Canadian photographer A.J. Messier is the owner of Hogtown Studios in Toronto, Ontario. His clients include Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, Hockey Hall of Fame, NHL, the Royal Ontario Museum, and Save the Children Canada. No stranger to sports photography, Messier takes us behind-the-scenes of his recent shoot of Damian Warner for Nike.
©AJ Messier-Hogtown Studios, Toronto, Canada
- Damian Warner, 23 years old, for Nike
- Canadian Olympic Decathalete
- 5th in 2012 Olympics in London
- 3rd in Decathalon IAFF 2013 World Championships in Moscow
I approached Damian Warner’s team about eight weeks ago with an idea of shooting Damian in Toronto. My concept was of him being a mild-mannered urban hipster like a Clark Kent, but with his uniform on he transforms into Superman. They immediately loved the idea, and mentioned to me he had never done a professional photo shoot before they were pretty much up for anything. Damian had just signed a deal with Nike. The logical hook into him, his events, and his Nike gear became my focus. The next issue was how to show Damian doing super human feats while in all the newest and brightest Nike gear and make it look dramatic, fresh, and more importantly stand out from all the other images of athletes over the years.
PocketWizard Blog reader-favorite Chris Garrison is still hot on the Red Bull scene. He put together a great post on a shoot combining the impossible, land and water sport figures together, featuring Terry Adams and Adam Errington. Packed with behind-the-scenes photos, two videos, and the whole story, don’t miss Chris Garrison and his PocketWizard FlexTT5 and PowerST4 pulling off the impossible. As always, get your fix of Chris Garrison at his site and blog.
This month’s feature is basically a road map for HyperSync®. Why a “road map?” Because HyperSync, a tool that could be used for all kinds of genius photography, seems to attract wheels. Motorcyles and BMX. Bicycles. And more motorcycles. Last month I called it BikerSync®. Mark Wallace, a motorcycle guy himself, wheeled down the road less taken and rallied a grand tour Webinar on HyperSync.
Shooting Portraits with HyperSync.
Here is some information we sent out to viewers before the Webinar. The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began, but the trip is a little smoother if you have the key to your magic decoder ring.
For years we’ve been drawn to what photographer Garth Milan continues to do. Sponsored by Red Bull, among other corporations, Milan is a master at freezing the action of extreme sports of all kinds. We recently caught up with him again, and he was kind enough to explain how he overpowered the Southern California sun and stopped motion at the same time. Here is his account of his most recent shoot.
This particular shoot with Red Bull athlete Curtis Keene posed two fairly large problems. One was the bright Santa Monica midday sun, and the other was the fact the trails we shot on were miles away from the nearest parking spot, which meant we had to hike up the normally “downhill” trails with any and all gear needed for the shoot.
All that being said, my assistant and I started our blister-inducing hike up with a camera body and several lenses, along with an Elinchrom Ranger, equipped with the PowerST4 to enable my PocketWizard to HyperSync® at any and all speeds. After one of the most intense hikes of my life (considering how much gear we had), we arrived at our destination to find, just as I thought, the lighting was less than ideal for shooting with the natural, ambient light.
© 2012 Paul D’Andrea
Paul D’Andrea is an Indianapolis-based photographer whose work runs the gamut from portraits and events to fine art. He even helps run one of the few photography galleries in the city, M10 Studio and Gallery. Here, he gives us the details behind an outdoor portrait he made with a little help from HyperSync®.
When making a portrait I have to decide how to draw the viewer’s eye to the subject. I might do this with a simplified background, a composition that frames the subject, or it might be with a shallow depth of field or a difference in exposure (making the subject brighter than the backdrop).
For an outdoor portrait, using a shallow depth of field often precludes the use of studio lights and exposure in pulling the subject off the background. With a maximum sync speed of 1/250th of a second for the studio lights, I need to choose an aperture to match the ambient exposure, this might be f/11 or f/16 on a sunny day, which won’t provide a very shallow depth of field. Enter HyperSync, which allows me to have both a shallow depth of field and large light modifiers.
© 2012 Olivier Allamand
Olivier Allamand won a silver medal skiing in the 1992 Winter Olympics. When he photographs sports, he’s photographing what he knows. His images of BMX riders are both powerful and delicate at once, using a lighting style often found in photographs of dancers. The effect, as you can see, is pretty awesome. His account of a recent shoot follows.
On this shoot, I photographed Jeremy Brosset, one of the best flat BMX riders in France. For the location, I looked for an abandoned factory in order to create a moody atmosphere.
When photographer Tristan Shu got a chance to work with some of France’s best freestyle skiers, he knew he had to produce something spectacular. Not one to shy away from a challenge, Tristan created a meticulously timed image showcasing the skiers’ precision and skill. How did he do it? Read the account and see the video below to find out.
©2012 Tristan Shu
I triggered my flashes using a mix of PocketWizard FlexTT5’s, PowerST4’s, and Plus II’s.
Photographer Chuck Espinoza has posted about two recent shoots he did with Kelley Koski and Ryan Marks. This blog entry chronicles Espinoza’s desire to purchase a battery-powered strobe. He reports he had experience with Profoto AcuteB 600R units, but ended up purchasing a 1100 watt/second Elinchrom Ranger RX with an S head. He also got a PocketWizard PowerST4 to pair up with his FlexTT5 radio triggers.
Espinoza documents how his first two shoots with this rig worked out with some info true gearheads will love. With initial expectations of syncing at speeds “over 1/1000 sec,” after a firmware upgrade to the ST4 and the FlexTT5 units, he was able to sync at 1/8000 of a second. In this way, he was able to overpower the sun.
Learn more about Espinoza at his site and his blog.
We’ve previously featured sports photographer Chris Garrison several times on the PocketWizard blog. On Alliance Wakeboard’s site he recently documented a shoot he did with Nate Perry. Garrison had an idea for a shot he wanted to get, which Perry describes in the post as “[not] too hard. It was just a cab 180 nose press, early pass back backside 180 out.” Sounds simple, right?
To capture this shot, Garrison used a Nikon D2x, Elinchrom Ranger heads and packs, and tied it all together with a PocketWizard FlexTT5 and PowerST4 units. He points out that he used HyperSync technology to help him shooting in the harsh, flat light of 12 noon. Garrison has written about HyperSync previously.
Garrison also did some experimentation with a broken mirror he found on the side of the road. Is there nothing this photographer won’t try? Don’t miss all the details at the full post.
Tom Bol has published a story at ProPhoto Coalition on syncing an Elinchrom Ranger with a PocketWizard MiniTT1 or FlexTT5 and the PocketWizard PowerST4. Using this setup enabled him to shoot synced flash shots as speeds from 1/2500 to 1/8000 of a second. Those kinds of speeds enable you to completely freeze any motion you’re likely to encounter at a sporting event.
Bol recommends using the slower “S” head instead of the faster “A” head, stating the slower head with longer flash duration allows faster sync speeds. He shot the above photo with a Nikon D300s at 1/2500, f/7.1 at ISO 200. Here’s a handy chart breaking down the compatibility of the PowerST4 and Elinchrom flash units.
Be sure to check out Bol’s full article for complete details. It’s a great read and promises more dramatic photos to come using this marriage of gear.