Posts Tagged ‘sports photography’

Tandem Lighting Setups Using SpeedCycler On A Recent SI Photo Shoot

Alexis Cuarezma is a portrait photographer with a specialty in photographing sports figures. Considering the fact he’s named after Alexis Arguello, a three-time world champion boxer from his native Nicaragua, and studied art, graphic design, and photography at California State University at East Bay, this shouldn’t be a big surprise.

Barely a decade into his career, Alexis Cuarezma is an alumnus of the Eddie Adams Workshop (Barnstorm XXIV), and counts the LA Times, the NY Times, Sports Illustrated, HBO, Ring Magazine, SEEN, Boxing News, Fighting Fit, and other publications among his current client roster.

Cuarezma has always been fascinated with light, and as a photographer, he aims to control it to the best of his abilities in the studio as well as on location. While he appreciates the qualities of available light, the images Alexis Cuarezma captures for his clients require more than a click of his heels and a Hail Mary shout-out – they have to be lit.

Alexis Cuarezma honed his photographic skills early on by photographing his kid brother and his little league teammates. In short time he began shooting boxers at their respective gyms, which lighting-wise are as dismal as it gets. In Alexis’ case, this was in his favor – he preferred to light the ring his own way.

Cuarezma’s dramatic lighting techniques ultimately came to the attention of Brad Smith, Director of Photography at Sports Illustrated, who he met at the Eddie Adams Workshop. It was through Brad that one of Alexis’s biggest dreams came true – an assignment from Sports Illustrated.

The ‘good news, bad news’ part of the story is that while Smith loved Alexis’s lighting style, the shot he needed of Stanford University’s Shayne Skov (since drafted as a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers!) was going to be silhouetted and had to be shot against a medium-gray background. Brad’s instructions were basically “You’re going to have to get a grey seamless. You know how to light well, keep it simple and have fun.” For Cuarezma the fun part of it would have been to shoot it his own way. And that’s where PocketWizard radio triggers came into play.

Alexis happened to be on the market for new radio transmitters. The ones he had been using were not reliable when he needed them most, and even when they did work, they were limited in what they could do. The features and user reviews of the PocketWizard MultiMAX caught his attention, most notably its SpeedCycler feature.

SpeedCycler makes it possible to shoot studio flash flat-out at up to 10 frames-per-second by syncing with multiple flash units that can be triggered in a rapid, alternating sequence.  This enables him to capture high-power strobe-lit action sequences far faster than he’d be able to shoot with a single light source.

alexis 5

On the left is the lighting setup I drew out to figure out how many PocketWizard radios I would need and where to place them. On the right is how the drawing looked like in real life

 

But Cuarezma had a different take on the SpeedCycler feature. Rather than using the SpeedCycler feature to trigger identical lighting setups, Cuarezma’s idea was to light and capture the shot according to Smith’s direction – gray background and all, immediately followed by a second exposure that would trigger a second set of lights set up the way he saw the shot in his mind’s eye.

Cuarezma knew his time with Skov would be limited, and if he wanted to please his client – which he did, and please his own creative itch, which he also wanted to do, he would have to go beyond the framework of a conventional portrait shoot.

alexis 4

Cuarezma’s Canon 1D Mk IV can capture up to 10 frames-per-second, or one exposure every 100 milliseconds. Theoretically, by incorporating a PocketWizard MultiMAX radio trigger and four PocketWizard Plus III’s into the equation, he could capture two separate exposures in 200 milliseconds – one exposure lit as per his instructions against the gray background immediately followed by a second exposure lit in a lighting style Alexis Cuarezma can proudly call his own.

alexis 6

Two of the many ”ping-pong- lighting sequences Alexis Cuarezma shot in two frame-per-second bursts, each triggering it’s own lighting set-up. The bottom left shot is the one that ran across a double-page spread in Sports Illustrated. And yes, it’s not against a plain gray background – it’s the shot Alexis lit his own way.

