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Advanced Lighting for Adventure Photography

Lesson 18 of 35

Capturing the Action: Rock Climbing

Michael Clark

Advanced Lighting for Adventure Photography

Michael Clark

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Lesson Info

18. Capturing the Action: Rock Climbing


Class Trailer
1 Class Introduction 03:25 2 Evolution with Lighting 04:44 3 Why Use Artificial Lighting? 06:43 4 Pre-Production and Pre-Visualizing 07:16 5 Equipment: Overview of the Gear 25:28 6 Equipment: Selecting the Right Gear 24:05 7 Strobes vs. Speedlights 08:01 8 Lighting 101: Flash Sync Speeds 14:35

Lesson Info

Capturing the Action: Rock Climbing

We're gonna talk about capturing the action, and we're gonna get Kai on the same climb, so let's roll into that. Can I have you grab that last hold that you clipped off of? Yeah. And clip again. Yeah. Whenever you're ready. (camera shutter clicking) Alright. So I'm having trouble with the flash triggering, just because I'm sucked under this rock. Can you just take the pack out of that and lean it over the front of the rock? Let me see if that triggers every time now. (camera shutter clicks) Perfectamundo, I love it! Alright, thank you Tom. Alright, can I have you do the clip again one more time? Yep (camera shutter clicks) Go for it. (camera shutter clicks) Thank you. So if you're ready for the next move, whenever you're ready, I'm ready to go. It's weird, because I actually have to go left hand here, so I don't know. Did you clip off that one or the lower one? I clipped off this with my right hand, but I have to have my left hand high hole. It's fine, it's fine. ...

The way I do the sequence is that my left hand is down low, and I just bump my right hand out so that the bigger one is, okay. Alright, I'm ready when you are. Go for it. (camera shutter clicks) Back up just a second here. Oh yeah, go ahead and take, we've gotta change batteries on the pack, I'm sorry. That's alright. That allows me to check those images too. So the beauty of this right now is you saw, with the flashes going off, is the lights so low, we had the pack at such a low power setting, I can shoot at like three or four frames a second, and the pack's lighting evenly every single time. So that really allows me to get a bunch of shots and you know, look for a lot of nuance. I mean, the shadows on him as he's doing these moves is pretty incredible. I just see, I mean, man, that's pretty sweet. Doesn't even flinch. Maybe just grab the draw below you and unclip that one above you, and then we'll have you do the rose move again real quick? Is that okay? Yep. Nice. Hold on, hold on. Thanks Kai. No problem. Let me just take a test shot here real quick, okay? Oh man, beauty, beauty, beauty. Dude, alright, let's go, if you're ready. That pack's still right there. Yeah, exactly. I'm ready when you are. (camera shutter clicks) Nice. Right hand down. Right hand again, good. (camera shutter clicks) Okay, on the left side of that. Match on it, match where your left hand is. There you go. Put your feet up in those two little pockets and hook for that. Nice. (camera shutter clicks) You got it. I did not want to drop. He's like "I'm not hucking for anything." Nice technique. I think I made it look way harder. I think you did. Alright, if you want Kai, I think we're done. You can just go ahead and lower off from there. Cool, let's do it. Honestly, this might be the best pictures we get here at Smith Rock. Just because the lighting, we were able to get up here right next to the route. I didn't even have to get a rope on to get here, so this is pretty amazing to be able to shoot something like that and be so close to the climber without being on a rope. Alright, so, you can see I found the shot with Ian, and then I worked on it, kept tweaking it, perfecting it with Kai, and here's one of the shots we got. Just to give you an idea how they were worked up. Definitely, you know, we've got a dramatic background, we have an amazing view from where we were. The fact, so what happened before this is it started raining, which I told you sent us over to this spot. But the fact that we could keep shooting over there while it was raining and then it stopped, it was just amazing, and it was something I never would have even thought of until Ian brought us over there. So one of the things I just want to say is, when you're working with an athlete, listen to them. Listen to what they're saying, because sometimes you may have all of your best laid plans, and they're like well, it starts raining, or something happens, and they're like "We can go over here to this thing, "it might look great." 50% of the time it may look horrible to you as a photographer, the other 50% it may be better than anything you could have planned, so you just gotta roll with it. And you can see I concentrated on this rose move, because the rose is actually a climb in France. It's a very famous climb from back in the 80's. That's why this move is called the rose. Kai did this climb very easily. You can see the difference in the way he climbs, as the way Ian climbed, but it made for really exciting pictures, and especially that move he did at the end where he threw his heel up, that's why I call him the future of climbing, because I don't know many climbers that would have even thought to put their heel above their hands on an overhang wall like that.

Class Description

How do you freeze action, create motion blur and showcase the strength and style of athletes? When you introduce artificial light into your adventure photography, the opportunities are endless! It’s easier than it looks, and once you master the technical aspects, lighting on location can unlock tremendous opportunity for capturing portraits and action.

Red Bull Photographer, Michael Clark, joins CreativeLive to break down the barriers that are keeping you from letting your photography stand out. In this course, he’ll cover the basics of gear, incorporating flash, finding unique perspective and so much more.

Through demonstrations in the field, Michael will work with incredible athletes in a variety of lighting scenarios to show how to capture the heart of a sport and the spirit of an athlete. If you’re looking to make your mark in the world of action or sports photography, this course is a necessity in making your work compete with the best in the industry.

Michael will cover everything:

  • Location Scouting for your camera and your lights
  • Packing and gear tips for various locations
  • Scouting the best point of view to capture action
  • Safety and considerations for working with athletes
  • Strobes vs. Speedlights
  • When to use High Speed Sync, Hi-Sync (HS) or Leaf Shutters with your flash
  • Getting into the business of adventure photography
  • Creating tension in your photos

Michael will be working with professional athletes like trail runner Dylan Bowman, cyclist Tim Johnson, and incredible rock climbers to give you a rare and one-of-a-kind look into the world of adventure photography.

Submit your work to the Student Gallery for a chance at feedback from two of the best adventure photographers in the world, Michael Clark, and Chase Jarvis. 


norah levine

This is a course that I could watch repeatedly and be able to learn something new each time. Michael is a truly an expert in his field and is so generous with his knowledge. This course really breaks down the process of adventure photography, but it's more than that. I don't think you need to even be an adventure sports photographer to get tons out of this course. Michael is really good at breaking down some very complicated technology. Thank you!

a Creativelive Student

Great course that combines the technical aspects of shooting with light in different situations, with the art of making a great image of athletes. Michael is a great teacher and I'm sure his lessons will continue to help guide over and over again!

Jeph DeLorme

Great class with dozens of tips, ideas and lighting strategies for tough outdoor lighting challenges. Advanced class taught in a way that allows even a beginner to get a handle on lighting tough situations. The location videos provide real life examples that make this class a definite must have for my Creative Live collection. Thank you Michael Clark and Creative Live! Jeph DeLorme