Welcome to the September 2019 edition of my Instructional BLOG – Workshop at the Ranch. This month I’m featuring a favorite photo shoot of mine: Jet Ski Tempest Images & Backstories …Hold on tight !
Remember to: Checkout my: 2019 Workshops Calendar to see when and where I will be teaching a workshop or seminar that you might be interested in attending: Dave’s 2019 Workshops Calendar: https://daveblackphotography.com/upcoming-workshops/
2019 Workshops Calendar:
September 14-19, 2019 … Summit ADVENTURE Workshop in Jackson Hole, WY. www.photographyatthesummit.com
September 22-27, 2019 … Summit NATURE Workshop in Jackson Hole, WY. www.photographyatthesummit.com
November 7-10, 2019 … Summit SPORTS California Workshop in LA – Thousand Oaks, CA. www.photographyatthesummit.com
Image 1 … “Jet ski Tempest” (400mm close-up)… #NikonD500 ISO2500, 1/2500 at f8, NIKKOR 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 G VR lens, 4 SB-5000 Speedlights with Radio Control each set at FULL Power.
Sometimes the BEST picture can be made in your own backyard … especially when there’s a lake with the Rocky Mountains as your location. And to make it even sweeter, the guy that leaves down the block is a World contender in Jet Skiing. Throw in a typical Colorado sunset and something EPIC could happen.
Simply said, I manually underexposed the sunset by -1.3 stops and then illuminated the Jet Skier by using 4 Nikon SB-5000 Speedlights located on the dock about 90 feet from the athlete. Sounds easy enough, but let’s dig a bit deeper into the nuts & bolts of putting together a shoot like this.
Troy is a World contender in the super-fast SPORT of Jet Skiing. He can reach speeds of 80mph, then cut a 180 degree turn and then bolt to the next buoy. Thus, I had an idea to have him do exactly what I just described and allow me to illuminate him at the acceleration point of the apex using Nikon #SB5000 Speedlights.
I wanted to be water level and so with my Waders on I walked about 60 feet out into the lake towards the area where Troy would make his turn. I had my assistant (Andrew) position himself with the SB-5000 Speedlights on the corner edge of the dock and aim the 4 SB-5000 Speedlights towards the area where Troy would make his turn.
This configuration: Camera (me), Subject (Jet Skier), and Lighting (SB-5000 Speedlights) forms a Triangle. That’s correct … a simple Triangle. It is Off-Camera Light that makes your subject interesting with light & shadow, drama and texture. This Fast Action with a “Studio Look” in a grand location really draws people in, which is just what I wanted.
We made a bunch of images including this image as the sun began to get lower in the sky, which provided super golden water in front and behind the athlete, of which this particular image was used in Nikon’s 100th Year Anniversary celebration.
Image 2 … “Jet ski Tempest” (sunset) … #NikonD500 ISO2500, 1/2500 at f8, NIKKOR 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 G VR lens, 4 SB-5000 Speedlights with Radio Control each set at FULL Power.
But it was when the sun actually set that the “God Rays” went crazy and this image was made.
Troy raced down the lake and cut a sharp 180 degree turn throwing a huge spay of water, but as it often does in Colorado, the wind kicked up to about 35mph causing the waves to whip up making the lake look like a Tempest, to which I gave the sign to Troy to “DO IT AGAIN !!! … and he did 6 more times before the sun dropped below the Rockies!
Image 3 … “Jet Ski Tempest” (Panorama) … Nikon D500, ISO2500, 1/2500 at f8, using 4 Nikon SB-5000 Radio Control Speedlights mounted in a FourSquare bracket and Softbox (front screen is removed from softbox) … the EPIC sunset is curtesy of God.
My thanks to the 2,300 + viewers who “Liked” image posted on my Instagram Monday August 26. And many thanks to those who wrote a comment, many of which were praise and many who asked
“WHY ISN”T THE WATER LIT UP?” by the Nikon #SB5000 Speedlights?
HOW THIS IMAGE WAS MADE:
This cropped Panorama shows the location of my 4 Speedlights mounted in a FourSquare softbox with no diffusion screen with a distance to my athlete of about 85 feet … and a distance of 95 feet from me (D500 camera with Nikon WR-R10 transmitter) to my 4 SB-5000 Speedlights.
First: Each Speedlight is Zoomed to 200mm, which narrows the spread of light to be narrow and more directional.
Second: The FourSquare bracket and softbox that the Speedlights are mounted in allows me to remove the front Diffusion Screen that is normally used for making soft light portrait imagery. This open “soft box” now acts like Barn-Doors, which also controls the spread of light.
Third: My assistant (my son-in-law Andrew) “tilts” the Softbox with Speedlights to help control the spread of light from illuminating the water from the dock to the subject.
Fourth: The deep water is dark while the White Water illuminates easily and reflects on the subject.
Fifth: The wave pattern and direction worked to my advantage to where the waves were moving perpendicular to the Dock and subject.
Looking close, you can see some slight illumination (discoloration) in the flat water on-line to the subject.
Of the 5 images made while the sunset was “Going-Off Big Time” only this wide shot and 2 others captured the scene with exactly the proper angle of the Softbox and the wave pattern without any light illuminating the dark water.
I hope this explanation answers the questions that so many of you wrote.
Come visit my Instagram: @daveblackphoto each week to learn something new about photography. I’ll see you next time here on Workshop at the Ranch where “we all learn together”