TAKE IT FUR­THER Freeze ac­tion with flash

Dis­cover how to stop high-speed ac­tion with hot­shoe flash. Ali Jen­nings shows you how

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

A flash­gun is a su­perb tool for freez­ing high-speed ac­tion, but you need to know what you’re do­ing if you are go­ing to make time stand still with your strobe. Get it right and you can get per­fectly sharp shots, even when your sub­ject is mov­ing very quickly, with­out the need for a su­per-fast shut­ter speed.

In this project we’re go­ing to take a look at how to use fairly sim­ple, af­ford­able equip­ment (a cou­ple of hot­shoe flash­guns and a set of wire­less flash trig­gers) to freeze the ac­tion of a dancer mid-leap.

The se­cret to this tech­nique is us­ing the very short du­ra­tion of the flash – as short as 1/40,000th of a sec­ond. If ev­ery­thing else in the room is dark, the light emit­ted from the flash ef­fec­tively be­comes your cam­era’s shut­ter speed, mak­ing it per­fect for cap­tur­ing mo­tion.

Aside from the cam­era kit and a size­able space, you’ll also need a few other items, in­clud­ing a black back­ground that’s wide enough to give your dancer enough room to al­low her to leap, and a trio of tripods to hold and po­si­tion your strobes and your Nikon D-SLR. We used a black the­atri­cal drape, but a paper roll would do. Al­ter­na­tively, shoot out­doors at night and use the night as your black back­ground… make sure you have plenty of dark empty space.

This tech­nique works with any fast-mov­ing sub­ject. It’s great for tak­ing pic­tures of chil­dren, who will have fun leap­ing for a photo.

So with your strobes at the ready, here’s how to cap­ture the shot.

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