Friday, November 02, 2012
Action on Location: Pro Lighting that’s so Portable!
In this lesson, Canadian photographer Trevor Sherwin demonstrates some straightforward techniques in capturing stunning action shots on location. In the behind-the-scenes video, Trevor discusses the merits of the Photoflex TritonFlash Kit and why it's important to have a strobe system with a short flash duration, with ample power and with the ability to power additional speed lights.
Here's one of my favorites results from the shoot:
A Few Additional Notes
There are a few relatively unknown features of the TritonFlash battery that really make it a versatile tool. First off, when you plug in two TritonFlash heads, the power output (300w/s) to each head remains the same. With virtually all other battery operated systems I’ve tried, there is an output compromise whereby the pack itself has a maximum of say 400w/s but that 400w/s has to be divided by both heads. Not with the TritonFlash. Each head can still be operated at full power and also the recycle time remains the same. Pretty good if you want to pack lightly and only take one battery.
The other feature I find very useful is that you can power a speedlite with a high voltage port from the TritonFlash battery and it reduces the recycle time to about 1.5 seconds at full power. I’ve used this a number of times shooting the odd event where I needed the TTL of a speedlite on camera but couldn’t wait 4 seconds for my flash to recycle. Be aware, though, that you can eventually burn out your speedlite if you run it too fast for too long, so be careful.
The TritonFlash also comes with 10’ extension cables for each head, so for this shoot I took advantage of that to power my speedlite. The speedlite was linked to the 5’ OctoDomes’s battery by two extension cables. I’ve been told that any more than 3 extension cables and the resistance becomes too high and affects performance. For me, that's fine. 25 feet is a very acceptable distance to work with (10’ extension + 10’ extension + 5’ power lead).
Final Thoughts on Flash Duration
Have a look at the final image below with the enlarged view of the tire on the bike. This is actually what I was going for in the shoot. Yes, I had to capture a cool shot of Mike blasting down the hill, but more importantly I needed to show the benefits of a short flash duration. If you look at the text on the tires you can still read it clearly. If you think about it, the tire is the fastest moving element in this image and the TritonFlash stopped it, no problem.
If you photograph anything that has movement, like sports, dance or even simple things like hair blowing in the wind, flash duration is a very important feature you need to look for. I’ve used lights in the past that obviously had a relatively poor flash duration and my images never seemed as sharp as they could have been when movement was involved. So when you’re buying a lighting kit make sure you look for the T.1 flash duration of the light.
Written and photographed by Trevor Sherwin
To see more of Trevor's work, visit www.phototrevor.ca