Sport photography and use of flash in ambient light

I have got a few questions lately about some pictures taken and I’d like to share the “secret” in how the setup was done to take them. The short answer is – Use flash even if the sun is shining!

Backlight photo in daylight often creates silhouettes or very dark images on the shadow side of the subject. One efficient way to solve this is to add a flash to the camera. The easiest, by very seldom the best, is to use the built in on-camera flash.

The next step, try to use an off-camera flash. There are different technologies to use off-camera flashes. Both Canon and Nikon have their own systems, but my favourite is the Pocket Wizard system which enables you to not only use long distance (I have tested ~100 meter, but I know they work on longer distances by spec:s) between the camera and the flash, but as the Pocket Wizard systems are radio based, so they does not necessarily need to be in visual contact. The pictures below are used with a radio controlled Nikon Speedlight with standard sync speed 1/250 or lower. The LOWERING of sync speed is used to level the flash output against the ambient light, for example a sunset. The below pictures are taken in the hour before sunset.

Another great benefit of the Pocket Wizard system is the ability to use sync speeds above the normal 1/250. Pocket Wizard uses a system called HyperSync. HyperSync enables you to use sync speed above 1/250, for example 1/1500 – very useful in action sport photography! In this example you need to INCREASE the sync speed to keep up with the sun. Due to the power of the sun, the below pictures were taken a radio controlled Elinchrom Ranger system. The Ranger has more power than the Nikon Speedlight so in broad daylight and longer distances, the Ranger is perfect.

This was a very short description in how those pictures were taken. If you are looking for more in depth information, there are numerous articles written about it so I will not write yet another – just Goggle it! This was just a short explanation of some pictures I have taken using flash in daylight photography.

Your feedback is very welcome and appreciated! 🙂