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Issue 01

YOUR FUN GUIDE TO PRO SHOOTING nx skills

HIGH-SPEED PHOTOGRAPHY TOP TIPS Master the techniques of shooting high speed with this pro pointers

SPOTLIGHT:

BEN CHAN

The lifestyle and action pro on his photography

NX GEAR:

NX300

A luxurious CSC with big improvements across the board

zooming in

SHOOT SPEED SPORTS AND ACTION PHOTOGRAPHY Learn the essentials of shooting action with your NX


Issue 01 ZOOMING IN

SHOOT SPEED SPORTS AND ACTION PHOTOGRAPHY Learn the essentials of shooting action with your NX

10

Ways to use Flash

nx skills

HIGH-SPEED PHOTOGRAPHY TOP TIPS Master the techniques of shooting high speed with this pro pointers

SPOTLIGHT:

NX GEAR:

NX300 A luxurious CSC with big

improvements across the board

BEN CHAN

The lifestyle and action pro on his photography


Issue 01

LATEST NEWS, REVIEWS & INSPIRATION AT WWW.NXPHOTO.PH

ZOOMING IN

SHOOT SPEED

SPORTS AND ACTION PHOTOGRAPHY Learn the essentials of shooting action with your NX

NX SKILLS

SHOOTING HIGH SPEED Pro tips on capturing images using your high speed shutter

SPOTLIGHT:

BEN CHAN The lifestyle and action pro on his photography

NX GEAR:

NX300 A luxurious CSC with big

improvements across the board


MAINFEATURE

Capture the action

LEARN HOW TO

Capture the action

Josie Reavely discovers the secrets behind capturing successful sports images and what it takes to become an Olympic photographer


Capture the action


MAINFEATURE

8 NX PHOTO

Capture the action


Capture the action

T

he bright lights, whirling acrobats and spectacular firework displays at the start of the 2008 Beijing Olympics were a sight to behold, heralding the start of an incredible line-up of events featuring the world’s finest athletes. Bob Rosato should know – he was in the front row for each event, photographing the whole spectacle. As a staff photographer for well-respected title Sports Illustrated Magazine, Bob is charged with the responsibility of capturing incredible moments in sporting events all over the globe. He’s been in the game professionally for 26 years, so he certainly knows his craft. Bob explains how he found paid work unusually quickly once he’d made the decision to go pro, but didn’t consider himself to be a true professional until he’d found his feet: “I made money in photography relatively quickly. I think this is a big misnomer. There is a difference, in my opinion, to ‘learning to be a true professional’ as opposed to being a ‘professional’ because one gets paid to shoot pictures. In that respect, it took me about the first four years to learn to be a professional photojournalist photographer.” Bob didn’t undergo any formal training to get where he is today, instead teaching himself about photography. As he states: “I built my techniques and craft through the help of other professionals and successful business people.” The absence of any formal education in the art is becoming increasingly common among highly successful

wide-aperture action

Bob often selects a wide aperture when shooting sports, to ensure his subject stands out from potentially cluttered backgrounds Shot details: Nikon D3 with 70-200mm f2.8 lens at 116mm and f2.8, 1/1000sec, ISO 1600

battle on the baseball field

“May 20, ’08, Atlanta, GA, USA: Atlanta Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar turns a double-play as his knee hits New York Mets base runner Ryan Church in the head in a ninth inning game, ending play at Turner Field” Shot details: Nikon D3 with 400mm f2.8 lens at f2.8, 1/1250sec and ISO 1250

professional photographers – a fact that speaks volumes about the nature of photography in that a perceived ‘need’ for a qualification to find success can be misplaced. Photography is an art form and although the principles and techniques themselves can be taught, having an ‘eye’ for a shot is something that takes inherent ability and plenty of practise to perfect. Bob’s love of sport developed in his youth, as he explains: “I grew up playing organised sports all through school and into my late teens. I always took a deep interest in sports beyond playing. My parents always thought I’d be a broadcaster because of my deep knowledge of the sports and players, but in my early twenties, I married my passion for sports with my photography.” In developing his own style, Bob describes how he looked to photographers who’d already made it to the top in the © Bob Rosato/Sports Illustrated


MAINFEATURE

Capture the action

© Bob Rosato/Sports Illustrated

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“You need to know the sport, and you need to understand what kind of image you are after” leap of faith

“Jan 3, 2010, Dallas, TX, USA: Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Trent Cole (58) leaps to tackle Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) at Cowboys Stadium.” Bob opted for a wide aperture of f4 to keep the focus on the action while blurring out the potentially distracting spectators and other paraphernalia in the background, cropping in close to capture the full impact of the events unfolding before his lens. The result is an action-packed shot, perfectly timed to coincide with this impressive display of athleticism Shot details: Nikon D3S with 600mm f4 lens at f4, 1/1000sec, ISO 2000

