'Action Photography' Category

Qflash in Action: French Action & Lifestyle Photographer, Nicolas Joly

Cover PhotoThis edition features French Action & Lifestyle photographer, Nicolas Joly.

Location: Col de l’Arzelier – France
Pilot: Ludwig Bourdon
Lighting equipment: (2) Quantum T2’s (oldies, but goodies), Turbo 2×2 battery packs, (2) tripods as light stands (2) QF60B standard reflectors.

Technique: They are both almost in the axis of the jump. One high in the front, one ground level from the back.
Flash Settings: Manual each at ¼ power.

Additional gear: PocketWizard Flex tt5’s for the HyperSync feature, Dakine Reload Backpack (my bag of choice for hiking with Qflashes).
Exposure: ISO 560 at 1/350 at f/4.
Camera: Nikon D4 with 16-35 f/4 lens


Senior gear editor and photographer at Big Bike magazine, Ludwig Bourdon and I were assigned to bring back action shots for the 2014 test issue. We have several needs, but of course a bright cover would be a nice addition to our session.

The resort was closed, and we had to hike to the top. Once I had packed my Dakine Reload backpack with two t2 Qflashes,  2×2 battery packs, PocketWizard Flex TT5’s, Nikon D4, 16-35 f/4, and two tripods, Ludwig and I headed into the woods of Col de l’Arzelier (France).

After a good afternoon of work, we found this jump. It’s rather small for a good pilot, but I really liked the dead tree and we agreed to try for our action shot here. I quickly set-up the 2 tripod mounted T2s with the flex TT5’s using the HyperSync feature. They are both almost in the axis of the jump. One high in the front, one ground level from the back.

The first jump was used as a trial for Ludwig, as well as fine tuning of the direction and power of the two lights.
The 2nd jump, Ludwig’s position was great. I immediately felt it was an interesting photo.
Ludwig was already a bit tired but, always ready for the famous “last one,” he carried the bike on his back up to the top one more time.
The 3rd jump, he does exactly the same jump, I shoot almost the same picture and we agree there would not be another “last one”…at least for today.

Some weeks later, we have the great pleasure to discover our photo on the holly cover.

Nicolas Joly

High Speed Sync for Over The Top Action

DanielM_Quantum_HSSI 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.

Daniel Milchev

Going to the London Olympics?


Quantum Product Support for Photographers covering the 2012 Olympic Games in London

The 2012 London Olympic Games will start with the opening ceremony on July 27, 2012 and thousands of photographers will be in London for this occasion. Quantum customers from all over the world will be in the UK to cover the games and all aspects of life surrounding the Olympics.

The UK & Ireland importer of Quantum products Flaghead Photographic Ltd have announced that extra support will be available to existing Quantum users and potential new ones.

The following central London based companies will carry extra stock of Quantum products for sale and rental:

Fixation www.fixationuk.com

Calumet www.calumetphoto.co.uk

The Flash Centre www.theflashcentre.com

For fast repair service, as well as rental & sales, contact:

Fixation www.fixationuk.com

For any inquiries on Quantum products, Rental and Services contact:

Hardy Haase

Flaghead Photographic Ltd
tel 01202 733 123

Portable? Yes It’s Portable.

Two Quantum Trio Flashes
Canon 5D Mark II @ ISO800
Canon 16-35mm II L @ 16mm
Exposure: 5sec, @ f/5

Shooting climbing is really exciting, but shooting ice climbing at night takes the excitement to a whole new level.

Before I even got to the spot, I figured it was going to be a difficult lighting situation, since I would be hanging off a rope about 40 feet above the ground on a frozen waterfall. I placed one Quantum Trio on the bottom of the waterfall, pointed upwards since I knew this would bring the ice texture out. I put another Trio in my backpack and after a 20 minute climb, found the perfect spot. Then I placed the second flash on camera. Thanks to the FreeXwire system I had full control over both flashes. I also took a tripod with me, and pushed it in to the ice as much as I could.

By using rear curtain sync, slow shutter speed, and a tripod, I was able to capture the lights in the background, freeze the climber, and get nice and crispy image!

Daniel Milchev

Change Your Flashtube… Every 900,000 Shots!

Albert T. Parker of ParkWest Photography in Chandler, Arizona and his wife Patricia do on location photography at ballroom dance competitions.

Traveling the country to cover both local & regional competitions, the Parkers need powerful, studio quality lights and they need them to be fast recycling and portable as well. Al started using Qflash & Turbo in 2004. He has assembled quite a collection of our equipment over the years.

The business has been growing by leaps and bounds. Patricia usually handles sales at their events, but on occasion she will jump in to capture some of the action. Al & Patricia shoot with high-end Canon DSLR’s and they use two remote Qflash QFT5dR’s controlled by on-camera Quantum Trios.

Al logged over a million and a half images on a single Canon body in less than 18 months! When he sent his high mileage 1Ds Mk IV in for “preventative maintenance” Canon was totally amazed at how many shots he got without service. Just to be on the safe side, AL decided to change the flashtubes on his Qflashes and Trios; since they each had around 900,000 shots!

Thank you for sharing this story Al, and thanks for relying on Qflash & Turbo.


Extreme Sport Photography with Matt Thomas

When I Google “Qflash” I am not surprised to see pages of product photos, followed by gorgeous wedding images and stunning location portraits. It was the fantastic shots of skateboarders flying through urban landscapes that I always wondered about. Today Matt Thomas of  Matt-Thomas-Photography.co.uk in Gloucester, Gloucestershire joins us to explain the Qflash / extreme action sport photography connection.

I was introduced to the Quantum line of flashes about 3 years ago by a friend who was using the Quantum QFlash model T2. He kept going on about the quality of light, and how good the spread of light was compared to every other flash he owned.  I did a bit of research into the Qflash system, to see how it would benefit me, and I liked what I saw. It was time to try and get one, but I didn’t need any of the fancy features the newer QFlashes offered. So the hunt for an older model began. Luckily, I was able to pick up a second hand QFlash T2 from another skateboard photographer.

The main thing extreme action sport photographers look for in lighting is the flashes ability to freeze action, therefore the shorter the flash duration the better. Often I am trying to overpower the ambient light enough to get a crisp shot of the movement taking place.  To do this you need to a very quick burst of light, enough to stop that motion in place for a split second. The QFlash at around 1/4 power is just the right duration to kick out a fast, powerful burst and freeze the action.

In bare bulb the Qflash puts out a wide spread of light. This allows me to bring the flash in quite close, drop the power down, and get that short flash duration I need. Some of my fisheye shots were done with the Qflash only a couple of feet away from the subject, giving me enough power to use apertures of f/8 or f/11, up to two stops more than the natural available light.

All of the Quantum Qflashes are powered by a separate Turbo Battery. Having Quantum Turbo packs in my bag always comes in handy, especially when shooting sequences in poorly lit environments. When I partner a Turbo pack with my Nikon SB-800 I get quick enough recycle time to keep up with the 8fps of my Nikon D700. When firing an action sequence using a Quantum Turbo and High Voltage cable the skater is always lit up and the flash never misses a beat, extremely useful when a lot of the sequence shots seem to happen during dusk or inside skate parks.

Overall I’ve been super happy with using a Quantum QFlash in all of my action photography, not only for its great way the flash can stop action but also for the light spread that fills a location with high quality light. None of which I could get with other flashes I’ve shot with.

Matt Thomas