Lately I’ve been shooting a good amount of indoor action. A couple weekends ago, I was invited to shoot the 2009 AMA Arenacross event held at the Livestock Events Center here in Reno. I attended two out of the three nights and shot about 18 gigs (a ton of photos for me).
The event was a blast to shoot but proved to be challenging due the the very low light in the arena and the high speed of the racers. As many of you likely know, shooting indoor action is always a balancing act between freezing action and controlling high-ISO noise. My plan was to combat the noise and blur by using both on and off camera lighting.
I decided to take the risk of hauling around too much equipment and brought my Quantum Q-flash T2 with a light stand and skyport radio trigger setup. The Q-flash has about twice the output (and twice the size/weight) of a standard speedlight and a decently short flash duration for freezing action.
The Q-flash worked well, especially on a rear sync but wasn’t very mobile. Since I didn’t want to bring it onto the track, I switched to an on-camera SB-800.
Photo left: Nikon D300, 80-200mm f/2.8 lens, 1/50 sec @ f/4.5, ISO 640. Illuminated by Quantum Q-flash at 1/4 power, rear-sync, triggered by Elinchrom Skyports
Once I switched to the on-camera flash, I focused on using rear sync panning, a technique that involves following the subject (panning) using a slow exposure and firing the flash on the 2nd curtain to freeze the rider in place. I like the sense of motion that is accomplished.
Photo right: Nikon D300, 17-55mm f/2.8 lens, 1/50 sec @ f/3.5, ISO 640. Illuminated by SB-800, rear-sync, triggered on camera
Photo left: Nikon D300, 17-55mm f/2.8 lens, 1/50 sec @ f/4.5, ISO 640. Illuminated by Quantum Q-flash at 1/4 power, rear-sync, triggered by Elinchrom Skyports