HSS

Shooting an Olympic sailor in action using remote high speed sync

This article was originally published on Luminous Landscapes, and is being republished in full on DPReview with express permission from Terry McDonagh.


In January of last year, I was commissioned to shoot some dramatic action shots of an Olympic sailor; however, I did some image research and wasn’t overly impressed by any images I found, so I decided that a good approach would be to try and light the subject and by doing so I could afford to underexpose the available light.

This would help add to the drama, plus in doing so I would be able to get some light into the water spray coming off the boat. In order to get this shot, I needed to freeze the action using a high shutter speed and combine that with flash, so how was I going to achieve all that?

Obviously, I needed to use flash, but I knew I would be shooting at a high shutter speed, so it had to be high-speed sync (HSS). The beauty of HSS is that it allows you to shoot at a high shutter speed whilst still syncing the flash, which was unheard of a few years ago.

I decided that I would use two flashes, both for the extra power and to avoid any redundancy due to the high risk of this particular situation. I was attaching a flash to a boat which could easily capsize, and I was doing it in January when, due to it being 3°C, the batteries weren’t going to last too long. In other words: I was only getting one chance to nail this job, so I had to minimize the chances of anything going wrong.

Flashes facing Starboard

I → continue…

From:: DPreview