The subject for this assignment was James Tolich, a young athlete who had just returned from an international athletics competition in Singapore. James is both a talented triple jumper and a javelin thrower, so I wanted to try and capture some shots that could tie the two together.
The location for the original booked job was at a local park, where I had a feeling wasn’t used for athletics purposes. I rang up James’ dad and we arranged the shoot to be at another park, which had a triple jump facility.
It was a very bright afternoon, and I knew when I got there that I was probably going to use a fair bit of flash to try and even things out.
I ran through some ideas with James, and decided I would actually start off with my difficult shots followed by some simple portraits as my backup ‘safe shots’.
Asking James what part of the triple jump was the best to capture, he suggested mid air in between the hop and the step. He ran through the jump a few times to give me an idea of what I could capture and I agreed that it was the best moment.
I chose to use my 14mm lens for this shot as I wanted to get close to James while also capturing a large part of the scenery to add depth and colour from the grass and sky to the shot.
Due to shooting into the sun, there was no way I would be able use autofocus properly to capture James jumping. So what I had him do was stand in the position where he would be in mid flight. This is where I would do a pre-focus, which is where you focus on a particular spot that your subject will be when you press the shutter button down.
Lighting up the shot I was going to need all the flash power I had. Four Speedlite flashes were used, all set to full power to properly light James. Two were placed on stands on either side of the track in front of him set to 105mm, and the other two on the ground angled towards the spot I was going to take the shot set to 50mm just to cover my bases.
Earlier I mentioned trying to tie the two sports of triple jumping and javelin together. We ended up taking some portrait style shots of him holding onto the javelin on the triple jump track after getting some useable action shots.
Overall, I was pretty pleased with the outcome of the shoot with a total of 7 different shots, and under 80 exposures taken (inc test shots!) in a period of half an hour. Here are a couple others.
Shoot Details :
Canon EOS 5D Mk2
Canon 14mm f/2.8L USM
1/640th @ f/7.1 - 100 ISO
4 x Canon Speedlite flashes set to 1/1 power
PocketWizard TT1 and 4 x TT5
Manfrotto light stands