Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Anatomy of an Image #2

This image is actually very simple to setup and make.  The first and most important detail, is to find a corner that has fairly good natural light on it.  You can tell by the shadow under the biker that the sun is providing a lot of light for the image, and that it was captured towards the middle of the day.  To freeze the action, I set my camera up to it's highest sync without going into FP sync mode.  This way I have more power to work with from the strobe, which in the case of this shot, is a Nikon SB-800 powered by a quantum battery pack for super fast recycle times.  The flash is placed just out of the left side of the frame, and because I knew the rider would be leaning inwards, is set on the ground.  If you raise the flash, you lose some of the accent lighting on the bike frame, and right leg of the athlete.  It was also placed low, since I was shooting at almost ground level.   The closer you get to the action, at a lower angle, the more aggressive a biking shot will become.  Set the flash at about 1/4 power to blend well with the pre-existing natural light.  I also put it far enough in front of the rider, to catch and light his eyes.  For midday, the lighting is already harsh, so throw the flash zoom at about 70mm or more, to give it more punch.  Send the rider through once and test your light output.  You can also have the rider stand on the corner and test.  Pre-focus on the spot where the rider looked most aggressive and tilted before each shot.

This shot was captured at ISO 125 with an aperture of f/5.6.  It helps secure focus, and darkens the background to shoot with the aperture a little more closed.

Thanks to Kyle Green for hiking a bit to get the shot.


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