Strobing Basketball

Full galleries for the games below are located at:
Webb School of Knoxville vs Farragut High School (January 25, 2010)
West High School vs Knoxville Catholic High School (January 26, 2010)

OK, I’ve had a few people ask me about strobing basketball and I haven’t updated this blog in ages, so I thought I’d show a couple of sample setups with some sample images. Real quickly here is what is involved in each setup.  The typical setup is a Canon 1D Mark III with the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS attached and a Canon 1D Mark II with the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L attached.

Setup 1: Studio Strobes

Elinchrom BX500Ri x2 or alternatively you can buy the To Go Kit which includes 2 lights, 2 light stands, 2 softboxes, as well as a Skyport Transmitter.
Elinchrom Wide Angle Reflector x2
PocketWizard FlexTT5 x2 (These aren’t needed, but I use a Two Camera setup and since I already have them, I use them.  You could get another Skyport Transmitter instead if you wanted to use two cameras and don’t want to switch transmitters back and forth.)
PocketWizardMini TT1
Manfrotto Super Clamp x2 (You could use light stands, but they tend to get in the way and you’ll need to make sure they don’t get knocked over by somebody on accident.)
Extension Cords and Gaffer’s Tape
Miniphone to Miniphone Cable (Only needed if using the PocketWizards)

Setup 2: Speedlites

PocketWizard FlexTT5 x2
PocketWizardMini TT1
Canon CP-E4 Battery Pack x2 (You can do without them, but they really do help to speed up recycling of the flashes.)
Canon 580EX II Speedlite x2 (I actually use a 580EXII and 550EX.)
Manfrotto Super Clamp x2 (You could use light stands, but they tend to get in the way and you’ll need to make sure they don’t get knocked over by somebody on accident.)
Universal Umbrella Bracket with Swivel Mount x2

Ok the first setup, is the setup I used Monday night at Farragut High School. I had an Elinchrom BX 500 Ri on each side of one half of the court and was bouncing of the ceiling. The biggest advantage to this setup in the power and action stopping capability of these lights.  The biggest disadvantage is the time it takes to setup and take down and having to wait for the lights to recycle. This setup allows me to shoot ISO 400, 1/250th, and between f/2.8 and f/4.5 depending on the location of the player.  The first image you see shows the placement of the strobes and the second image is how one of them is mounted.  I bounce them off the ceiling and have the pointed towards the center of the court.  I have experimented with having the strobes at different power settings (full, 3/4, and 1/2) and have found that bouncing at full power gives the best results.  Even at full power, these lights have a recycle time around 1.5 seconds, which is still pretty decent.

Setup 1-1: Opposite end of the court showing the placement of the strobes.
Setup 1-1: Opposite end of the court showing the placement of the strobes.
Setup 1-2: How the strobe is mounted.
Setup 1-2: How the strobe is mounted.

In the next two examples (1-1 and 1-2) you can see that it does a good job of providing even lighting towards the middle of the court.  However, in example 1-3 you can see that the downfall to this setup is when getting players around the three-point line close to the baseline, their backs will be a little hot (backlighting) from the strobe closest to them.  Of course with the Skyport setup, I have 1 light in group one and 1 light in group 2.  I can fire both by setting the transmitter to All or I can fire an individual group.  Of course changing on the fly isn’t the most practical, but it’s an option if you need to get a shot of a particular player from the three point line near the baselines.

Example 1-1: Webb Lady Spartan Kelsey Brown gets around Farragut's Alex Newby and takes to the air for the layup.
Example 1-1: Webb Lady Spartan Kelsey Brown gets around Farragut's Alex Newby and takes to the air for the layup.
Example 1-2: Webb's Dwight Tarwater collides with Farragut's Landon Hunley while Webb's Donovan Whiteside attempts to block the shot.
Example 1-2: Webb's Dwight Tarwater collides with Farragut's Landon Hunley while Webb's Donovan Whiteside attempts to block the shot.
Example 1-3: Landon Hunley looks for an open teammate to pass the ball to.
Example 1-3: Landon Hunley looks for an open teammate to pass the ball to.

The second setup is the setup I used on Tuesday night at Catholic High School.  I had both setups with me, but opted to use the Speedlites.  The advantage to using Speedlites are in the fact that they are smaller, require less setup and take down time, and have faster recycle times.  The biggest disadvantage is  that there isn’t enough power to bounce them, so the shots are more direct and also more susceptible to hot spots from a strong back light.  Typically my shots where ISO 800, 1/250, and between f/2.8 and f/5.6 depending on the location of the player.  I also experimented with different power settings for the flashes, but since I am using the PocketWizard TT1/TT5 setup, I found that using E-TTL II with the camera using the Averaging algorithm (instead of Evaluative) and FEC set to +2/3 works the best.  Again I’ll follow the same examples as above.  The first two images will show the setup followed by three example shots.  Two will be near the basket and one from the three point line near the baseline.

