Last Thursday the Miyamura Patriots hosted the Gallup Bengals basketball team. I set things up in my usual way - strobes mounted to the balcony railings and connected to my trusty PocketWizard radio units. I took a few test shots and fired the transmitter a few times and both of my speedlights were firing.
The referees started the game and I fired a few frames and checked my camera back. (Yes, I admit it, I "chimp" when I shoot sports with flash). My photos were dark and only partially lit. I ran up to the balcony and checked my batteries. The indicator lights all showed things were powered on, and the speedlight's standby setting was disabled. Perhaps the receiver antennae was making contact with the metal railing and that was the issue? I moved the receiver's and hung them from the clamp holding the flash units. Test shot. Flash fired. I then repeated the process with the unit on the other side of the gym.
I sat back down and got to shooting, and again my flash units were not firing consistently. This was getting annoying. At the half I moved the speedlights and again tested them. Again they worked - some of the time. I managed a few images, and was grateful that I had already covered two previous games and had a variety of images for the yearbook.
Toward the end of the game I had reached my limit and started trying different things. I slowed the shutter speed down to around 1/30th and shot by panning the camera with the action. I knew that the images would have a blur in them, and I hoped the flash firing would freeze the players' faces enough to be recognizable. I made 15-20 images using this technique, and this one worked the best of the bunch.
I like it because it gets away from the static frozen in air stop-motion images I tend to do.
Posted by Jeff Jones