I love to shoot Action Sports events like X Games, Dew Tour or US Open, there’s just something about seeing the best athletes in the world performing right in front of you. What makes me feel even better is when I capture amazing photos of them.
For events like this, I like to keep my setup as simple as possible, but I also need something to give me a little edge in front of all the other photographers standing right next to me. I like to keep it simple just so I can move around, instead of being anchored to my flash. I usually take a good selection of lenses, this insures that I get the whole course covered. Then I take my secret weapon, one Quantum Trio + a Canon Pilot and Turbo 3 battery. This setup gives me more versatility than any other flash on the market. I can use it off camera, and still have full control of the flash, including High Speed Sync Mode. I can also place it on top of my camera for fisheye shots, or just to get compelling lifestyles when I am walking around. With the Turbo 3, I completely forget about recycle times, overheating or running out of battery power. The Trio just works!
This shot is from the Burton US Open competition. It takes place in Vail, Colorado and is a huge event for the Action Sports industry. All the best snowboarders in the world were present this year. I had my Trio on a monopod, and I had my assistant track with the riders as they flew 15-20 feet off of the edge of the Super Half-Pipe. I couldn’t really use a light stand, since the athletes fly really high and cover a big distance. If you don’t have an assistant, a friend will do the job just as well. I wanted the flash to act more as a fill light, rather than making it obvious/overused. I just wanted enough detail in the rider, so he doesn’t look like a silhouette against the sun. Having the Pilot on top of the camera allowed me to control the power output until I got exactly what I wanted. Getting a great photo was a combination of my skills and the skills of my assistant handling the flash. It took us couple tries, but then pretty much every shot looked amazing.
I have another great story coming soon, it’s about the X Games in Aspen, CO and how I was getting numerous frames per second, not only from my camera but from my flash as well.