Action Shoot: BMX Athlete with Strobes
[Corey Rich] Hey Corey, how- is that something that's pretty repeatable for you? [BMX Rider] Yeah.
Yeah, I'm trying to keep that in mind.
I know it's a photo workshop, so being able to do some of them
without killing yourself
And that's super helpful. I mean it's something I'm always thinking about when working with athletes, it's sort of,
If we're only, I'm all good with all trend toward safer,
That's what I was trying to say, it's like the lift point is not until like a foot underneath the black.
So that's the hard part.
It's like jumping from here to there.
And what's the safe zone for me in here? I mean if I, can my feet hang off this?
So I could theoretically, because this starts to get pretty clean actually. Once I'm, it's all ceiling, there's one beam. That's actually looking pretty interesting.
Yeah, no, that should be fine.
Perfect, okay, perfect. And it mi...
ght take me a few times just seeing this from this angle, because it definitely changes. And guys feel free, you're welcome to be here, and I'm happy to, once we get this figured out, I'd love to hand the camera off, if anyone wants to shoot. (shutter clicks) Okay. Oh right, I'm not tethered right now. Okay, alright, already this is more dramatic. (shutter clicks) [Corey Rich] Okay, much cooler. Okay, so I think we're going to try to tether. [Man] Problem is I don't think we can get there. [Corey Rich] Could we, uh- [Man] Could you shoot it from-
Sure. Alright. I'm probably gonna be in a camera position that I wouldn't normally shoot from. So that from an educational standpoint, people can see what I'm shooting. But I'm already liking this more, just being closer to Corey on the wall, makes for a more compelling photograph. You know we're seeing his face and we're getting a real sense of height. And I think you know I've alluded to this a few times, when you realize something's not working. You know that long lens shot was fine, but it wasn't great and so now the ability to sort of get closer, it seems more compelling to me. Corey, I might have to test it from here as well to see how this looks. And Brett can you maybe shout when he's coming in [Brett] Yep.
You know on his way, like even give a, maybe just crossing this threshold, just say three two one crossing or just three two one one when he's crossing.
Okay. Okay Corey let's see it when you're ready. Yup, let's do it.
Alright, coming in. Three two one. (shutter clicks) [Corey Rich] Okay. Alright, let's see, how does that look guys? I can barely see the screen. So it's still, you know I'm struggling with this angle a little bit. I'd like to be more underneath him. As opposed to this far away because this is kind of a hybrid of, I'm sort of looking at him squared up, but I'm not quite close enough to him. Would it be crazy, guys? So we have enough manpower to move the computer table up here? [Man] Power cable. [Corey Rich] Oh, we don't, okay. Okay. [BMX Rider] The one critique that I would see, like if, (coughs) to frame it is the, it might depending on what you're going for, to shoot portrait? So you'll get the framing of everything.
Right, so go vertical. Go vertical, right, it shows more scale.
Yeah, if you want to see where you're coming from.
Yeah, yeah, and let's try it. That's actually a good idea. And I think, and what Corey just said, maybe you can repeat it, just so- [Corey] Yeah, so basically what you're looking at there is the framing of it. You can't tell where the rider is coming from. So if you were to change up the format of shooting, or not the format, the position.
The orientation, yep. Go vertical.
So just shoot portrait, yeah. So you'll be able to get everything, you know where the rider's coming from.
And let's just for the heck of it, let me shoot a frame right now just to see what Corey's describing. (shutter clicks) And so here's a vertical frame.
Yeah, so picture if I was in that. [Corey Rich] Feels high, yeah, feels high. Now and what I immediately started experimenting with is you know we have this shaft of light in the foreground. Does that add anything or does it take away? So let's look.
Yeah, see what we got. [Corey Rich] So that's probably too much [Corey] That's too much, yeah. [Corey Rich] That's pretty radical so let's crop in a little bit, let's go to 35 millimeters. And so that's at 35, cool so now we're getting a pretty clean section, it's gonna feel like Corey's way off the ground.
Yeah it's going to highlight the rider more than anything you know with the lighting setup you have.
Cool, let's try it. Let's give it a go. [Corey Rich] Okay, so Corey's coming in, we went to 35. (shutter clicks) [Corey Rich] Okay, I can't tell if I missed that moment, he looks like he's in a decent position. Sure, sure. Yeah, why not, let's do it. So Jeff just made the point, Corey was in a slightly different spot and part of that was me firing at a slightly different moment. [Corey] Yeah, I went a little bit higher.
Yup, and I think what we're gonna do is we're going to add the human element to the light stand. Which is Jeff is gonna pivot the light stand.
Jeff is gonna actually just pivot the light with you so as you're riding we can, you know he's going to follow you with the lights so the likelihood of me getting it is better.
I think it definitely adds a sense of scale. Like you realize how high off the ground you are.
