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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Sports 
Thread started 24 Sep 2018 (Monday) 08:10
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Shooting a running race... at night... in the dark. Advice really needed please!

 
Sweetride01
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Location: Tampa, FL, and Southampton, UK
     
Sep 24, 2018 08:10 |  #1

So... my friend in France has organised a "tough mudder" type race for the start of next month. It's near the Gorges du Verdon (translation: it will be in the forest and lakeside). The problem is, it's an overnight race. There will be no ambient light, and it's almost a new moon, so no help there. The runners will be wearing headlights, and guided by glowsticks.

I'm only an amateur photographer, albeit technically minded.

My current gear is:
Canon 6D, 2 batteries
Speedlight 430EX II
Canon 50mm f1.8/II
Canon 70-200mm f4/L
Canon 16-35mm f2.8/L II

I can rent whatever equipment I need, within reason. If it's large, I will have to find a French supplier, as I'm flying, so it should preferably fit in a medium-large suitcase.

So... I really need some advice, both on lighting equipment / lenses and technique. There's some limited reading out there on the internet, but any specific suggestions would be greatly appreciated :-D

My thoughts so far are that I will need some sort of ambient light at the photo point, e.g. a soft floodlight, both for focusing help and for ensuring that I don't surprise or blind the contestants with a flash. Due to the location, they will have to be able to be powered by an on-board power source with sufficient juice for a few hours of shooting. I'm unsure of the focal length needed at the moment, but I know that something f2.8(L) or better would definitely be a good idea.

Please share any expertise you may have on lighting/flash and lenses, and on suitable shooting techniques, as this will definitely be pushing my photography abilities to, or past, the limit.

THANKS!!

David




  
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Mike
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Sep 24, 2018 08:58 |  #2

That's a tough challenge!

I have no experience in night running photos but some googling produced the following:
https://photoproventur​e.com/night-run-photography/ (external link)

Looking at another photographer's website it seems that shooting wide as the runners come past - your 16-35 - and using the AF-Assist in your 430ex should yield some promising results:
https://vesaloikas.com​/blog/juoksu (external link)

I know you said you would prefer not to use flash but I'm not sure how you'll manage without it...the af assist is more than useful and the short pop of light should freeze your subject so the shutter speed won't be so vital to achieve.


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Sweetride01
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Sep 24, 2018 12:55 as a reply to  @ Mike's post |  #3

Thanks a lot Mike... good find with that race in Finland.

I think that I could use the 430EX, but I was wondering if a portable umbrella flash would be better?
As you will have noticed, that race in Finland also still had some background light from the sodium lamps. I was wondering if using something like this portable floodlight (external link) would be a good idea for giving some background light and minimising the blinding effect of the flash? Or, would I then be more likely to get ghosting effects or similar?

Cheers




  
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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Sep 24, 2018 13:06 |  #4

Sweetride01 wrote in post #18714961 (external link)
something like this portable floodlight (external link)

that's what I would do.

grab two, put one on the far left and one on the far right of the subject, then flag them off so the light is not in the eyes of the runner.

don't use flash, just crank ISO.


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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Sweetride01
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Sep 25, 2018 15:11 as a reply to  @ Left Handed Brisket's post |  #5

Thanks Brisket... I'd never read anything about flags, screens or nets until yesterday, so that's a great tip, thanks. I'll probably get two lights, a couple flags or screens, and bring my flash too... Hopefully I'll get something decent between them.

Should my lenses be a good selection, or would I be better to rent an additional low-f-stop prime of some length?




  
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apersson850
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Post edited over 3 years ago by apersson850. (2 edits in all)
     
Sep 28, 2018 17:55 |  #6

Here are two albums. Both contains at least one night time competition. Some data can be read from the INFO function in the album. Maybe they can inspire you. If you wonder about other things, just ask.

Album1 (external link)
Album2 (external link)

Now I've fixed the links. This forum didn't like their original form, as Google photo creates them. Hope you can see the albums now.


Anders

  
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Sweetride01
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Oct 03, 2018 04:11 as a reply to  @ apersson850's post |  #7

Thank you, great find! The majority of those photos seem to look pretty good just with the flash.
In the end I decided on 3x 30w LED floodlights, with an extra set of batteries for each.
I've also bought some colour filters to stick over them if necessary, and a couple of Neewer reflector/translucent screen sets, so I should have several options for direct/indirect lighting.
If I get to have a copy of the photos afterwards then I'll share a few of them here!

Thanks again for the help!




  
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apersson850
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Oct 03, 2018 07:57 |  #8

In my case, many of the photos are taken with one flash unit on the camera itself, and that's it. This is due to the problem with mobility. To be able to take the photos, I need to run around, sometimes out in the terrain, and doing that with multiple light sources would literally require a staff to assist me.

This picture is an example of a more cumbersome setup. It was close to the finish, so my car, with my equipment, was within reasonable distance.
This place was almost pitch black, in the middle of the woods, with no artificial light near enough to reach in between the trees and bushes. There's a small trail passing by, so it made sense for most runners to use that. Due to the lack of natural light, I simply had to add light from a flash, or the pictures would have been nothing. To get around the limitations (flat looking image) you get by using only one light source, I tried a more complex setup.
I positioned myself to the left of the trail, with the master flash (580EX-II with CP-E4) on the camera, a 7D with an EF-S 17-55 mm f/2.8 IS USM. Then I placed another 580EX-II on the right side of the trail, on a tripod. With the 580EX-II, only light pulses could be used for communication master->slave, so I positioned the slave slightly in front of me. I turned the receiver on the slave towards my camera, and fired away.

Available light, if there is any, under such circumstances is seldom balanced and "nice". I decided to try to give the impression that the image was shot with available light, in spite of it all being added by me. Hence I set the slave to the right to dominate the scene, and then added the one on my camera as a fill. It looked more "authentic" if the main light came from somewhere else than the camera's position.

Hehe, reading what I wrote, I realized that this passage could have been from an adventure game on a computer...
This place was almost pitch black, in the middle of the woods, with no artificial light near enough to reach in between the trees and bushes. There's a small trail passing by, so it made sense for most runners to use that.


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Anders

  
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Shooting a running race... at night... in the dark. Advice really needed please!
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