 

After a series of false starts and a firmware update for his Plus III Transceivers, Alexis was set to go, and the accompanying images say it all.

As for the payoff, Sports IIlustrated was delighted with the results of Cuarezma’s first time out on assignment, and they ultimately ran one of his ‘renegade’ images across two pages. And in this business it really doesn’t get better than that.

Alexis 1

The image as it appeared in Sports Illustrated.

 

See how Alexis Cuarezma lit his Sports Illustrated spread using two entirely different lighting setups and PocketWizard’s SpeedCycler feature here.

To see more of Alexis Cuarezma’s work, check out his website.

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Alexis Cuarezma all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without written permission.

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Dylan Coulter Photographed These Olympians Back in July

THE MAKING OF THE CITI SOCHI WINTER OLYMPIC CAMPAIGN PHOTO SHOOTClick on link for a Behind the Scenes look at the photo shoot.

Brooklyn-based photographer Dylan Coulter has made a name for himself creating iconic portraits of athletes, models, and other notables. For the past two years he has also been the person responsible for photographing the Citibank Winter Olympic Teams (last year he shot the London-bound teams, this year the Sochi-bound teams), a position he takes great pride in. “It was a real honor to be called back for a second year” says Dylan, and you can tell by the tone in his voice, he means it.

01-WinterOlympics

Evan Lysacek – 2010 Olympic Gold Medalist – Figure Skating © Dylan Coulter

Unlike most Olympic photographers who had to journey to Sochi to earn their paychecks, Dylan Coulter had to make his magic in a four day window of time about seven months earlier in the New York metropolitan area. His original plan was to take the athletes to venues that at the very least approximated the appearance of the sports each of the athletes excelled at, but due to the logistics of shooting the entire team in a short window of time, that idea was nixed. So it was off to the studio.

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Billy Demong – 2010 Olympic Gold Medalist – Nordic Combined © Dylan Coulter

Rather than build elaborate sets or shoot against backdrops that somehow suggest the type of sports the athletes participate in, Dylan decided to go bare-bones by shooting each of them against white backgrounds. Some images with little more than strips of gaffers tape on the floor for positioning purposes. Dylan also shot portraits of each of the athletes close-up and full-body for other applications in the Citibank campaign.

19-WinterOlympics

Dan Jensen – 1994 Olympic Gold Medalist – Speed Skating © Dylan Coulter

Perhaps the strongest and most difficult photographs he captured were the simulated multiple exposure sequences, a style he originated on a project for ESPN Magazine. Unlike traditional multiple exposure pictures in which a single movement is captured at set intervals on the same exposure, Coulter’s simulated multiple exposure sequences are made up of individual posed images that are lit and composed one at a time and pieced together in post production.

Ted Ligety - 2014 Olympic Gold Medalist - Alpine Skiing  © Dylan Coulter

Ted Ligety – 2014 Olympic Gold Medalist – Alpine Skiing © Dylan Coulter

If it seems like a demandingly complex workflow, you’re right, but the final images are stunningly perfect at each stage of the final photograph. “Getting the form right was a big challenge, and the athletes were real troopers and performed as professionals” as they went through their paces, often repeatedly. The athletes also served as consultants in a sense when they reviewed the images, making sure each frame captured the proper form, attitude, and body English.

09-WinterOlympics

Julie Chu – 2002, 2010, 2014 Olympic Silver Medalist – Women’s Ice Hockey – © Dylan Coulter

Dylan Coulter views the athletes he was hired to photograph like he views other photographers and others who practice crafts that require training and discipline, “It’s always exciting to see the differences in form between athletes, the way they run, pitch, serve a ball, there side arms, overhand, and I try to represent each of these professional athletes authentically.”

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Julie Chu – 2002, 2010, 2014 Olympic Silver Medalist – Women’s Ice Hockey – © Dylan Coulter

“My PocketWizard Plus III remote triggers were instrumental in getting me through this assignment. They didn’t only trigger the lights, but in several shots they triggered an overhead camera we rigged for some birds-eye view photographs we shot. I know it’s been said before, but being able to work wirelessly makes life so much easier.”