Setup 2-1: Opposite end of the court showing the placement of the flashes.
Setup 2-1: Opposite end of the court showing the placement of the flashes.
Setup 2-2: How the flash is mounted.
Setup 2-2: How the flash is mounted.
Example 2-1: Bianca Andre drives the ball to the hoop.
Example 2-1: Bianca Andre drives the ball to the hoop.
Example 2-2: West's JuJuan Williams gets over top of Knoxville Catholic's Philip Stephens.
Example 2-2: West's JuJuan Williams gets over top of Knoxville Catholic's Philip Stephens.
Example 2-3: West's Moore puts up a 3 pointer.
Example 2-3: West's Moore puts up a 3 pointer.

When I originally started this post, I had planned to go back to Knoxville Catholic for their game against Webb on Friday night since my assignments were all earlier in the week and use my strobes so you could see a comparison of strobes vs speedlites in the same gym.  Well a line of snow and freezing rain storms came in, thus the game was canceled.  I do prefer to shoot with my strobes over speedlites, so I’d rather go back to Catholic and shoot strobes than to shoot at Farragut or any of the other schools I’ve shot at before and shoot Speedlites.  Webb vs Catholic is a big rivalry game too, so I’d rather go on one of the less crowded nights.  I’ll probably update this post when I make it back to KCHS.

Happy New Year

To all ya’ll that still read this blog (Hi Mom and Dad) or have subscribed to my RSS feed… Happy New Year! This year, instead of resolutions, I’m going to do a project. This is nothing original, as it has been done by many people, but I going to try and do a Photo-A-Day project in 2009. I’m not sure where I’ll post them, but I’ll be figuring something out soon enough. The next post on my blog will probably be where I am posting them.

The rules are simple. Every day I will commit to taking one photograph and sharing it. The camera does not matter. It may be one of my digital SLRs, one of my point and shoots, or even with my camera phone. I may not get around to posting each image every day, but I will commit to taking an image everyday. I know there are just going to be some days that I am unable to get to a computer. I’ll try to get no more than a week behind. Some photo’s may have commentary, others may just be the image itself. All photos posted are eligible for critique and/or praise.

Backpacking in Big South Fork One Day… Nature and Travel Field Trip #1 the Next

This past weekend was a really busy one, but fun filled. It started on Saturday by meeting up with Bryan and Meredith, Justin S, Derek, Dale, and Ann for some backpacking in Big South Fork. They all go to Brentwood Hills CoC. It was kind of an interesting itinerary. Dale’s truck was left over near Bandy Creek Campground. We meet up at Leatherwood Ford. The plan was to camp out just below the Angel Falls Overlook, but first do a day hike from Leatherwood Ford to Bandy Creek, stopping by Angel Falls. The length of the Day Hike was right around 10.5 miles. I didn’t take my GPS this time, so about the only thing I really have to go on is estimating by pace and time. Our campsite was two miles in on the trail. We took a couple of tents to claim our spot. We would carry the rest of our gear when we finished the day hike and returned back to Leatherwood Food. It got cold and started to very lightly rain… and I had left my rain jacket in the car, so I was pretty miserable during the day hike and anxious to get back to the car. After getting our gear, we proceeded to hike back to camp. It is a really flat trail, so that helps when carrying a 31 lb pack after hiking 10.5 miles. After we setup, we started cooking dinner. Shortly after dinner, it started raining again. I opted to take shelter in my tent. I usually have trouble falling asleep when I’m out camping, but this time, I was out pretty quickly. I’m sure I was probably the first one out.

My plan was to leave around 8:00 in the morning since I needed to get ready for the Nature and Travel Photography Field trip later in the afternoon. Derek and Ann also had to go back to Nashville and be there in time for a Habitat for Humanity Dedication for a house their group had worked on. When I saw Derek walking around, I went down to see when they had planned on leaving… if soon I’d hike out with them, if not, I’d just hike out alone. Came to find out he had gotten sick. We originally had planned to have a church service, but in Derek’s condition, it was decided that the best thing was to get him back to the car. I helped him pack up his stuff and then went to check on Ann. She had just gotten up and was starting to pack up. However, she really didn’t have a backpack that was big enough for her stuff. On the way in Dale had helped her carry her stuff (I assume), but since Dale wasn’t camping, he left after dinner. What we decided to do was I’d hike out with Derek and carry some of Ann’s stuff and Bryan would hike out with Ann and carry some of Ann and Derek’s stuff. Then Bryan would go back to camp and hike out with Meredith and Justin later.

So that was a long story, with no pictures… but the moral of it is, it helps to have the right gear, whether it be a rain jacket or a large backpack.

Ok we now for the part of this entry that doesn’t require much writing. A few of us meet up at UT before and drove to Townsend. We then meet up with everyone else at the parking lot just before you get to the Y. As part of the field trip, we only went to two places. The first was Middle Prong on the road past Treemont. The second place was one of the first parking areas you come to after you pass the road to Treemont on the way to Cades Cove. Through work, I have access to a couple of pieces of equipment that I probably won’t ever buy. One is a Canon 40D that has been converted to Infrared and the other is a 600mm f4L lens.

http://gallery2.justinacuff.net/v/photography_certificate/nature_and_travel_photography/field_trip_1/

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,