When we look at magazines like Cream, BMX Plus, Ride BMX, etc. most of the riding photos specially the interesting ones were shoot with strobes. I my case I don’t own strobes so I use speedlights as an alternative. Basically influence by Joe Macnally and Chase Jarvis both Nikon users, not that I like them ‘coz they both use Nikon but because of their shooting style. They incorporate strobes on most of their works. BMX photographers like Yasuyuki Takeo a.k.a Green-G (BMX Plus) and Fat Tony (Ride BMX) are my personal favorites. It gives a lot of impact to the subject if you isolate the subject in any way possible. In some situation we use “bokeh” to isolate the subject from the background or foreground, Some cases panning is suitable specially for any types of sports racing, lastly and the most interesting of all (for me) is strobing. Some call it painting with light or light bending – derived from the animated series Avatar were light is considered as an element that produces power but light is actually not included on the elementals it’s just cool to call it that way so if you do strobing you are a “light bender”.
I use a basic lighting set-up – 2 speedlights a Nikon SB-900 and Nikon SB-600 and a light stand for each. On my sample photos the the speedlight where place face-to-face with a distance of almost 4-6 meters away from each other. The center will be the subject’s playground. You might wanna move around the subject to get the right angle of shot. See the diagram below.
Speedlight setting may vary depending on the situation but in my case I used manual mode 1/16 power on both flash, shutter speed 1/250 (max sync), lens used Nikon 16-35mm F4G VR II @ 16mm F4. Both speedlights were triggered by Phottix Strato 4-in-1. This strobing style was used by Yasuyuki when he visited Singapore for a promo shoot with York Uno (Ares Bykes Japan). I was new in photography on that time. I still use this technique on most of my flatland shots but the speedlight and camera settings were based my own liking and not based on a fix setting use buy a particular photographer. Continue reading