Tuesday 9 June 2009

Pick of the Pix Series, Backlight

Specs: 1/80s, 300.0mm, f/5.6, ISO: 800

Training sessions seem to be when I get opportunities to capture nice creative images. This image of Mark Trotter was taken in the internal arena used for the 2007 World Champs in Quebec City a few days prior to the event. At this stage the mats hadn't been put down and the floor was completely covered with a black synthetic heavy vinyl type of product. The contrast created was nice. At one end of the arena they'd opened some huge doors to let in ventilation or maybe to move in equipment. Mark took a break in the training to watch the senior female patterns team run through their patterns.

I was miles away from him and zoomed my 300mm lens right in to maximum and hand held the shot at 1/80th of a second. The chance of the image being sharp at that slow speed and distance is slim but this is an image stabalised lens so it gives the equivalent of three times the shutter speed in terms of camera shake reduction.

I moved to get him backlit against the door opening and took a few shots at different exposures to try and get some detail in his face. If you leave it to your camera to decide the exposure in a situation like this, with the bright background the shadow areas will be underexposed so you need to adjust your exposure compensation. I was lucky that the overhead lights helped light his face and arms. I could have used flash to provide some fill light, but this look is more natural. Besides I was way too far away!

The great thing with digital is that you get immediate feedback and can adjust the exposure, reshoot, review and repeat until you get the result you like.

I like this image - it is in my top 20 favourites.  

The challenge is to describe why I like it so much.  I'll try...  Firstly it is Mark Trotter - a good friend and he's watching the female team sparring routine looking for faults or areas of improvement.  I like the high contrast of the blown out back lighting. It reminds me of those couple of days prior to the World Champs - the intensity, nervousness, and hard work and also this one training session where we were in a place we weren't supposed to be, with the black vinyl floor which for me was graphically exciting for image making.  I captured a lot of good images in this session.

Here's the original image in colour as it came out of the camera, ie no retouching:

Here are the senior womans team doing their patterns which is what Mark is watching: