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