[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]One of my favourite tech advances in recent years is high speed flash sync for my DSLR. I use it in freezing the action, like this martini glass water splash image where I am syncing to my Broncolor flash at 1/8000sec on my Nikon D5 or where I am using my Nikon SB-5000 or Broncolor Move 1200 to give me some directional light on an athlete or fashion shoot outdoors and overpower the sunlight by adjusting my sync speed.
Radio technology in the flashes and triggers now allow you to shoot wirelessly at long distances, sync at very high speeds and offer many additional creative features. Most high speed triggers even allow you to control your external flash from the on-camera trigger so that you can work substantially faster in the field.
For me personally, here are a few of my favourite high speed sync products that I use every day: Nikon’s new SB-5000 flash with WR-A10 remote and either the Nikon D5 camera or D500 camera. With this setup I can control multiple SB-5000 flashes right from my in-camera menu and sync to my camera at up to 1/8000sec. It works flawlessly and it has opened up a world of portable possibilities.
The other new product that I am blown away with is Broncolor’s new RFS 2.2 Transceiver. I just had to pop this on any of my Nikon Camera’s hot shoes and turn it on and it syncs both my Broncolor Move and Scoro S all the way up to 1/8000sec as well. I can also use both the Broncolor and Nikon high speed syncs simultaneously for lots of creative power.
I will be demonstrating both of these setups at my photographic rockstar courses coming up in Toronto and Canmore.
You can also read more about High Speed Sync in my Photo News Article for Spring 2017.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image="4722" img_size="full" alignment="center"][/vc_column][/vc_row]
When people ask me what to shoot for in a sports image, I show them a photograph and explain that in most cases, it is all about freezing the peak of the action, the height of the jump, the maximum edge... ultimately recording the energy of the moment at its greatest potential.
One of the keys is to a fantastic shot is to focus on the eyes of the athlete. There is so much emotion, intensity and concentration that can be told through the eyes. If I cannot see the eyes then I pick another key point on the athlete to focus on. I set my Nikon to AF-C (Auto-Focus Continuous Mode) so I don’t miss the shot if the camera isn’t sure if the subject is in focus or not. I then pre-determine what I want my composition to look like. Whether I want empty space to one side of the image to give the sense that the athlete is moving in that direction, or space below the athlete going off a jump to give the sense of height, I picture how I want the final image to look. I pick a focus point where I want the subject to be to match the composition, and then follow the athlete, holding the trigger down lightly to keep autofocusing. When the subject is at his/her peak of action, I fire away and usually hold the button down for a few extra frames while following through smoothly to make sure I don’t get camera shake. I keep a good grip on my camera and lens, and use dynamic pressure by pulling slightly on my lens while pushing the butt of the camera with my other hand. I usually have VR (Vibration Reduction) turned on for sports images to minimize any potential camera vibrations and cre- ate the sharpest image possible. You can also use a tripod or monopod to help keep your camera steady.
When trying to freeze the action and create blurr-free images with longer lenses, I try to shoot at a shutter speed of at least 1/500 second and optimally about 1/2000 of a second for most sports. Generally I recommend that photographers use manual metering (my preference) or shutter speed priority, where you set the ISO and the shutter speed and the camera adjusts the f/stop automatically. This is a quick and easy way to shoot sports and you can use your exposure compensation controls to adjust to the light conditions if necessary. This is especially helpful when shooting near white snow and ice which might throw off your meter as it tries to adjust between the bright background and darker subject. Turn image review on so that you can evaluate your images often, ensure that your whites aren’t blown out, and zoom in to make sure that your image is razor sharp.
Another cool option on many new cameras is Auto-ISO. This feature enables you to set your desired shutter speed and aperture and the camera will adjust the ISO or sensitivity of your sensor to get a correct exposure. Most of the newer cameras have phenomenal high ISO capabilities which make getting great sports images easier than ever, especially at indoor venues. Experiment with the ISO settings on your camera and evaluate your results. The higher the ISO the more noise or grain you will get, so use it, but use it mindfully. Many of my indoor shots from the Vancouver 2010 Olympics were shot at 3200 or 4000 ISO (like my Figure Skater image above, shot with my Nikon D3s and 600mm lens: f/7.1 at 1/1000sec at 3200ISO ) and I have enlarged them to 24x36 inches with very little grain and remarkable results.