Flash that splash

Freeze mu­si­cians in mo­tion with just a pop of the flash, and add a splash of wa­ter for ex­cite­ment. Ja­son Par­nell-Brookes con­ducts the fun

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Con­tin­u­ing the ac­tion, see how to freeze mu­si­cians in mo­tion with just a pop of the flash­gun and a lit­tle wa­ter to em­pha­sise the move­ment

Freez­ing ac­tion is all about us­ing a fast shut­ter speed, right? Wrong. You don’t need that 1/4000 sec shut­ter speed to cap­ture all of the de­tail in a scene. Just a pop of the flash will freeze any move­ment in your im­age, so long as you com­bine it with the sync speed of the flash. Most Speed­lights have aflash du­ra­tion/out­put length of 1/30000 sec at 1/256 power to 1/980 sec at full power out­put, so the ac­tion is frozen faster than the shut­ter speed it­self.

You can use flash­guns to get dy­namic ac­tion shots that con­vey a sense of move­ment. With our samba drum­mer here placed cen­tre stage, flash­guns at the sides high­light the wa­ter splashes com­ing off the drum, giv­ing the por­trait a car­ni­val feel. A front-on light also il­lu­mi­nates the drum­mer, who’s in front of a plain, dark back­drop.

Us­ing this many off-cam­era flash­guns may seem daunt­ing, but we’ll take it one step at a time to make sure you’re con­fi­dent that each light is per­fectly po­si­tioned and bal­anced.

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