Mar 9, 2009

Random Fun Shoot: Team Impact at FBCK

OK, two random fun shoot posts in a row... I will try to get back to some how-to's soon. Yes, I've been too busy having fun with the camera, which is not a bad thing!

Three members of Team Impact, a group of very strong guys who excel at breaking things, visited my church for five nights of last week. For those of you who are not Christians, it may seem odd to have giants come to break things in church, but dont' worry, it is a bit odd to me also. Break things and tell people about Jesus? Yes indeed... If you want some deeper spiritual aspects of this sort of thing, head over this blog by one of the church leaders for some thoughts.

Naturally, when you combine modern-day giants, fire, and feats of strength, there are photos to be had. Of course, we don't want snapshots, do we?! I spent three nights trying to get some photos that I liked, and had a blast watching Chris, Marc and Greg do what they do.

One thing I already knew... the church is not very bright inside. Of course, I wanted to set up lights. My first attempt was to put one strobe (Canon 430ex 1/4 power) on a column to audience right, about 5' back from the stage. (how does this work? Go to!) This was supplementing another strobe on the camera with a bounce card. Results... fair.

As you can see, the background is really busy, and the flashes are lighting it up, a lot. I was pretty happy with the timing anyway.

Using only ambient light, the Team Impact logo showed up as a nice background element, but there was no way to stop action that way.... here Marc talks to the crowd

You can see there also how the ambient stage lighting causes dark shadow areas in the eyes... not attractive.

Using only the remote flash gave dramatic results, and I got my favorite shot of the evening when Marc was crushing diet 7-up cans...

I knew I would have to work on that in the coming nights.

Finally on Friday, I saw that the single flash was making a nice silhouette on the opposite wall... so I waited for a gesture, thanks Greg

I was completely unprepared for fire.. this is the best I could do, even with a lot of correction in the computer afterwards.

Friday night was a great learning experience to see how these guys operated, and to be prepared for the quick pace as they moved from one thing to the next...

I was ready for Saturday, putting a flash on each side of the stage, barely at the front edge firing directly across the room. Wherever the sprite would fly, I would be ready. It made for dramatic lighting...

It was also awards night for the church's Upward Basketball League so the place was packed for two performances. It is always good to get a perspective that most people don't get to see. Of course, you risk embarrassing yourself in front of a crowd too. Unfortunately, the flash was catching the chandelier, so the attention goes to that instead of the bent-around steel bar.

The kids really enjoyed the can crushing extravaganza..


Sunday night was the big finale, so what to do photographically speaking?

First up I wanted to try a lot of things so I started with a 14mm Sigma on the Canon 5D. Very Wide, unique angle, no flashes, and very dark.


Unfortunately, with the flashes on, the wide angle almost always had a flash in the field of view causing lots of flare.

I went with two remote flashes again, on each side of the stage but further back. I also set them on different channels of the remote (Elinchrom Skyports) so that I could fire them individually or both at the same time.

Together, they lit the stage nicely, although I should have worked on getting less light on the background

Even getting in close the background is busy, but the fire makes it OK, right? Shortly after this i was cleaning fire extinguisher residue off of the camera.

The camera cleaning was a bit pointless, as bursting soda cans was coming soon.... and I wanted to get close.

That was a little too close!

As the program wrapped up, it was time for the promised attempt at snapping an aluminum bat. As you might expect, this took a bit longer than breaking a standard wooden bat... and gave me time to play with using only one flash.

With both, the light was OK..

With only one flash, the light was much more dramatic, and there was less light hitting the ceiling for a cleaner background. I was in the right spot to "frame" Chris' face with the bent bat as he made the final pull.

While their approach may be unorthodox, these guys did a great job of both entertaining and sharing the message of Jesus.

Happy Shooting,

don j.

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