8 NX PHOTO

easier for those in his line of work: “Today, dim you can make. Expect the worst, prepare accordingly!” conditions rarely present the obstacles that they once In terms of technique, your first decision to make as a did when we shot film. Digital photography has advanced sports photographer is where to stand to give yourself the in ways that we could have only dreamed of at one time. best chance of capturing pivotal moments. Bob advises: Still, using fast, high-quality glass is paramount under “There are a couple of elements at play here: you need to poor lighting. Lenses that are corrected for chromatic know the sport, and you need to understand what kind of aberrations, which tend to show up more in poor lighting, image you are after. Once that’s clear, it is much easier to will yield image quality far superior to lenses that aren’t understand where you need to be. Experience is paramount corrected. These lenses, used with cameras that allow a here! photographer to use high ISO settings, will pave the way to Be aware of backgrounds. There are times when messy extremely high-quality images. Both Canon and Nikon have backgrounds are unavoidable, but that’s rare. Seeing all the best digital technology and lens selections for sports the way through the image (foreground to background) photography. That’s not to say great images can’t be made or ‘seeing photographically’, as I like to say, is critical. Ask with other types of gear, but they clearly set the standard yourself, ‘is it information (relating to your subject), or is it and continue to lead the R&D [research and development] clutter?’ Learn to see photographically.” in digital photography.” While there’s sometimes scope for artistic long Bob adds: “Preparation is key to everything. Any time the exposures conveying movement, if you’re working for a elements can affect the image or me, I make sure to have all newspaper or magazine to document a big game, the I need not only to protect me against those elements, but chances are you’re going to need to freeze the action. To also to protect my equipment. I always carry protective gear, do this, Bob explains: “Clearly, it’s critical to use the proper from Gore-Tex shoes and rain gear to the best protective settings to stop action. I always use high shutter speeds. gear I can find for my camera equipment. The more you’re Now that we’re fully digital, I use 1/800sec shutter speed affected by the elements, the more it affects the pictures minimum. I also like to shoot wide open with my long

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Capture the action

lenses. For instance, if I use a 600mm lens, I always use the maximum aperture, which in this case is f4. That way, I can minimise distractions in the background and have my main subject stand out more.” Timing is another key skill you need to hone as a sports photographer – learning to visualise what’s about to happen and firing the shutter just as events unfold before your lens. This isn’t something that can be taught in any conventional manner, rather Bob explains it’s down to heeding your past errors: “Experience plays a huge role here. You have to miss a few to make a few, so to speak.” Once you’ve mastered these techniques, how do you go about making your shots stand out from those taken by the other ten photographers flanking you on the touchline? Bob’s portfolio is packed with stunning images, captured at just the right moment. His timing is impeccable and his technical ability mingles seamlessly with his artistic vision. But apart from that, he’s always looking for those little details that help to embellish those pivotal images of his – to reveal more about what goes on behind the scenes. He describes: “Understanding the sports you’re photographing plays a role in deciding which images to make to ‘tell a story’. I believe pictures need to speak to the reader or viewer. The sights and sounds of a sporting event must translate in an image or group of images. Telling the story is what guides me to determine that location and what best illustrates the atmosphere.” Bob’s polished abilities are what make him such an

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© Bob Rosato/Sports Illustrated

EXPERT ADVICE

Bob Rosato Web: www.bobrosato.com Email: bob@bobrosato.com Bob Rosato is a pro sports photojournalist and a staff photographer at Sports Illustrated magazine. Prior to this, he was a major contributor to NFL Creative Services and NFL Properties, MLB Photo Services, and numerous editorial and media clients. For over 26 years, Bob has photographed virtually every major sporting event in the US and in other countries. He has also been a guest speaker for many organisations including the Sports Photography Workshop, Eastman Kodak, Nikon Professional Services, and a member of the Microsoft Icons of Imaging Program. His pictures have been recognised with numerous awards including National Headliner Awards, Missouri School of Journalism (POY) and Pro Football Hall of Fame. Check Bob’s blog for upcoming events and projects, as well as news on SI.com’s special on Bob Rosato’s Road Trips: www.fannation. com/si_blogs/staff/posts/96161-bob-rosatos-january-roadtrip.

capturing the moment

“USA Nastia Liukin (412) in action, uneven bars during Women’s Individual All-Around Final at National Indoor Stadium, Beijing, China, 8/14/2008.” Selecting a wide-angle setting helps to set the scene in this Olympic image, capturing all the colour, bright lights and the sheer volume of spectators witnessing this spectacular event. In spite of everything going on in the shot, Bob’s calculated use of a wide aperture of f2.8 helps keep the focus squarely on the main subject, drawing the viewer’s eye into the action Shot details: Nikon D3 with 24-70mm f2.8 lens at 35mm and f2.8, 1/1000sec, ISO 1250

1 Do your research

Learn all you can about what it is that you photograph.

2 Know your sport

The key element to great action pictures is learning to anticipate.

3 Visualise your images in your mind

This helps you anticipate key moments better.

4 Learn visual recognition

Always mentally ‘see’ your pictures.

5 Understand light

8 NX PHOTO 9


Capturethe theaction action MAINFEATURE BIGFEATURE4Capture

scenic cycling

“A local cycling racer in Ayrshire, personal project. I found this location when driving through the area and wanted to use it as the trees look great converging in, kind of spooky. I am planning to go back there soon, as I have another image in mind when it’s even darker and I light the trees this time” Shot details: Nikon D2X with 17-35mm f2.8-4 lens at 17mm and f5, 1/160sec, ISO 100

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surfer girl

“Personal project with Ashleigh Hewitt. This was shot Christmas 2008 and it was very cold evening, but Ashleigh was brilliant. Two softbox flash units were used either side of the frame” Shot details: Nikon D700 with 28-70mm f2.8 lens at 28mm and f13, 1/125sec,


Capture the action

“Most of my work is on location, so I have a checklist that I prepare the night before” 8 to be constantly vigilant, looking for new terrain to include in

victory viewpoint

“2008 Junior World Triathlon champion Kirsty McWilliam on the water’s edge of Loch Lommond, images used by Triathlon Scotland for marketing and PR material. Very simple light setup with one softbox to camera right, about head height” Shot details: Nikon D300 with 17-35mm f2.8-4 lens at 17mm, f11, 1/250sec and ISO 200 © Iain MacIntosh

his images. He continues: “Everywhere I go I keep my eyes open for a good location or something just a little different; I usually take a snapshot of it on my iPhone and file it with the rest of my location shots. If something comes up, I trawl through to find something that works with the subject and I can have a good idea of what the final image will be like. Most of my work is on location, so I have a checklist for my kit that I prepare the evening before. For example, for a shoot I did with triathlete Kirsty McWilliam we planned to do it as the sun set in a loch, waist-deep in water, as I wanted to get her coming up and out of the water. So once you have all the camera kit together, it’s the little things you have to prepare and carry along – shorts, towels, clips, a torch, water spray, cans etc – then all the other kit, like booms and lights. It all mounts up to get the shots we planned for.” Sometimes Iain is tied to a more restrictive brief, but that doesn’t mean he has to rein in his creativity: “I recently did a shoot for the British Triathlon Federation. The brief was very specific in that the athlete shots must have the city in the background, especially the castle. The best place for that is in Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park up on the hills, so there I was with three athletes with their bikes on top of the hills overlooking the capital, with me carrying a full rucksack of kit, light stands and a pair of small step ladders. Never underestimate a good mini stepladder – I carry them on each job. It was the total opposite of the low-light situations I’ve talked about: the sun was out at its strongest. It’s the same principle again, but this time getting both the athletes and the background exposed you need to get as much light on the subject as possible; you’re basically trying to overpower the sun.

So I used two flash units with no modifiers, at full power. Even at 1/250sec sync speed and at the lowest ISO, I was still way up at f18 to balance out the exposure. I dialled in a few shots at f22 to get a different look, and to bring the background down a bit as well.” Being based in Scotland means Iain has some spectacular scenery on his doorstep, but it also makes him subject to one of the most powerful influences an outdoor sports photographer has to contend with: “The weather! But you’ve just got to suck it up or you’ll never get anything done. The usual problem through the year is the wind – when using soft boxes and keeping light stands on the ground, I use metal tent pegs to pin them down. Saying that, the snow over the Christmas period scuppered a few shoots, but also made a few as well. I managed to convince a few runners to come up to the hills and run down a snow-covered path while I was atop a stepladder in a field. It came out well, and was pretty unusual, as it’s not the kind of thing you’re always going to get. It eventually made it to a double page spread in Runner’s World. That’s the challenge and fun of shooting on location; there are always variables you have to work with – not just the weather – but that’s where I get my biggest kick from:

8

EXPERT ADVICE

Iain MacIntosh Web: www.imacimages.co.uk Email: sales@imacimages.co.uk Located in the west coast of Scotland, ImacImages photography is owned and operated by Iain MacIntosh, a creative and motivated freelance photographer specialising in location sports portraits, live action and lifestyle photography and available for commissions throughout the UK. Having participated in sports throughout most of his life, Iain felt compelled to combine his outdoor pursuits with his photography. He now produces stunning images of live action as well as advertising images for manufacturers of sports clothing and equipment, with prestigious clients including the UK Heart Foundation, BBC Scotland, Conquest Bikewear, Irish Rugby Union, British American Football League, Bike Radar.com, and a range of magazine titles and newspapers. He adds: “I’ve been commissioned by a number of sports associations including Triathlon Scotland and I have also just become a stringer for Getty Images UK, so I have a proven track record for providing clients with the right images that match their briefs.”

