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Thread: Fill flash in daylight for skateboarding

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    Fill flash in daylight for skateboarding

    Hi, I've been taking lots of photo's at the skatepark (and the streets) of skateboarding but have run into a couple problems.

    To start off I was using faster shutter speeds (1/1000 and above) to freeze the action going on. This worked out great, although at times, there was shadowing being placed on the faces of the subjects, and hats and caps weren't helping either.

    So the next step was to get flashes involved. After reading, i found out that my D90 had a flash Sync speed of 1/200. So I've set my Shutter speed accordingly. (which worked great on the streets and in shade etc)

    My problem is, that when i was taking photos at the skatepark today, in full sunlight, I set my camera to f11, 1/200 and had a flash firing. I have found that parts of the subject have motion blur.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/timatah/5056443476/

    Could anyone suggest how i could go about getting rid of the motion blur in full sunlight using flashes to fill?
    D90 gripped ,18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 VR 50mm F/ 1.8, 55-200mm F/4.5-5.6 VR Rokinon 8mm f/ 3.5 fisheye, SB-400 3x YN-460 II
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    Have you tried Auto FP (High speed flash sync)? Not sure how well it works, but apparently you loose a fair bit of flash output due to how it works (I think I read it fires quickly multiple times so cannot fire with a lot of power each time). Your signature indicates you have SB400 which I'm not entirely sure supports Auto FP anyway (someone will confirm or not I'm sure).
    Have: Nikon D90; Tamron 17-50mm 2.8; Tokina 50-135mm 2.8; Tamron 18-270 'alphabet' lens; Nikkor 50mm 1.8; 1x Nikon SB-600; 3x Yongnuo YN560 flash, 1x Yongnuo YN465 flash.

    Want: Tamron 90mm 2.8 macro;

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    Yeah, i've been reading about that. I only use the Sb-400 for casual stuff. I've been using my 3x yn460ii's for the skate shots. Would they support Auto FP? To my understanding it allows you to use a faster shutter speed?

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    From what I can tell, no, you need an SB600 or up for Auto FP.

    SB600's are getting pretty cheap now, relative to what they used to be I guess, about $250 grey market and SB900's less than $500.

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    Yeah, I have thought of getting the sb series. but due to skateboards knocking over flash stands regularly, i've been a little bit scared of putting the money into something better.

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    With a shutter speed so slow for action, what you really need is less ambient light, so the subject isn't exposed so quickly, but more importantly, a faster flash duration. I haven't looked at the specs for the SB-400, but the duration may be too long. To help with ambient light you can dial a smaller aperture (larger F-number), but then you get somewhat increased DOF which for these shots is not always desirable.

    A ND filter will reduce light entering through the lens and allow a larger aperture (smaller F-number) while controlling the ambient light, and perhaps assisting the freezing of the action. If you find your max sync speed of 1/200th is close to the metered ambient and not quite bright enough to warrant the ND filter, remember your friend ISO, you can always drop it by 1 stop and that will about 1/2 your 1/200 shutter speed.

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    The filter was a good idea, but I just realised I can't get a filter on the fisheye. (although, it may be a good idea for me to shoot with the 50mm and using the ND)
    I have had a good think about it, and the best way for me to take the shot is to wait until the afternoon when there is less light.

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    After discussing this with a friend who also takes photos in a similar environment, he suggest the flash possision being too close to the subject causing "flash Blur". I am not familiar with this idea, but is there any legitimacy behind it?

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    The issue is overpowering the ambient, if yiu are closer with the flash it makes it easier to do that, Ive not heard of flash blur by being too close

    Checked out strobist ?
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    Hey Tim

    From what I understand (I could be wrong), flash freezes movement at speeds of around 1/1000 of a sec. Therefore it would be the total opposite and rather your flash isn't close enough and isn't reaching/ freezing the all (the blurred part) of the subject.

    Just what I have read- was either on AP of POTN

    Good luck
    Sam

    EDIT:

    Just read Kiwi's post, Would the ambient sunlight be 'fighting' against that of the flash? So the more contast (in regards to the amount of light) between the ambient sunlight (darker) and your flash (brighter) will achieve better results?
    Last edited by Sambo; 07-10-2010 at 7:30pm.
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    Thanks guys.
    My first suspicions were that my flash wasn't powerful/close enough in full sunlight to freeze the movement. Which is what Darren has suggested.

    It confuses me a little. Since at the skate park, in daylight, there is so much light and reflective light.
    Would this mean, I should be trying to over power the ambient light in order to freeze motion. And doing this without over exposing the subject in such harsh conditions.

    I think the easiest method is to shoot at a later time in the day, but on this occasion, my subject was shredding and gave me the chance to capture it in 2 attempts.

    I think I better head over to strobist for a long read.

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    Ok

    Couple of points I hope will help

    A) your sync speed is 1/200s....if you shoot at 1/200s then you will get motion blur. The flash will freeze action only if it overpowers the bright ambient, otherwise yes, there will be a bit of blur...not necessarily a bad thing by the way

    B) it's going to be really hard to get an exposure at 1/200s in bright light...try it without flash

    C) so, high speed sync allows you to increase shutter speed, but to avoid curtain striping on the exposure it pulses the flash decreasing the power output dramatically....so often you'll find shooters using 4 or more speed lights at the same time to get once again enough power to overpower the ambient


    Or d) shoot in diffused or less light

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    Great shots, but I have no idea what shredding is, apart from what would happen to my knees if I tried that stuff.
    Maybe a reflector would be a better weapon than a flash without high sync.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolffman View Post
    Great shots, but I have no idea what shredding is, apart from what would happen to my knees if I tried that stuff.
    HAHAHA LOL.
    Yeah, Shredding as in skating amazing. I was thinking of ways to describe shredding and this is what came into my head. "Ripping" "Tearing it up" "Destroying" "Killing it" but i figured that wouldn't have helped either.

    Reflector is a good idea too.

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    Adelaide has a skate park at one end of the airport runway with a big vertical half pipe which is easily 2-3m high (check me out with my youfspeak. I'll pull my trousers half down and turn my cap sideways.)
    I reckon it would be possible to take a shot from the bottom of a skater doing something at the top with a plane going directly overhead. With a longer lens it would be possible to compress the perspective and get the skater and the plane close to the same size.

    With a reasonable reflector you can probably increase your shutter speed even more and really get the skater to stand out from the background. It depends if your mates are happy to get dazzled

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