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Getting ready for basketball...HELP!

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by gnagel, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. I'm beginning to think about what I need to capture better basketball photos this upcoming season. Last year, I tried shooting in dimly lit gyms using just the ambient light with my D300. Needless to say, the results were not stellar.

    Towards the end of the season, I started using my SB-800 and SB-600 (triggered using the on-camera flash). The two flashes were very close to me on the floor and positioned to bounce off the ceiling and the back wall. The results were much better than earlier in the season (with just ambient light). But, there is much room for improvement.

    I now have a D700 which should perform better at the higher ISO settings. Given that strobes are allowed in these small gyms, what type of lighting should I be looking at?

    My thinking was that some Pocket Wizards for my two SB flash units might be the way to go for now. I have clamps and could easily position the flash units in a variety of ways.

    Will the two SB units be sufficient to light one side of the court?

    I am also considering the Alien Bees, but I have no idea how I would power those. Maybe it is overkill for the amount of basketball that I will be shooting?

    Any thoughts?

  2. bobcool


    Jul 27, 2008
    Fort Worth, TX

    If you already have two flashes and clamps, then all you need is the PocketWizards. Strobist had a great blog article explaining how he lighted half a bball court with two Speedlights. Check it out here!
  3. Thanks Bob...

    I think I'll invest in some Pocket Wizards and give that method a try. The good news is that I'm shooting games in very small gyms--which make them easier to light. The bad news is that the gyms are very poorly lit.

  4. awesome link
    thanks so much
    i appreciate it
  5. what lens were u using? maybe investing in a more faster lens? im not to fond of using strobes during a basketball gym because often times it might distract the players.
  6. vz223


    Dec 7, 2007
    Do you have a 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 or even the 85mm.
    I found that using flash in some venues can be more work then it's worth and relied on my 50mm 1.8 and got excellent results. My son plays in a CYO league and some of the gyms seem to be lit with the left over candles from mass, but he 50mm is a charm.
    Please post some when you have the chance.
  7. tjk60


    Dec 4, 2007
    troy, mi
    Glenn I shot alot of my son's team last year in some of the most dimly lit barns you'll ever see. I used the D200/35 f/2, 50 f/1.8 and the 85 f1.8. I added to SB800s on clamps, clamped to the stands.

    The main issue you have to watch out for is how many consecutive shots you can get. I dialed the SB800s down to 1.4 power so I could pop 3-4 shots in a row. Watch out you don't overheat.

    My son's home gym has a ceiling that is pinted black, so my only option was to 'skim' the light over their heads. It worked out pretty well...

  8. here's a big investment way

    And Alex's blog...

    I think you get a good idea for placement. No, I don't think the ABs would be overkill. I think you could put an SB-800 on each side, they give off quite a bit of light, it's recycle time that is the concern.
  9. I do own some fast lenses (such as the 85 f/1.4), but the lighting is really very ugly in these gyms. My limited use of strobes positioned next to me yielded much better color and clarity last year.
  10. I may have to go that route as I do have an 85 1.4. However, I found that the strobes helped bring some additional color and clarity to my images last season--even though I just positioned them at my feet and bounced them off the ceiling at the time.

  11. Tim,

    I think I'll try a similar approach. Fortunately, a few of the gyms have white ceilings that aren't overly high, so I might be able to use bounced light.

  12. Thanks very much for the links. I found them very informative.

    I think I'll try to using my SB flash units this season rather than go the expensive route--at least for now.

  13. tjk60


    Dec 4, 2007
    troy, mi
    here is a bounced effort in a white gym, white ceilings and a block glass window at one end...

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  14. Thanks Tim...the lighting certainly looks adequate in that shot.

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