1 Be different

Find a way to stand out from the crowd, whether that’s through a different style or a new lighting technique – that way, your work is more recognisable.

2 Put your ideas into action Even if it sounds crazy, give it a try.

3 Plan your shoots

Have a contingency plan firmly in place, should things go wrong.

4 Less is more

Don’t overdo the lighting – keep it simple!

5 Did I say…?

Make sure you plan it out beforehand – this is so important, it’s worth saying twice!


HIGH SPEED PHOTOGRAPHY

ZOOMING IN

high speed PHOTOGRAPHY

Our eyes and brains can’t detect split-second action, but your camera can! In this issue’s masterclass we’ll show you how


ZOOMINGIN

Capture the action

Shoot speed with a speedlight Capture high-speed using slow-sync flash for a sense of motion When shooting in aperture priority mode, by setting your DSLR’s flash controls to slow-sync, you can use your speedlight to freeze a moving subject while still retaining a sense of motion and speed. When using slow-sync flash, you can also choose to set your camera to rear-curtain sync, so that the burst of flash occurs at the tail end of the exposure rather than the beginning, which tends to result in a more convincing sense of movement in the final image. Set your camera to its lowest ISO and a fairly narrow aperture like f18 – or smaller if light levels are high. You want the camera to be able to select

a slow shutter speed, such as 1/15 or 1/10sec. To ensure a really short flash duration, try setting your flash to manual mode and dialling down the power output to 1/32 or 1/64. This also gives you another advantage in that lower flash power leads to shorter recycling times, so you can fire off more shots in a shorter space of time – very useful if you’re on a roundabout and are starting to feel unwell! However, check your results to see if this is resulting in underexposure. If so, simply dial your flash power up a stop or two and carry on shooting. Use Continuous AF to maintain focus on your subject while you are photographing them.

Get ready for action 1

Slow-sync mode When in Aperture Priority mode, set your camera to slow-sync and rear-curtain flash mode. Consult your camera model’s manual for guidance if you are unsure of how to do this.

Flash power Try dialling 2 down the power on your flash for the fastest flash durations possible, such as 1/64. This also helps your flash to recycle faster so you can take more shots.


HIGH SPEED PHOTOGRAPHY

Top tips for high-speed photography

01

Slow your shutter

If you think that high-speed photography is all about fast shutter speeds, then you’re not alone, but most of the images on these pages were taken at shutter speeds no faster than 1/30sec. Some photographers use even use Bulb mode!

02

07

Don’t be too flash

08

A lot of high-speed photography relies on flash, but that doesn’t mean turning your flash up to full power. Speedlights that can be turned down to 1/64 or 1/128 power are ideal, as this offers the fastest flash durations, which is key.

04

Less is more

The best high-speed images are often the simplest. The split-second action that you are capturing is what counts, so don’t overcomplicate things needlessly.

05

If you are planning to make things explode, collide, drip or burst you are certain to end up with lots of mess, so it’s worth taking some time to cover the floor and any nearby furniture before you start work.

Have patience

Trial and error is an unavoidable aspect of high-speed photography, as you are trying to capture such fleeting moments that it’s near impossible to build much predictability and repeatability into the process.

03

06

Lay it on thick

Water is far easier to capture when it has been treated with guar gum, xanthan gum or a similar thickener – a little goes a long way.

Mind the mess

Health and safety

Pellets and broken glass are potentially very dangerous, so wear protective clothing and equipment and ensure that other people – especially children and animals – are out of harm’s way. Don’t forget to protect your camera and lens too!

Pre-focus

With high-speed photography you will often be attempting to photograph something that isn’t there until the crucial second. It’s often easier, and even essential, to pre-focus your lens before you start shooting.

09

Memory test

Be sure to have plenty of memory cards to hand, as you’ll need room for the shots that don’t work as well as the shots that do. You’ll be surprised how quickly a memory card fills up once you get going.

10

Be creative

Water drops, birds in flight, smashing glass, exploding balloons, and colored paint are all popular subjects for high-speed photography. Try to think outside the box and come up with some different ideas for some truly amazing images.

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