To see more of Dylan Coulter’s photographic work visit his website or Facebook page.

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Dylan Coulter, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without written permission.

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Jaleel King Defines His Moments

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 8.20.01 PMDefining moments are part of life and they typically arrive with little if any warning, and at any time, day or night. Jaleel King’s life-defining moment came to him at the age of eight in the form of an errant shotgun blast that left him in a wheelchair.

Fast-forward about 30 years and Jaleel still faces obstacles, though these days his obstacles have to do with not having the right lens on his camera when he needs it, or not being able to get high or low enough to get the angle just right. In other words, many of the obstacles Jaleel deals with on a workday basis are the same obstacles other photographers regularly deal with… minus the wheelchair.

Jadore Bleu was photographed using  Lighting AB800s in the back on slave with an AB800 with a beauty dish beauty dish as key synced to a PocketWizard FlexTT5  Camera: Canon 40D with PocketWizard MiniTT1.

Jadore Bleu was photographed using AlienBees B800s in the back on slave with an AlienBees B800 with a beauty dish as key synced to a PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceiver.
Camera: Canon 40D with PocketWizard MiniTT1 radio trigger. © Jaleel King

 

 

 

 

 

 
Jaleel King’s work is a mix of street journalism, weddings, and studio portraiture that are striking to say the least, especially considering his journey to this point in his life. Take a browse through his website or Facebook page and you’ll discover a person who is hasn’t allowed a life-altering incident stop him from pursuing his love of photography. In the studio or in the street, Jaleel King has taken life by the gonads and run with it.

Portraits lit with a PCB - Einstein with a PocketWizard PowerMC2 unit inside of a Wescott 50" Apollo  and two Canon 600EX Speedlites synced to PocketWizard FlexTT5s Camera: Canon EOS 1D MK IV with PocketWizard MiniTT1 and AC3.

Portraits lit with a Paul C. Buff Einstein E640 flash with a PocketWizard PowerMC2 Receiver inside of a Wescott 50″ Apollo and two Canon 600EX Speedlites synced to PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceivers.
Camera: Canon EOS 1D MK IV with PocketWizard MiniTT1 radio trigger and AC3 ZoneController. © Jaleel King

The idea of wireless flash always appealed to Jaleel King because as he puts it “wheelchairs and cables are a bad mix”. Initially self-taught, for a long time King was unaware of the existence of wireless flash. It wasn’t until he had an opportunity to be on set at a ‘real’ photo shoot that it all came together. For the first time he was able to see how equipment and trained talent can work together to create truly professional photographs. And in his particular case, knowing he could do away with cables – one of the banes of his photographic existence, was all he needed to hear.  From that moment on King knew this is what he wanted to do and nothing would stop him.

KP Morgan

© Jaleel King

Jaleel’s lighting system is a mixed bag. Being a Canon man, his system includes Canon 580EX II & 600EX-RT Speedlites, AlienBees B800s, Einstein E60′s, and an assortment of beauty dishes, reflectors, and umbrellas. Depending on the circumstances, his PocketWizard arsenal includes MiniTT1 Transmitters,  Flex TT5 Transceivers,  PowerMC2 Receivers, and AC3 ZoneControllers.

One of a series of portraits for HelpPortrait_2011. Lighting: Canon 580EXII Speedlites on background with PocketWizard FlexTT5. Main light is an Alien Bee 1600 inside a Wescott 24" Apollo with a PocketWizard FlexTT5 and an AC9. Camera: Canon EOS 1D MK IV with a PocketWizard MiniTT1 and an AC3.

One of a series of portraits for HelpPortrait_2011.
Lighting: Canon 580EX II Speedlites in background with PocketWizard FlexTT5′s. Main light is an AlienBees B1600 inside a Wescott 24″ Apollo with a PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceiver and an AC9 AlienBees Adapter.
Camera: Canon EOS 1D MK IV with a PocketWizard MiniTT1 Transmitter and an AC3 ZoneController. © Jaleel King

Lamarr was photographed from 'the Rig' using a Lighting AB1600 with a standard reflector coupled to a PocketWizard FlexTT5 and an AC9. His Canon EOS 1D MK IV was coupled to a PocktWizard MiniTT1 and an AC3.