The one thing I would mention is if you were to lower that the light on the back part, if you were to lower it to kind of give a shine on the backside, that is not lost so much in the back but that could be something. [Corey Rich] Corey got ahead of us. He already knew what our secret sauce was. So right now, right now Corey we're not using that backlight but that will be the next thing that we're gonna do.
I didn't know it was on or anything.
Yeah, no, no, we're gonna add a little edge here, okay.
Jumpin' the gun, huh?
Yeah, you guys are good. And I think, if one of you guys let me shoot one frame and I'd love for one of you to get on the camera and actually shoot. And I think that actually gives me a chance to step back and actually look at the framing and step away and think about what we do next? Okay Corey I'm good when you are.
Alright three, two, one. (shutter clicks)
Okay. Oh, Jeff missed it. So that's the one risk actually with doing the it's called the voice-activated light stand. Which is a human, is that now there's two humans that can make mistakes, me and Jeff. [Brett] You wanna do another one?
Yep, we're ready when you are.
Alright, he's coming in. Three, two, one. (shutter clicks)
Okay. I think-
A little low?
Yeah still a little low.
Three, two, one. (shutter clicks)
There we go, that was right on him. That was right on him. Great, one of you guys wanna jump on? If you don't mind shooting this camera it'll make it easier from a tethering perspective. And feel free obviously, frame as you like. I can grab you camera and we can set it on the table. So as I described it before, we're back button focusing. Or you can manually focus and then it's, you know, just shutter release. Yeah, you're kind of stuck in that zone I mean you can certainly move subtly. I'm gonna put this camera right on the cart.
Let me just see what you're getting currently.
Sure. And so this was as high as Corey's gone. I would still say Corey.
I think a little lower is better, because then you're not competing with this line. I think keeping you in the black area I thought looked a little more compelling, so just above concrete but below the yellow line was nice.
So if you're back button focusing, it's
Is this guy, the AF on button, yep. Yep, exactly. Did you guys, like Alex did you like what you were seeing over here?
I thought the roof was pretty messy.
Got it, maybe I'll jump in and look at what you guys are seeing real quick. Let's see the back of your camera. Got it, and one option might even be a longer lens, or just a little more compression.
Like a prime. Because this is, you're just so wide here. I like that it's, you know the other thing, and this is worth pointing out, you know people kind of push away from on-camera strobes, but that position, which is you're literally up against the wall, and your strobe is never gonna hit that far a wall, this is a great example of using an on-camera strobe or taking your speed light and moving it slightly off-camera. With rear curtain sink, there's a really cool photo opportunity right here that might be worth trying like pulling out your strobe, you know you're hand-holding the camera, you pop the strobe, let the curtain drag, which means rear curtain sink, and I think there could be a really interesting photograph in this environment, and I think it's good to think that way, sort of what are the different ways that we can shoot given lots of different camera positions. There's only one set of big strobes, but of course you can also set up another strobe in the corner, but let's just- The other thing I would say, anyone that's not on strobes, it would be nice to do some really slow shutter speed opportunities, so it's you know, as a stopped action photograph in this light, eh it's pretty boring. But if you get into that 60th/15th of a second zone, where we're seeing Corey just blur through the frame or maybe you're tracking with Corey, you know there's kind of an apex of what he's doing where there's a 60th of a second where he can be sharp, or you're moving with him and you're blurring the wall. That would be my take, if I'm not hooked up to the strobes I'm experimenting with altering my shutter speeds. I'm using a handheld speed light. I'm rear curtain sink, I'm dragging the shutter. And I'd love to see what comes out of that. Cool.
I was just gonna say, like if you're trying to get more shots later for strobe stuff, I can suggest certain setups, you know? And one that I just can't get it out of my eyes is this one to the wall right here,
Up to this wall.
Yeah so like, as far as like a cool photo opportunity and shooting strobes, the actual object here that you're coming from and stalling on the wall, you'll be able to highlight that, and then you have the natural light showing that take-off point, so that might be an option if we run into that after this so, if you want to try.
Could be cool option, I don't know.
And it's worth pointing out to anyone that's here or watching, this dialogue, not every athlete has insight and vision cares as deeply about photography. But that feedback - and this is, you know for me when I'm working with an athlete that has as much to say and is thinking and engaged, and trying to create great images, it's sort of the ultimate as a photographer. Versus the opposite: an athlete that doesn't want to be there, doesn't want to shoot, isn't interested in doing more and they're always asking are we done? How long until we're done? And so, you know my reaction, and your job as a photographer always is, if what Corey's suggesting sounds good, try it. I mean, it's just like, let's try it. If what Corey's suggesting on the other hand I know technically isn't going to work, I'll be the first person, in a diplomatic way that sounds good, I'll be really nice, but then I'll say hey Corey
You'll tell me the shot sucks.
