Photography in motion – Mountain bike performance

Two days ago I went  to one of the hill’s in my town to take a few shots of the guys from my previous “Ten minutes photoshoot” article. They asked me to take some shots during their training session and I was ready as always. The fact that I am mad about shooting action and high speed performance brought me to the idea to put some strobist element in my shoot.  Of  course I had a chance to shoot some video along with the photos but I was unable to bring more gear since we are climbing up the hill so I’ve used what we had at our disposal (a single Samsung smartphone and my Nikon D7000).  Fortunately I had my camera stand in my stand bag and this time I got rid of my shaky hands effect 🙂 but the footage  taken with the smartphone was as shaky as usual.

The hill was high enough to make you go for a beer instead of climbing it and the weather was too hot (30 degrees by Celsius) which is a little bit warmer for the season.  I had to choose from various pathways where I can set up my gear. Tight route’s , steep terrain and lots of trees and nasty branches…something normal for the day of a mountain biker .

I’ve been using only one modifier but this time I’ve put three flashes inside so I can overpower the sun as much as I need. The flashes usually freeze motion but if you combine them along with the available  light you can have some different effects like panning and bring more fill to the subject without destroying the effect.

Using Nd filter shooting in conditions with high contrast where the shadow and the sunlight are too strong might appear to be very tricky . Yet I’ve used Nd2 filter to kill the sunlight a little bit hoping that the light from the flashes will bring some fill light to the background and it did at some point.

The lenses used for the shoot are the Nikkor 35 mm 1.8 AF-s and the Nikkor 28-80 AF D and a wide angle converter.

Panning with strobes for fill

The position of the light is different due to the different places we used to shoot at but mostly it is the diffusing umbrella with the three flashes.  We were there for  4 hours and yet we didn’t have too much shots done since we used to pack and unpack the gear all the time.

Again the same setup

For the next one I’ve used the flashes at full power like I did in the previous shots but this time it was darker around and the flashes actually froze the motion and the background here is not so blurred as it is in the other shots.

Strobes at full power

In the end I had some video footage to work with and I did what I could with what I had  🙂 The  next time  I intend to use a wider lens with more extreme angles to shoot from since I am aware with the terrain already.

So watch the short video now and have fun!

Mountain bikes strobist photoshoot from Oggy Dimitrov on Vimeo.

Oggy Dimitrov


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