Lamarr was photographed from ‘the Rig’ using a
AlienBees B1600 with a standard reflector coupled to a PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceiver and an AC9 AlienBees Adapter. His Canon EOS 1D MK IV was coupled to a PocktWizard MiniTT1 Transmitter and an AC3. © Jaleel King

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PocketWizard radios were not Jaleel’s first choice of remote triggers, but it didn’t take long to figure out why the pros all seemed to be using PocketWizards, and these days PocketWizard radios are the only brand he takes on assignment.

‘The RIG’ as Jaleel calls it, is essentially a rolling studio with a compact wireless lighting system Jaleel is currently piecing together. The way Jaleel describes it ” I originally thought it would be uber sweet to have a rolling studio so I can do some unique and experimental street work on my own with a light setup ready to go.

As a means of taking control of the light outdoors as easily as he does in the  studio, Jaleel is currently prototyping his 'Rig", a studio on wheels so-to-speak.

As a means of taking control of the light outdoors as easily as he does in the studio, Jaleel is currently prototyping his ‘Rig”, a studio on wheels so-to-speak. © Jaleel King

“With help from local camera shops, we came up with this Frankenstein contraption that I could attach to my wheelchair. It’s a Manfrotto boom stand with the legs taken off that is attached to my wheelchair with about 4 super clamps and a magic arm. For lighting I was using an AlienBees B1600 with a FlexTT5 Transceiver and an AC9 AlienBees Adapter.  I used an AC3 ZoneController to control the power output from my MiniTT1 Transmitter.  I used a Vagabond Mini to power my strobe.”

The RIG is a work in progress and Jaleel is in the midst of tweaking details having to do with weight distribution and not having enough surface area on the wheelchair to keep it from shifting as he moves about. These are minor issues he hopes to iron out soon and there’s little doubt
he will. Now if only he could figure out how to avoid getting the boom arm stuck in low-hanging branches life would be sweet.

 

To see more of Jaleel King’s work and/or contact him go to his Facebook page, his website, or email him at jaleel@jaleelking.com

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Jaleel King, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without written permission.

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Walter Van Dusen Gets Ready for Hannah’s Big Day

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 10.58.47 PMThe contact page of Walter van Dusen’s website features a picture of his daughter with a caption that reads “Every wedding that I photograph is preparing for my daughter Hannah’s wedding. That’s how important your wedding is to me”. And he means it. Some photographers approach weddings as cookie-cutter catalog work. New England-based Walter van Dusen approaches weddings with a passion.

With 20 years as a correction officer under his belt, Walter has the steely nerves required to deal with the heightened emotions and meltdowns that often go hand-in-hand with wedding days. Careful to avoid repetitive grip and grin-ish wedding photography, van Dusen makes a conscious effort to spend up-front time in order to get to know the soon-to-be-married couple, and sometimes their families and significant others in their lives.

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 10.58.52 PM (more…)

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Patric Söderström on Sports and Remote Coverage

Patric Söderström is well-prepared. His clients, which include Sweden’s biggest news agency, T.T. Nyhetsbyran, and two soccer teams, Mjällby AIF and Kalmar F.F., know when they hire Söderström, he’s going to get the shots they want. Armed with a veritable arsenal of Nikon bodies, lenses, and PocketWizard radio triggers, Söderström is able to cover an entire field of action with a mere press of one button. Here’s what he wanted to share with us regarding his sports photography.

