Last night I met up with some of the local talent at Mont Ripley to see if we could come up with anything interesting. I have to say… shooting jumps is a little more difficult than I initially thought. I’ve had a hard time finding a good vantage point that provides a good perspective of the skier and has a clean yet interesting background. Anyway, last night I arrived at the hill hoping that the lip of the jump would be high enough that I would be able to include both the take off and landing in the photo with the use of really wide angle lens. Fortunately, if I put my tripod down really low and backed up right against the bottom of the take-off lip there was just enough coverage to include everything.
After finding a good spot for my camera I then set up two lightstands each with two sb26’s firing at full power with the hope that they would be powerful enough to help underexpose the sky a bit and create some separation between the skier and the sky. Also, underexposing the sky helps to saturate the blues and other colors that were constantly changing on the horizon.
After a couple of runs I left my lights where they were, grabbed the 70-200 and moved behind the jump in order to frame the skier against the Houghton side of the canal. The images from this location turned out pretty well also, but it took a couple of runs to get the composition right. I wanted to shoot pretty tight, keeping the top of the jump in the bottom left-hand side of the frame. The first couple of images had the skier jumping out of the frame and it took about three tries before I had found a safe composition that allowed for the differences in trajectory of the three guys that were throwing down for the camera.
I had a lot of fun working with Craig, Mark, and the other guy… sorry I am blanking on his name. Hopefully, we will make it out a couple more times before the season is over. I’d really like to knock out some more images and try some more stuff. In a lot of my images I’m noticing a significant amount of motion blur. I think this may be because the ambient light is still pretty strong and 1/250 second shutter speed really isn’t fast enough to freeze a skier flying and spinning through the air. As things got darker the blur seemed to go away. Now, my strobes at full power have a duration of around 1/1000 of a second and this might not be enough to freeze the poles, but it should be enough to capture a clean image of the skier’s face/body/skis. The blurring in the later photos I think is due to bad focus. When we were taking those images it was quite dark and I was using my light stands as reference points to focus on and not being in the same plane as the skier made for less than stellar sharpness.
There’s always something to learn, and things to improve.
Well, more biking at Ripley in the AM tomorrow!