity to pull out the big guns. ie, my secret hi-sync superhero flash pack. (can't give away the secret just yet) . I did the entire shoot at 1/8000th of a second shutter speed. and most of the time was using a shooting stop of around T2.8 to T4. I think for one set up I shot at T5.6, just get get a touch more depth of focus. Occasionally adjusting the ISO to suit the lighting design. The ISO fluctuated no more than from 100 to 400 iso through out the shoot. .
The shot above of Pat saving a line ball, was lit almost entirely with the flash stobes. The dark area of light at the top of the frame is full sun on a clear day.
The high shutter speed ensured that the action was totally frozen, and my secret weapon flash strobes worked flawlessly with the Elinchrom HS Plus to allow me to design the stylised lighting as I wished, without having to think about over exposed areas or work arounds. At the end of the day, I was pretty happy with the results. you could say, we smashed it. haha
The picture says it all. What more is there to say.
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1/8000th of a second using Hi-sync. Not using HSS, or using fast flash duration heads at X-Sync. But a perfectly consistent un-graduated exposure all the way across the shutters path at 1/8000th of a second. To those who aren't photographers, you're probably saying, "Well Whoop-de-doo. What ever that means." But if you're a photographer, and you know anything about Hi-sync or Hyper sync, I bet you're wondering, "Well how do you get such a consistent exposure right across the shutter path?" I know I was asking that question myself for more than the last 3 years. Ever since I picked up a Pair of Pocket wizard TT5's and wirelessly connected my Nikon to my Ranger RX pack with the S head. But still for more than 3 years i struggled with some serious banding or hot graduation on the lower quarter to third of the frame. Especially at higher shutter speeds. A year or so later the purchase of a Quadra pack with S heads reduced the degree of variation in the exposure across the graduation. And later still, adding a HS specific ELB head improved that again. But I was still not getting even exposures across the frame. It always meant a work around. No matter what I was shooting.
Shooting ski action or mountain biking I could sometimes control where the light fell in the frame and prevent it from spilling in to or falling on elements within the frame that were in that hot band. Or sometimes even doing the opposite. Painting the flash light only in to the hot band, by turning the camera upside down and letting the skier or athlete be the only object in that part of the sky that could possibly reflect any of the light emitted from the flash head. But, these are all work arounds. Until now. I now have assembled a special combination of flash heads and packs that give perfect even exposure of flash light right across the frame, at speeds right up to 1/8000th of a second. This changes the game altogether. I can mix flash light with full sun ambient any where i want in to the frame without having to compromise the composition or my lighting.
For those of you who don't believe my claims, or doubt that It's possible to get even flash exposure across the frame at 1/8000th. Go ahead, down load this image and check the metadata. I understand, it doesn't prove that I haven't graded out the graduation at the bottom, but you'll have to believe me. That is, until I go and shoot a test like this out side with a mix of ambient and flash, with elements that are lit by sun on one side and flash on the other, that advance from the background to the foreground, and also extend all the way up the frame crossing right across through the shutter path. That stuff can't be corrected in post. Short of hours of fastidious retouching. Depending on the amount of detail in the shot. This is the advantage of the flash pack and head combinations that I have assembled. I can now let my imagination run wild with putting flash lighting any where i want in the frame, right up to 1/8000th of a Sec, with no limitations. I mean none. Bring it on.
Oh, and did i mention power? With these head/pack combos. of which i have three. I can achieve T22 at 1/8000th shutter speed with 200 ISO with just one of these lights positioned at 20 feet from the subject using a maxi light reflector. That's crazy. Let me give you an example of how crazy that is. This shot below of the sun was shot at 1/8000th of a second, T22, at 200ISO. Just to give you some reference.
I've done some proof of concept tests, and that's all they are. Just proof of the ability to shoot at high shutter speeds with fast moving subjects like water splash and light the subject, product, or splash with large flash strobes from a practical distance. These are not speed lights using HSS. No, these are elinchrom strobes. So you have the full range of elinchrom light modifiers to use. And power to burn. The heads could be placed up to 10 meters away from the subject and still achieve the shooting stop on the subject as was achieved in these tests. Please no judging my lighting with this image. It was windy, and I did this set up outside my studio all on my own in less than 1 hour. But with that much fully controllable light, and perfectly even exposure across the shutter path, the possibilities are endless.
test shot at 1/2000 second shutter speed, using Hi-Sync. Although you can't see on this screen resolution copy, the water splash is not quite completely frozen at 1/2000th of a second.
