Ah yes, it’s that time again. That time where everyone is talking about college basketball, and hockey playoffs are in full swing. I’ve never had much interest in college basketball, nor did I have any interest in taking this class I took this semester. However, after talking with my friend from my previous class at Langara, she convinced me to take Sports and Motion with Christopher Morris, a fantastic teacher with a wealth of experience in the sports industry. After much convincing, I decieded even though I didn’t want to become a sports photographer, it would be great to pick his brain and intake his vast wealth of knowledge. Our instructor Christopher Morris, has shot at the most recent Olympic games in Sochi, continues to shoot for the Vancouver Whitecaps, and Vancouver Canadians Baseball team. Check out his work here:
Without further ado, I’ll break down each assignment and my lighting setup. Now for those who aren’t photographers and won’t understand my lingo, please just go ahead and enjoy the pictures.
Assignment 1: Liquid Motion Photography
For this particular assignment we were using our speedlght to freeze motion. In order to do this, we needed to use a high enough aperature and a low enough ISO to make sure ambient light didn’t play a factor in our picture. Using our speedlight, we needed to shoot in manual mode, and using about 1/32 and higher power, to make sure our flash duration was fast enough to capture the motion ( in my case the olives dropping and the water splashing). My original idea was was to burn alcohol and pour it in a glass and attempt to capture the motion of ” liquid fire”. However, after attempting it in my kitchen, and almost buring my setup, I realized it wasn’t the best idea trying to do it in class. So instead, I used my backup plan which was to drop olives in a martini glass and capture the liquid motion of the splash.
Settings: F/4.0 , ISO: 50, Shutter Speed: 1/200, Shot with Nikon D800 and Sb600 Speedlight: Camera left triggered by pocket wizards. My failed attempt at home. As you can tell the liquid fire spilled on to my setup.
Assignment 2- Skateboarding at Leeside Park
Our second assignment, was to use the technique from our first assignment. Using our strobes to freeze our subject. One of the troubles we faced early on using Nikon’s wireless commander mode, was that we couldn’t fire our second strobe placed behind our subject. After a bit of problem solving we realized we couldn’t fire the backlight ( light behind our subject) since our subject was covering the signal (Transmitter). After a bit of problem solving, our instructor attatched two wireless TTL cords. We used one of our speedlights as a transmitter which was placed on camera left, using that to trigger the backlight. After trial and error I finally got the shot.
Settings: F/8.0, Shutter Speed 1/250, ISO 400, Nikon D800, Nikon 24mm-70mm ( shot at 24mm)
Assignment 3- Dancers
Our third assignment combined everything from our first two assignments. However, this time around we mixed in ambient light to create some motion blur. Using slow shutter speeds, panning and strobe units ( power packs) we created double exposures and motion blurs.
F/ 8.0 , ISO 250, Shutter Speed 0.4 seconds, Shot with Nikon 24-70mm ( shot at 42mm), triggered by pocket wizards, edited in photoshop. For this particular photo I let the strobe freeze the subjects face, but set my shutter speed at half a second to allow ambient to create some motion blur. One continuous light on the left, with one flagged stobe on camera right. We were shooting this in a dark gym, hence why the continuous light was needed to blur our subject. F/ 8.0, Shutter Speed 1/250, ISO 320, Shot with Nikon 24-70mm ( 38mm), Nikon D800. Two light setup with softbox ( softbox strip) on both sides flagged to prevent lens flare. F/8.0, Shutter Speed 1/250, ISO 250, Shot with 24-70mm ( 50mm), Nikon D800, Two light setup angled at 45 degrees hitting white background. Similar to the first photo, I merged 3 images in photoshop to create this image.
Assignment 4- World Cup of Fencing
The Peter Bakonyi Coupe Du Monde World of Fencing was a three day competition held at the Richmond Oval. Our instructor, being filled with connections got us media passes to the event. This being the first time I’ve watched a high level competition of fencing, it was a great ending with the Swiss team having an epic come back against Ukraine. For this assignment, we were required to do a photo journalistic style, shooting with only ambient light.
F /7.1, Shutter 1/8 sec, ISO 80, 24-70mm ( shot at 24mm) F/ 2.8, Shutter Speed 1/1250, ISO 3200, 24-70mm ( shot at 24mm) F/ 2.8, Shutter Speed 1/1000 sec, ISO 6400, 70-200mm ( shot at 78mm) The player on the Swiss team that single handedly, defeated Ukraine in the last set.
Assignment 5- Gymnastic
With each athlete specializing in different equipments, each group had to setup lights for each athlete. We then, had the opportunity to walk around and photograph each athlete. Again using only strobes we had to freeze our subject, similar to assignments 1 and 2.
f/16, Shutter Speed 1/250, ISO 200, Shot with 70-200mm ( at 70mm), Nikon D800 Shot with one strobe on camera left straight at the athlete. f/16, Shutter Speed 1/160 sec, ISO 100, Shot with 24-70mm ( at 35mm), Nikon D800 ? Shot with one strobe behind subject triggered by pocket wizard.
Assignment 6- Mountain Biking
With the freedom to use everything we learned, we had no restirctions for this assignment. We were free to choose whatever method we wanted to as long as it resembled some sort of motion. Hiking up on rainy day at Seymour Mountain, with thousands of dollar of gear is a sign of how far photographers are willing to go to get some good shots. Here’s the best pics from the day!
F/11, Shutter 1/25, ISO 4000, 24-70mm ( shot at 35mm) For this image, I used a slow shutter speed, while panning ( following the subject) which creates the motion blur of the background while the subject is slightly sharp enough. F/5.6, Shutter Speed 1/250, ISO 1000, 24-70mm ( shot at 24mm), two speedlights on pocket wizards. One speed light on camera right, and one behind subject on camera left. F/ 4.5, Shutter Speed 1/200 second, ISO 3000. Again using two speedlights. One on camera left behind the tree and one on camera right beside me using manual mode. Only using ambient light here. F/ 2.8, Shutter 1/640, ISO 4000, shot 24-70mm ( shot at 24mm)
Well, that sums up my last 3 months in class. It was an eventful class full of things applicable to weddings which is what I continue to strive for in the upcoming year. Although hesitant at first about this class, I have no regrets.If anyone is thinking about taking classes at Langara, I highly recommend it. The teachers are great and full of knowledge, and the amount of shoots you get to do is awesome. Let me know what you think!