Advanced Lighting for Adventure Photography


Lesson Info

Editing and Post-Processing of Trail Running Images

Alright well even though we don't have time to see you do all the work on that next image, can you bring it up and talk to us about what you would work it up to be, or how you would work on it? What's your vision for it? For this guy... Same deal, I would pull up the trees. I'd even out the tones. So the foreground definitely needs to be darkened down, and the trees definitely need to be... they're a little too dark. It's the catch-22 of that background; if you pull the trees up too much, you're going to blow out the background with the sky, which is totally fine in this case, I don't really care if we can see detail in the sky back there. I did work it up I think in one of those. If we pull up... let me tab... get those out of the way. I think this is partially worked up. Open him up, or is it the other one that's worked up? There we go. Then it's worked up. So I'm just evening out the tones. You can see here I pulled up the trees, I darkened down the foreground. I would go in and d...

odge and burn more down in this area. I might even go in and do some serious dodging and burning on his body just to open up those shadows a little bit more. Though at some point it's going to look too HDR for my taste and I don't want it to look fake. I want it to look like a real image. The interesting thing is we've come so far with digital that this would look crazy HDR if we were just into the digital days and had been shooting film for a long time. I used to shoot Fuji Velvia all the time, where anything that was even partially shaded was pitch black, and we used to love that. But now we come a long ways where we want detail in our shadows, and we want our highlights not to be blown out. It's a constant battle of... it's not a battle it's a constant evolving of our tastes and what we think is acceptable in a photograph that I've found. Especially in terms of saturation, live Velvia, holy mackerel those greens were off the charts saturated. We loved it, and now at least for me, I'm backing off the saturation from those Fuji Velvia and Fuji Provia film days a little bit. There's some photographers that crank the saturation too and that's part of their look, but I think for me when I work up images I'm always going for a little bit of an understated look; I'm thinking about... I have certain code words in my head like elegance, understated, graphic, beautiful, is how I'm thinking about how I'm processing. And then sometimes in a portrait scenario, I might process that same portrait ten different ways. Like right here, let's just go to black-and-white on this since we have a little time I suppose. I'm going to go to Silver Efex Pro. Has anybody here used Silver Efex Pro? It's a great black-and-white option. I'm going to choose Adobe RGB, the rest of that's fine. See if this opens up. It's just a really quick way to get a really solid black-and-white image because it shows you the entire Ansel Adams grayscale at the bottom. Let me make this full screen so you can see it. And I have some favorites in here that I like, but you can basically go along the edge over here and see what you like; High Structure is one of my favorites and that instantly creates a pretty powerful image. Push Process, there's hundreds of these things. Full Dynamic, meh not so much. You choose what option you want, Full Contrast and Full Structure, and that's super bright. Not liking that. And then you can massage it from there. Let me just stick with this one at the top, where was it... High Structure, and I'll adjust the tones over here, and I can adjust the brightness of the highlights the midtones-- no that's not good. Maybe want those shadows, Dynamic Brightness of the overall image. I'm going super fast here. Structure is kind of like Clarity. The one thing you've got to be careful with is, you can tear up your image very nicely. As you can see we're bring out quite a bit of noise in it already. And if I choose Histogram here, it actually shows me in the image as I mouse over these numbers, where all of the different tones are in the image, and how I can affect them with the sliders up here. So that's pretty cool. I can amplify the blacks by making them deeper with the contrast. I don't want to amplify the whites but I'm also looking at the Histogram down at the bottom. Soft contrast, something like that. I might save it here, and it's not finished yet; I'll go back into Lightroom and work it up. Lightroom itself has a great black-and-white conversion program because you can put the color version up right next to the black-and-white and then you can use the black-and-white sliders in the right side of the develop module, and adjust those colors on the fly. So if I come back here... My exposure looks a little hot there, might pull that in. But I'm gonna actually go back down to these sliders to adjust overall highlights. And I did those the opposite way, so I removed contrast. I'm fully just playing around at this point. Before and after as you can see, I'm just basically increasing the contrast. Might go wild with Clarity... whoa, we're getting super graphic and crazy there, but that does add a certain look! That may be something that you're really excited about, it just depends on what you're going for. We've created definitely a really graphic image that's much different than how I originally worked this one up. And if I do this, you can see... Removing the color does make it more of a graphic image, and I actually prefer it in black-and-white than I do in color for this one as well I think. But again, I totally missed it. I should have moved the camera when we were shooting... I'm looking at this now and I'm like, wow, I just totally did not get the shot that I could have gotten. That would have been so easy, just move the camera at a slow shutter speed; do a motion blur. I would have had to change the flash heads out to the action heads, cause if I tried to do a motion blur with the HS heads, which we're shooting here with, everything would have been blurred because the flash duration on the HS heads is not that fast, and remember we were shooting at what... What were we shooting at here? Two thousandth of a second, so to do the motion blur I would have had to lower the ISO all the way down probably to 32 ISO, and then I would have had to use a shutter speed for running somewhere between a tenth of a second to a twentieth of a second, would probably be about the right shutter speed for motion blur, and then change the flash heads out. Power levels could have stayed the same. We probably would have been shooting at F11, something like that, cause the lights are so close, and then I would just pan the camera with him and that blackground would just... The background would just totally blur out. And that would make this a much more solid image. Just pointing out my mistakes, and what I didn't see while I was there.

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.