by Samantha Baker
by Samantha Baker
I’m very much a believer in explaining why/how I do the things that I do. When I was first learning about photojournalism, I loved blog posts about the explanation of why and how things were set up. Actually, I still love posts like that (great resources: Strobist and Mad Photo Assistant). I even did one myself awhile back.
Anywho – this post won’t be quite as technically elaborate as that last one. Rather, it was inspired after I caught a student hovering over my light wondering, “what IS that?!”
Well, it was a light. I usually bring two during basketball season. I’m pretty easy to spot considering I look like I’m going to break my back carrying everything all at once – two lights, extension cords, camera bag, laptop, sometimes my enormous purse, etc. I don’t believe in two trips if I can help it.
When I get to a game, I set up my lights and put PocketWizards on to trigger them. There is a transmitter on my camera and a receiver on each light to trigger the flashes.
I do not recommend looking directly at this when it’s fired. Trust me.
The lights are pointed upwards to bounce the light off the ceiling (usually white) so the room is flooded with additional light from above. This makes the light look softer and more natural (usually). At Bud Walton, the lights are actually pointed down at the court, but that’s because they’re so high up, bouncing would be ineffective (plus the ceiling is black).
A) Springdale High School
B) Springdale Har-Ber High School
The light really makes a difference in the quality of images I get (in my opinion). The downside, however, is that I can’t high-drive the shutter on my camera and just click, click, click, away. I only get one good frame and then the lights have to recycle the power before I can shoot again. Usually I’m too early and the better frame is when the lights don’t fire. I hate that.
B) No lights
The additional light prevents me from pushing my ISO/ASA higher and I don’t have to shoot completely open (meaning my f-stop won’t be at 2.8 and and the iris is big as it can get).
A) Natural light (ISO 1600, f/2.8, 1/200)
B) How much extra light is produced with 1 light (same settings as A)
C) Adjusted settings (ISO 500, f/3.5, 1/250)
However, there is a downside. I cannot shoot faster than 1/250 of a second because the lights will not sync at any rate faster (well, I can trick it to 1/320 but that’s a whole other story). If I shoot too quickly, the shutter opens and closes too fast for the light.
A) Shutter at 1/250
B) Shutter at 1/500
Anyways, that’s more or less the reasoning behind the lights, what they are and why they are there. We are always trying to get the best images we can get and sometimes that means adding some extra light.