Sometimes a few Camera Club members get together to try what might be new techniques for some. This week we understood that there were a couple of lads who might do some action tricks and acrobatics for us. This sounded like a good opportunity to try to hone our flash technique, or so I thought.
It was all a bit informal, we didn’t really have a plan, but it was fun. On the advice of our star performer, we gravitated towards a local children’s playground. Although still quite light, it was late enough that this was not a problem as all the children were long gone. The local council might not have approved though.
Ash, the star of the show then started doing a mixture of somersaults and jumps from various objects, mainly rocks, into the sand of the playground. He also tried jumping his bike off the rocks.
Well, we had about 10 photographers trying to capture the action, so it was a bit crowded at times, though everyone was happy snapping without any conflict. Being prepared for often unannounced tricks was a challenge, not to mention the technicalities of getting the right camera and flash settings to achieve the desired affect.
Personally, I was trying to highlight the action against a dark background. Although I tried both ‘on camera’ and ‘off camera’ flash, I thought that this might be best done with the latter, though now I am not so sure. I think that I have learned at least the following lessons, and probably a few more that haven’t sunk in yet.
- With a single flash, I think ‘on camera’ is probably best.
- At least this guarantees that it is pointing in the right direction for all shots.
- Without a flash stand we don’t have long enough arms to get the flash close enough anyway.
- I didn’t have enough confidence in camera/flash settings. If I had that confidence then Manual would probably have been best, but ‘trial and error’ wasn’t really feasible in these circumstances. I did try it, but was missing a lot of the action.
In the end, as expected, a lot of my shots were rubbish, particularly when viewed in colour. I thought that maybe if I tried a ‘grainy B&W’ approach they might be just acceptable. This is about as good as I could get.
The final lesson learned is that I still have a long way to go with action flash photography.