Surfing Photography? Do I use a flash?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by feRRari4756, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. feRRari4756

    feRRari4756 TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys Im hoping someone on here photgraphs surfing (in the water, not from shore) but if not im thinkning you guys can still help me. I want to get shots like this (of course higher quality, i just wanted to show you the angles and stuff):

    http://www.richard-seaman.com/USA/Cities/SanDiego/Surfers/InABarrel.jpg

    http://archives.starbulletin.com/2005/10/23/promopic.jpg

    http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01443/dane-reynolds_1443177i.jpg

    So now I have a 30d, canon 70-200 L USM F/4.0 and a Canon 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM. I'll probably be using the 17-55 for surf pics. My question is: DO I NEED A FLASH FOR THESE PICS? i'm wondering because I am buying a waterproof casing adn dont know If i should get the flash one or the regular one. here are the two i'm looking at:
    Ewa-Marine | U-B 100 Underwater Housing f/ SLRs w/ | EM U-B100

    Ewa-Marine | U-BXP100 Underwater Housing | EM U-BXP100 | B&H

    Do you guys think I would need a flash or no? And If I did, do you think it would even be powerful through the plastic case that i'm buying? (I would be using a Canon 430ex II)

    Thanks!
     
  2. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Normally, I'd say use flash. Given your environment, I'd say get a used rebel and shoot it with that...
    Electronics and water.... :D
     
  3. redtippmann

    redtippmann TPF Noob!

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    I would say no to the flash. Only because you will most likely be at or near eye level with the surfers and a flash can be distracting. And if it were me i would need all the concentration to even stand on a surfboard.(but I never tried)

    And you may ask, why would they make ones with room for flash? Well one of my good friends shoot underwater all the time and he says that he always uses flash because the natural light can get pretty dim even when near the surface.

    So if you might want to shoot underwater some time, I would go with the case that can accommodate a flash unit.

    PS: Take my advice with a grain of salt because I never shot a situation like this. But good luck!
     
  4. chip

    chip TPF Noob!

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    If your subject is over 100 feet away, a flash will make hardly any difference. So I would say - no flash.
     
  5. bryan_h

    bryan_h TPF Noob!

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    I can't answer your question, but I thought I would throw this out there. Clark Little takes amazing wave photos in Hawaii. His site gives good info of how he shoots the waves and it may help you.

    Clark Little Photography, Hawaii | Official Site
     
  6. Tiny

    Tiny TPF Noob!

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    I wouldn't use a flash because your shutter speed will be slower, just shoot at iso 200 and a faster shutter speed, the pictures will look better if the water is still and the surfer wont be blurry. but i would buy the flash one because you may want to do some underwater shooting and its better to have it and not need it then to need it and not have it.
     
  7. feRRari4756

    feRRari4756 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks fr all your replies! One post brought up an important point.

    I want to use at least 1/800 shutter speed so will a flash even be effective with that? Is there a way I can't set te flash to be a fill flash at 1/800? Or is the shutter speed too fast?

    Thanks
     
  8. spudgunr

    spudgunr TPF Noob!

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    I had to look it up (I'm a Nikon guy), but it looks like your camera can use high speed sync, so 1/800th would be fine. However, flash output will be drasically reduced, so you'll need to buy as powerful of a flash as you can afford. FP flash mode robs power from the flash by pulsing it at weaker levels multiple times so there is light throughout the shutters movement.

    Flash Photography with Canon EOS Cameras - Part I.

    I only looked at the first picture you showed, but that picture could have benefited from fill flash IMO.
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I would not shoot such shots with an 18-55mm lens - because if your goign for shots that close (as shown in the images you linked to) chances are that the surfer is going to surf right into you (followed by the wave crashing over you both) - not something either of you wants to happen.

    From what little I know of surfing photography most is done with much longer lenses - 400-600mm type focal lengths so that you can shoot without getting in the way. For shots like the one your showing you appear to need to be in the water at least, but you would still need a long focal length so that you and the surfer didn't collied (and so that you don't get hit by the wave which is just not healthy when your using a DSLR ;))
    edit - I'm pretty sure that second shot you link to is taken from the shoreline using a longer lens

    Of course waterproofing and saltwater become more of a problem as you head down that road so I would do some serious research into this. Further a flash in the hotshoe is a decent hold but it won't take abuse without being damaged - something to consider .
     
  10. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Debatable on this point - not because of the saltwater issue, but because of AF speed. Subjects moving toward the camera are one of the more challenging things for AF to lock onto and I have had trouble just getting a husky in focus (with a 70-200mm f2.8 IS so good lens AF speed) when running toward my camera and I am using a 400D. Its not impossible, but the camera is certainly not as quick as some of the more advanced models and it can make all the difference when working in such an environment
     
  11. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Flash duration at full power is about 1/1000sec so your shutter speed doesn't have to be any faster than the normal sync speed, around 1/250. The flash duration will stop the motion.

    FP sync is reduces the power which also shortens the flash duration to as short as 1/40,000sec.
     
  12. spudgunr

    spudgunr TPF Noob!

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    In broad daylight flash duration and brightness is not going to stop any motion when being used as fill flash. It will make the dark areas when the guy is covered under a shroud of wave more vivid I would think.
     

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