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11-22-2009, 10:50 PM   #1
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Is flash syc. possible issue in action photograpy

OK.... here is the issue. Or maybe it is not an issue?
I have a k20d and k10d. This winter a plan on taking a lot of photos of youth hockey for fund raising at our local hockey association.
Taking action of the smaller kids is no big deal....... but with the high school kids it gets to be a pretty fast game. Some kids have slap shots pushing 70mph and skate at speed of 25mph. Plus, you have stick movement that becomes very fast due to leverage.
My only self suggested solution (maybe) is to use the slowest ISO and crank up the power on the flash (might have to plug it into a 3phase tranformer). I also have 3 pretty powerful AC slaves. This in theory should minumize possible blurring of action due to arena lighting.
Is this the right track or did I derail?

11-22-2009, 11:52 PM   #2
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Hi there.

Use the *highest* ISO figures you can tolerate for the noise you get - and your K20D will be better than the K10D for this. The higher the sensitivity, the faster the shutter speed permitted.
Then consider the biggest aperture (and consequently, the smallest depth of field) you can tolerate for the best results, and you'll find you may not even need flash.

But if you want to be sure, switch to a high sync speed flash, even with the high ISO and large aperture, and see if you get the results you're after.
11-23-2009, 09:51 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by mtdevlin1954 Quote
OK.... here is the issue. Or maybe it is not an issue?
I have a k20d and k10d. This winter a plan on taking a lot of photos of youth hockey for fund raising at our local hockey association.
Taking action of the smaller kids is no big deal....... but with the high school kids it gets to be a pretty fast game. Some kids have slap shots pushing 70mph and skate at speed of 25mph. Plus, you have stick movement that becomes very fast due to leverage.
My only self suggested solution (maybe) is to use the slowest ISO and crank up the power on the flash (might have to plug it into a 3phase tranformer). I also have 3 pretty powerful AC slaves. This in theory should minumize possible blurring of action due to arena lighting.
Is this the right track or did I derail?
I'm reading this as wanting to basically completely kill the arena lights. I'm also assuming you want game shots, not posed "player card" shots. Based on that, your idea could work, depending on how might light you can throw. Assuming that the ambient light in the arena is terrible @ISO 100, and so you're getting a completely black frame at sync speed and say, f/5.6 (that's just a WAG, for working numbers). From about rink side center ice to the opposite side corner, it's 140-ish ft, which means if you could get enough light to add up to about GN800, you'd be good. Not easy, but not impossible.

The practical issue is how hard and inflexible that light would be. You could stop down for any subject closer, and anything at the correct distance for the chosen aperture would be fine, but anything closer would be blown out beyond recognition, and the background would be pitch black since we've killed the ambient. And you'll get big, hard shadows. One advantage you have is they're skating around on a giant reflector.

Getting the lights higher would help, the higher the better. The light will feather and so the drop off wouldn't be so abrupt; however this would increase the distance to subject and thus the power requirements. You have to examine the feasibility of that versus cranking up the ISO and shooting with the available light.
11-23-2009, 11:36 AM   #4
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High power flash??

Before you get too far into this, you might want to check with the coach/league/venue about your idea.

A powerful flash could easily distract players and/or impair their vision for a short time. Sounds like a safety issue. There are a lot of occasions and places where flash is prohibited for just that reason. Sports venues are at the top of that list.

I'll go along with a high ISO and a fast lens. And perhaps some research for sites and books about hockey/sports photography.

11-27-2009, 06:00 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by glanglois Quote
Before you get too far into this, you might want to check with the coach/league/venue about your idea.

A powerful flash could easily distract players and/or impair their vision for a short time. Sounds like a safety issue. There are a lot of occasions and places where flash is prohibited for just that reason. Sports venues are at the top of that list.

I'll go along with a high ISO and a fast lens. And perhaps some research for sites and books about hockey/sports photography.
Thanks for all the great input .......... I have access to all the hockey practices. I will communicate with the coaches and due some trial error stuff.
Hockey arenas are all about the same type of light ........ what I find out ....... I will post for everyone's beni.
I have seen alot of pro photography done a elite tourneys in Canada while coaching. Those photographers get great results. When your watching the games, you never even notice the flash from the players box. I have never had a kid complain either. Will see what happens.
11-28-2009, 08:33 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by mtdevlin1954 Quote
When your watching the games, you never even notice the flash from the players box. I have never had a kid complain either. Will see what happens.
The house strobes are typically installed in the ceiling and unless you are looking for them, you'd probably never notice them except as a very brief flash. They are directly overhead, so the players never see the flash.

If you can get permission from the arena to use their lights (either borrow one of their triggers, or use a compatible of your own), you would be golden, and be able to get shots with the very same lighting that the pros use.

If not, you'll have the flashes lower in the stands where the players might see them. It's probably not an issue as the players are concentrated on the game, but you never know if a coach would have an issue with something like that.
11-28-2009, 09:22 AM   #7
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my $0.02 worth of observation

When I go to take photos, I generally try to remain unobserved.

That means I use available light and push the ISO.

I accept that this is not easy, and does not produce the results that you may otherwise get, but I am a realist.

First of all, unless you are at ice level, flash is just about useless, because you are too far away and a flash powerful enough to overcome arena lights would melt the ice, and in fact be so bright that it wouldbe distracting even if the player was not looking at it.

It could also be seen as potentially damaging if looked at directly.

As a result, I will leave these shots to the pros that are paid to be there and pay a high price (or the publishers do) for the shots they get.

ALso consider those around you. Do they want someone like that sitting in thier midst. I wouldn't.
11-28-2009, 10:09 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
my $0.02 worth of observation

When I go to take photos, I generally try to remain unobserved.

That means I use available light and push the ISO.

I accept that this is not easy, and does not produce the results that you may otherwise get, but I am a realist.

First of all, unless you are at ice level, flash is just about useless, because you are too far away and a flash powerful enough to overcome arena lights would melt the ice, and in fact be so bright that it wouldbe distracting even if the player was not looking at it.

It could also be seen as potentially damaging if looked at directly.

As a result, I will leave these shots to the pros that are paid to be there and pay a high price (or the publishers do) for the shots they get.

ALso consider those around you. Do they want someone like that sitting in thier midst. I wouldn't.
Since we're talking about youth hockey and fundraisers, there is a chance that there isn't a 'high paid pro'. If there is a pro shooting team pics along with the action stuff, he is surely approacable. If he isn't approacable and/or shouts about an exclusivity with the arena, just back off and try again at a different place and time.

I also dont think he is talking about shooting from his seat amidst the parents. The setting we have here (i think) is that he is about to be the team/arena/league photographer or something like that. (could be wrong of course, i am usually)

Get your ass in there and shoot (after you get your research done)! If you're planning on taking "lot of photos of youth hockey for fund raising at our local hockey association", then you're going to have more than one shoot to build on.

Good luck, and make some bucks.

Mitch

11-28-2009, 10:12 AM   #9
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aaagh, the original question: flash sync, is it an issue?

FWIW I use all of my slaves on high speed sync all the time. That means I always sync at 1/4000. It's great!

Just talk to someone about use of flash out of respect for the game.
11-28-2009, 07:56 PM   #10
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I will let everyone know how it turns out.

Thanks everyone for your input. I will run some test with at least three slaves and see what happens. A lot of good stuff. And of course ...... we know that Pentax users are not your main stream types and never opinionated.
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