BIG AIR Snowboarding at Night (PHOTOS - Antwerp)

Started Nov 11, 2012 | Discussions thread
OP RoelHendrickx Forum Pro • Posts: 25,271
Tim, Flash was not an option

Timskis6 wrote:

Being a snowboarder myself, I can really appreciate the captured images. I always loved the jumps, though this is quite a lot larger than what I ever attempt.

I really like the first photo, shooting into the lights, it really gives a feel for the night. As others have mentioned, the second is awesome as well.

Did you ever try on- or off-axis flash? Looking at your exposures it seems as though flash would have been a great advantage here, considering the background is almost totally black (i.e. not worried about ambient exposure). And considering you preferred shooting stopped down, an even better scenario for flash (wide DOF and easily workable flash distance). My guess based on your ambient exposures, you could have opted for 1/250s, f/4, and somewhere around ISO400-800 to completely eliminate ambient. Depending on subject distance, you could adjust ISO all the way to 200 if you wanted, to retain some PP flexibility. The DOF would allow you to zone focus, even while panning, making your job a bit easier not having to rely on accurate AF. The flash duration would decrease with increasing ISO, so you could also adjust if needed for freezing motion at ISO400 or 800.

One added benefit with using a flash (off camera at least) is being able to place it where you want, allowing you to get subject isolation using a rim light, against the black background. Could set you apart from any other photographers there.

Now, don't get me wrong, you captured great images, and they are all a success. Just trying to think of other options to even further improve the images, or try and make things easier on you as the photographer. I do think that thinking outside the box can really make something for your name in photography, especially considering you already mastered these images in this type of shooting condition.

Tim, I really appreciate your detailed feedback and always enjoy reading about your expertise with using flash (on or off camera).  I think this expertise is truly awesome and I envy you for it.

But all of that is probably possible when you are doing a photo shoot in which the photos are the most important result, with one photographer and a snowboarder who can take directions.

However, what I shot, was a World Championship event, i.e. a sporting competition.

Look here : and

Big Air is not an Olympic discipline, but most riders here do compete in the Olympics in other snowboarding disciplines like half-pipe or slopestyle.

The sport is the main point, and photography is sideshow, almost a necessary evil to the athletes.

Moreover, on the platform between the jumps, there were always between half a dozen and during the finals at least one dozen photographers competing for the best positions.  No way on earth would it have been possible to set up off-camera flash or do other fancy lighting stuff.

And what's more : none of the pro photographers on the scene used their flash at any time.  At least insofar as I know or saw.

I don't know why exactly, but maybe because nobody wants to run the risk of being an obstacle to the competition.  Just imagine that your flash(es) blind a competitor and he misses his jump...

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/Roel Hendrickx/
lots of *images*:
my E-3 user field *report* from Tunisian Sahara:

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