You know I love it when photographers share their secrets, so I was delighted to come across David Harry Stewart’s blog, with some really fun info about how he uses Speedlights and Profoto packs to capture action outdoors.
The divers were shot with Profoto packs.
Here’s how he did it:
Below are photos that I did for Interview Magazine on Olympic divers. They were done on an RZ with four 2400w/s Profoto packs, which is what you need if you want to nuke out the Florida sun. These are beautiful photos, some of my all time favorites, but with the shutter synch at 1/400th, there is a tiny bit of edge blur in them.
We are constantly doing these sort of light experiments. 9 out of 10 will never get used in work that I show, but if I don’t do the 10, I won’t discover the 1. But the point isn’t even the discovering, it is searching. If one is not always searching, one is not creating, and that, my friends, is why I got into this in the first place.
The skaters were shot with Speedlights.
Here’s how he did it:
I was recently introduced to a new way of doing high speed flash synch. By using a Canon 580EXII with an ST-E2 infrared transmitter, I as able to synch at 1/1000th of a second. The fastest I have ever previously used had been 1/750, and that was on a medium format leaf shutter camera, like an H series Hasselblad. If one is working in studio, then all the light is coming from the flash unit, so by using a pack like one of the new Pro8 packs with very short flash duration, any motion can be perfectly frozen. However, working out doors when using flash mixed with daylight, there is the added component of the ambient light. Even if I am using a high speed pack, there is a limit at what the camera will synch at, and there will sometimes be a bit of ghosting around the figure.
The light tests below were done with a Canon 580EXII, and on the top 2 shots, an infrared transmitter. The camera was a Canon 1DSIII, set at ASA 400. On the top 2 shots, the speedlight is on a monopod being held by my assistant about 6 ft from the skater, with me about 100 ft back tracking on autofocus. The third shot is flash on camera with the lens prefocused. My skate buddy Byron is totally crispy frozen, which I find fascinating. The other thing I love is how totally low tech this was to do. Super simple plug and play.
There is something unique about the character of light from a speedlight, something about how the super short flash duration gets recorded that doesn’t look like anything else. Of course you are not going to be overpower sunlight with a 580EXII, no way.
Read more of David Harry Stewart’s blog.