Friday, March 22, 2013
Two factors about this camera position are notable. First, this head-on position lets us see the athlete's face and the extreme body angle. Second, I was positioned slightly below the flat spot where the gate is located. This allowed the camera to be almost level with the flat spot and below the athlete's head. Both of these factors contribute to a dramatic action shot.
400mm lens, 1/4000 sec at f/3.5, ISO 100.
Friday, March 15, 2013
This image of an alpine ski racer on the giant slalom course was taken in mid-January near the beginning of the race season. The days are short and the late afternoon races get dark early. I set a speedlight, with a wireless trigger, to the side of a gate and positioned myself down the course to get more of a head-on view. It's not good form to put the light directly into the athletes' faces but the coach and skiers gave permission for the side lighting. The side lighting is much more pleasing and the camera angle is dramatic. The speedlight is set for high-speed sync so the shutter speed can be high enough to avoid ghosting. The drawback is that the light won't recycle fast enough for more than one shot per skier. Focusing is an issue, too. It's difficult for the camera to track reliably in the dim light. Pre-focusing can work if the timing is dead-on. I try to frame tightly, though, and using a wide aperture there isn't enough depth of field for any error in the timing. Not every photo comes out perfectly sharp but I have better results not pre-focusing. 70-200 lens at 200mm, f/3.5 at 1/1000, ISO 500.