I'll do it more diplomatically. What I'll try to say is like oh, Corey, that's a great idea if we had more time, and honestly this does sound like an interesting shot, let's just see how much time we've got.
Cool, okay, great. So you're set on that camera, I'm just gonna look from a distance and see what's working. So you can kind of control the situation. Brett's gonna,
Yeah I'm gonna slow it down and just not go into the black as much, so, in between the two pieces.
Cool. So Brett maybe you can give a countdown as well.
Maybe fire the strobes once, just so you're comfortable with the setup.
I kind of like that highlight, you know. It's a little different.
Now so what I will say is did you change exposure?
Is that the same exposure? Cool, let's try it. I feel like, uh, Jeff I wonder could we give it a little more power? I feel like this highlight, well let's just see it, yeah let's just see what it looks like.
So 250 at five? And 250 ISO.
That's where we're at.
I'm good when you are.
Okay, I'm gonna get to one as he's passing you, Mike.
Alright, watch out behind ya. Three, two, one. (shutter clicks)
So Jeff, I think we need more power on the head, I think ambient exposure's great the stripe looks good, so let's give it I think a full stop, maybe even two.
I'll give you one and a half?
One and a half. Let's see, go ahead and do a test frame. Let's just see what that looks like. Here, I'll let you run through Alex. Cool, yeah that's better. I think maybe even like let's see what that looks like, I think we could give it a little more power even.
Maybe another half. Okay, give it a test fire.
Oh, he just, yeah he tested it.
Test pop. (shutter clicks)
Yup, that's cooler in my opinion. Okay, let's try it. When you're ready, you call it.
I'm good, Corey. [Brett] Three, two, one. (shutter clicks)
That looked like you fired at the right time. Cool, that's starting to look good. Alright, so you're looking at a low res image here. But I think it gives you a feel for what we're working with.
Yeah I feel like, um, I don't really I got it.
Oh, got it, got it. I'll double-mic you.
I don't really like how, uh, the helmet's kind of blending in, I know we got branding on branding there,
I can go lower. I didn't know I was going that high.
And I might've shot a little prematurely just because I wanted to get your tweak, but just positioning-wise, I think I'd like you a little bit lower.
Cool. Yeah, let's try a couple frames lower. And then I think, I think then we should add the secret sauce, which is adding a little
How do you feel about changing a lens? From this point, do we want to keep consistent?
Good. Actually, let's stay consistent just so that the viewer can see the evolution of what's happening here.
The reason I mention that now is just adding this foreground element, I'm gonna try to compress a little bit more, and feel like it's a little more tension.
You're at 35 right now?
Uh, yeah, I'm at 35.
Got it, got it.
So I'm as tight as I can be on the lens that I have.
Corey, we're good to go. Three, two, one.
So there, I shot a little bit later. So the tweak isn't as good but his position is a little bit lower.
Yeah, position is better, it's lower.
One other thing that's worth pointing out is you know, I'm sort of, I'm leveraging the opportunity that we have a voice-activated light stand which is Jeff Johnson right now. But, no you're doing great. No no no, you're doing great. You're hittin' 'em every time. But I just wanted to point out, you know using the pro photo air system, we can actually adjust the lights from the command on top of the camera so if I was alone, if Jeff wasn't holding standing right next to the pack, it's a really simple thing to do. Which we can dial in the light, bring it up or down. Let's go to a-
So I shot a little bit later just because I wanted your positioning a little better, but then I'll lose that kind of tweak.
Well yeah, it's a little bit late on that.
Yeah exactly so and I kind of knew that, just trying to see where we would put you in the frame.
So let's do this, you wanted to shoot on a 24 to 70, let's grab a 24 to 70, see we can push in a little more. And let's do one frame, I think we should switch to adding that edge, and I guess at that point maybe we just put that on a stand and pick a spot. And we'll go from there. Here I can, it was backwards.
My hands are burning a little bit, from holding.
24 to 70. Okay there you go. Okay so folks what he's trying to do is create a little less of this foreground and make it a strip by compressing. Okay, and that felt really high to me. Okay, so that's a little more compressed. That's at what, 70 millimeters?
Yeah, that was real quick, I didn't know he was coming through like that so I'm gonna.
Okay, so maybe frame it up and then we'll send Corey through. Hey Corey maybe give 'em just one minute and then we'll actually send you through again, he's just composing. Cool, great. Okay so we're just kind of adjusting the frame. And we have one head right now firing. Perfect, that looked like a good fire. Good. That's a nice horizontal. Light looks pretty good. Cool. So I think the key is, it's an evolved shot. The strip of light looks nice, little more compressed. We went from a 16 to 35 to a 24 to 70. And we are at 250th of a second, almost 50 millimeters. And we are at 250 ISO.