Monday, September 23, 2013

Friday Night Lights 13.2 - Learning from Crossfit - Part 2 of 5

LESSON #2 - Understanding Light

The look of victory
The following post is part 2 of a series of posts about lessons learned from documenting the athletes at my local Crossfit Box. Part 1 can be found here.  Thanks for stopping by. 

The calm before the storm

As an amateur crossfitter, I know how important it is to maintain focus in order to execute some of the more technical Olympic lifts. To this day, I still find it difficult to do squat clean or snatch with perfect form.  Although I was not explicitly told not to use a flash, I knew it would be extremely distracting and bothersome to the athletes to use one.  This limited the type of lens I could use, as I would only have available light to work with.  For each of the events, I decided on using the following m43 glass: Olympus 12mm f2, Olympus 45mm f1.8 and the Panasonic 25mm f1.4 (for the most part shooting wide open or near it was my only option).  The only zoom I had (the Olympus 12-50mm - the review can be read here) just wouldn't cut it.

Although I've been a member of the gym for roughly 2 years, I never really analyzed how quickly the intensity and direction of the light would change minute to minute.  The festivities tend to start around 5:00pm or near sunset.  With the gym doors facing west, I realized a large amount of warm light would spill into the gym during the beginning of the day.  The good thing was I could shoot at a lower ISO (decrease the sensor's sensitivity to light and create cleaner images due to decreased noise) stop down my lens (increase the aperture number) to get a deeper depth of field and possibly a sharper image, but was limited to the direction I could shoot at.  For the most part, I would have to shoot with my back to the west side of the gym, as to avoid creating (unwanted in my case) silhouettes or perpendicular to the athletes.

 The infamous box jump
Coach Travis showing us how it's done 

When the sun truly sets, all I had to work with were the fluorescent lights within the gym.  This meant I could pretty much shoot from any direction but had to bump up my ISO to increase the sensor's sensitivity to light, shoot wide open (or near wide open) and adjust for the change in light temperature (from warm to cool).  For modern cameras, the latter issue really isn't a problem with auto white balance algorithms being so great.  I can attest that the OMD's auto white balance feature worked superbly during all of my sessions.  

Start them young.  The cutest crossfit baby ever, Bane

Coach Zeb demonstrating perfect form

The greatest lesson I learned from 13.2 - know your light and know where it's coming from.  Exposure is everything in photography and I get a quick and hard reminder of it's importance. Thanks for stopping by.

So say we all,

Beauty in strength

Love that this gym is god friendly

Critical focus

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