Test shot at 1/2000 second shutter speed, using Hi-Sync. Again, the water splash is not quite completely frozen at 1/2000th of a second, but it is pretty darn close. .
1/4000 of a second shutter speed however, gets a perfectly crisp frozen action on the water splash.
And again here, but without coloured water, the 1/4000 of a second shutter speed gets a perfectly crisp frozen action on the water splash. And the soft flash source to the right rear is lighting the water. But you can still see the real world reflected and refracted in the frozen water.
I probably should have joined the AIPP a long time ago. As opposed to finally making the move to join only less than 2 months ago. I picked up 4 silvers out of 4 images entered into the sports category of the APPA's today. APPA is the acronym for, 'Australian Professional Photography Awards", which is conducted by the AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photographers). The judging for the sports category was held this morning at the Pullman hotel in Melbourne. The image seen here of Jeff Kendal-Weed was almost a silver distinction. It was set aside for reconsideration at the end of the judging session, but sadly didn't quite get the bump up. Either way, a pretty darn good start at what is my first ever entry in either of the AIPP's State or National Awards.
Darn it Jeff, if only you'd sent it just a little bit higher. Just kidding. Anyone getting that much air on Misty Twist has my utmost respect as a rider. Hands down.
Few days ago I got the call to shoot an architecturally designed house in Merrijig. Perched on the hill side on about 180 acres, it's quite an eye catching house and property, and the timing was spot on, in more ways than one. The client needed the shots done the next day. Just as I had a small opening in my schedule for shooting the Mt Buller winter marketing brief. Arriving at the property with less than 2 hours until the sun went down, I had to work fast, in order to fulfill the brief. This is where my Elinchrom Ranger RX, and Ranger RX Speed AS packs came to the fore. Combined with the Maxi Lite reflector. They allowed me to keep shooting until after the sun had set behind the hill, and go on to create some stunning and dramatic images.
There's something special going on in the universe with July 15th. Nearly every winter, the date of July 15th brings some pretty epic conditions, and thus images. I'll keep the words to a minimum and let the pictures do the talking.
Pretty Dam stoked to see that a skiing shot of mine, let alone any ski or snow industry image, made page 2 and 3 of the Age on the day of the Federal election. Shorten and Turnbull shared the front page, but bam, page 2 & 3 featuring a half page ski shot is something of a coup. I'll claim it as kicking a goal.
It's shaping up to be a pretty dam good season already. Keeping my fingers crossed for a lot more powder days to come, and more banging shots.
It's the Master Builders awards time again, and Gibney construction has asked me once again to photograph a couple of their recently completed projects for this years awards. Photographing these properties is always a pleasure. All the best Cameron, I hope you can pick up another award.
Not much to say dude, but thanks for asking me to photograph your new wheels. Or I should say, the new cafe on wheels. That's right, Grimus grind is going mobile. The truck/cafe looks sic mate. Looking forward to having a few sweet coffee's from it.
I've been hanging out with a couple of cool trail runners today. Shooting sunrise and sunset scenes for some new marketing materials for the Run Buller Brand. It's looking pretty good thus far.
Recently I was asked if I could photograph a brand new bike. But, I wasn't allowed to tell anyone about the bike. Because, it was not yet ready for release to the public. Well it is now, and I can talk about it. Presenting the new Ibis Mojo 3.
I only had a short time with Pete and the bike, but we managed to get a few nice shots of it in action here on Mt Buller. And Scot Nicols from Ibis Cycles has used some of those images on the Ibis cycles website for the launch of the new model. You can check them out here.
When I say he rolled through Mt Buller, when he didn't exactly roll much of the time. When he was rolling it was mostly just on his rear wheel. The rest of the time he was popping off of the smallest of trail features and send it. Like High. He was hitting lines I'd never even seen in 5 years of riding these trails. Trust me when i say this guy can ride a bike. Jeff is the International sales manager for WTB (Wilderness trail Bikes), and was in Australia for a few days visiting local distributors and retailers. It was an absolute pleasure to Host Jeff for the weekend. And sorry mate that I piked out of riding the Epic with you today. A big thanks also to Pete Walsh for bring Jeff up this way, and for being the best sand bag an action sports photographer for ask for.