My story of a team photo in harsh lighting

Joined
Oct 17, 2007
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Orland Park, Illinois
I was asked to shoot a team portrait this afternoon. As I was approaching the field, I realized that the sun was going to be coming out of the clouds and that the lighting would be direct and harsh for quite some time. The field offered no shade.

I positioned the players so that the sun was mostly behind them so that they wouldn't be squinting as much. Ideally, I would have lit the team with my new Einstein strobes, but I haven't received my power pack yet. :frown:

So, I set up two Nikon SB flash units very close to the camera left and right--and down enough so that they would add some fill light under the caps. It's the caps that make these baseball photos so difficult!

I don't think the SB's were powerful enough to fully light the players. But, it did help somewhat. Then, I opened up the shadows while processing the raw file in Capture NX2.

In any event, here are a couple of the pictures:

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I suspect that I'll have better luck once I start working with the Einsteins.

Thanks for listening!

Glenn
 
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Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
23,982
Location
Orland Park, Illinois
My favorite is the 2nd one, but the sky looks amazing in both of them. Really amazing.
Thanks!

I must confess to the use of several Nik Color Efex filters while processing the sky with Capture NX. While selecting only the sky, I applied a polarizing filter and a graduated neutral density filter to darken and bring some color to the bright, washed out sky.

Then, selecting only the clouds, I applied a tonal contrast and white neutralizing filter. This gave the clouds some shape and removed a blue cast. Finally, The early season brown grass was made green by using the foliage filter!

Glenn
 
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
23,982
Location
Orland Park, Illinois
great job Glenn. Did you also underexpose (metering the sky) a stop or so while shooting?
Chris,

Thanks.

Ideally, I would have underexposed the ambient light. But, I could see by looking at the histogram that the flash units were not lighting the players enough. So, I didn't want to risk underexposing the image. In the end, I had to add some exposure in Capture NX2.

This is one of those situations where I had to work very quickly. If I had more time, I would have adjusted my meter to center weighted or spot on the players. I think the matrix metering was factoring in the bright sky too much.

Even better would have been to use the studio strobes. Then, I could have overpowered the sun. Although, I would have had to use a neutral density filter to keep the shutter speed at 1/250 or less for the sync speed.

Glenn
 
Joined
Nov 21, 2009
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Location
Baton Rouge, La.
Outstanding shots! Those make the plain shots that yo normally see look, well, plain. I'll bet that the "massive manipulation" works for you rather against you when they see it...
 
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
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Denver, Colorado
Glenn,

GReat job with the quick use of speedlights! I think they look very good for the circumstances you were working in.

Thanks for sharing the images and the story to go with it.
 
Joined
Oct 14, 2005
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1,352
Location
Windsor, Co
Thanks for the story - you did great considering your circumstances. Nice PP!!! Gonna make me investigate your filtering.
 
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