©Patric Söderström

©Patric Söderström

The photo above is a penalty shot during a game between Kalmar FF and Brommapojkarnas IF in Sweden’s highest league, Allsvenskan. It was the last game Kalmar FF’s goalkeeper Etrit Berisha played before getting transfered to S.S. Lazio in the Italian Serie A. Kalmar was down one goal, 1-2, when they got a penalty kick in the closing minutes of the game. Etrit Berisha stepped up and scored, making the game a draw. During the game he had executed some insane saves, and here he saved another point for his team. A great way for him to say goodbye to the fans. It was shot at Kalmar FF’s home stadium, Guldfageln Arena, in Kalmar. I arrived at the arena about 60 minutes before kickoff.

I got lucky with the shot since he placed the ball in the corner of the goal where I had my Nikon D800. It only shoots four frames per second but when you get the shot, you can really crop a lot to get to the intensity of the picture.

(more…)

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A.J. Messier’s Damian Warner Shoot

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

©AJ Messier-Hogtown Studios, Toronto, Canada

Subject:

  • 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.

(more…)

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Making Waves, 4 October 2013

making_waves_logoMaking Waves is a weekly round-up of current posts featuring PocketWizard products.

 

Brazilian photographer Pablo Vaz has recently been featured on Portal Photos. To freeze a variety of fast-action sports, Pablo relies on his PocketWizard MiniTT1® and FlexTT5® radio triggers.

Stay tuned for a feature story on Pablo and his work to appear on the PocketWizard blog. Until then, learn more about him at his blog500px, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

pablo

©Pablo Vaz

(more…)

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Riding High for John Rathwell

Canadian photographer John Rathwell is best known for his sports shooting. He’s the kind of artist who prefers capturing a kayak being piloted through rapids over a pitcher waiting for a signal, a surfer in frigid waters over a soccer match, or a closeup of a skateboard humming on blacktop over a golfer walking to the next tee. He recently was kind enough to explain how he got the below photo of mountain biker Felix Wilberg. Here’s Rathwell’s own account of how the shoot came together.

©John Rathwell

Felix Wilberg as photographed by John Rathwell. ©John Rathwell

Here is a shot of downhill mountain bike sensation Felix Wilberg at Camp Fortune in Chelsea, Quebec. The goal going into this shoot was to come out with something really showing the speed and intensity these guys come into banked turns with. I find the sense of motion is left out in action sports photos way too often, and, with flash, it’s so easy to have motion and still keep your subject sharp. The flash duration will freeze your subject, but the ambient light will still continue to absorb into the sensor.

My first few attempts at the shot where at 1/50th of a second and the background was put into an abstract blur. I didn’t realize how fast these guys actually come into the corners. I ended up moving up to 1/100th of a second for the shot to get just the right amount of motion blur in the background.

(more…)

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Jack Haley’s Photojournalism and PocketWizard

Photojournalist Jack Haley of MPNnow.com and the Messenger Post Newspapers regularly incorporates PocketWizard radio technology into his daily assignments. Rarely knowing what subject matter and conditions he’s going to find before his arrival, his PocketWizard Plus® II radios are still an integral part of his gear, helping him capture everything from sports action frozen in place to impressive environmental portraits. He recently shared information with us on shoots he completed for “Spring Sports Stars.”

Jack Haley/Messenger Post Co-Player of the Year Tommy Wagner of Victor, New York. ©Jack Haley/Messenger Post Newspapers

Co-Player of the Year Tommy Wagner of Victor, New York. ©Jack Haley/Messenger Post Newspapers

This baseball player’s action portrait was shot at 1/320 with a Nikon D300s and two Nikon SB-80DX flashes. No diffusers were used.

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Remote Cameras Behind Home Plate with the Los Angeles Angels

© Matt Brown

© Matt Brown

Over on The Halo Way, the official photo blog of the Los Angeles Angels, photographer Jordan Murph has put together an educational post on how he and team photographer Matt Brown use remote cameras during games and what you’ll need to set one up yourself.

Why use a remote camera for sports photography? Lots of reasons! “They provide us with different angles from our hand held cameras in case we get blocked,” Jordan writes, “and they can give a unique view from a location that is impossible to physically photograph from, or they can just provide extra coverage.”

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