On Wednesday 5th October, I went to do a photo shoot at the university’s boxing club after emailing back and forth to make sure I was allowed to. I was planning on trying to revisit martial arts photography after being introduced to it around 6 months ago. I found it difficult to get ‘back into the swing of it’, particularly adjusting to shutter speeds to capture action shots.
Having worked on ISO during the lecture the Tuesday before, I wanted to try and experiment with it to deliberately make my work more noisy. I also took inspiration from Laura El Tantawy (Understanding ISO (blog)) when considering using ISO effectively.
When I got there, I immediately noticed the tungsten lights in the small room and figured that I’d have to increase my ISO to make the images bright enough anyway.
I experimented with different angles as well as use of flash (particularly as I’m still trying to get used to using flash). As you can see, the image on the left is fairly noisy. That’s because I used an ISO of 1600 which is my camera’s maximum ISO.
In comparison, I used a flash in the second image which you can tell because of the hot spots on the subjects’ legs as well as the harsh shadows on the floor. I like that I was able to capture the action of the subject jumping. Again, I was able to do this more successfully through the use of flash. I used an ISO of 1600 on this image, however it looks less noisy because of the flash.
I also tried to use different angles to document the gym more effectively. I enjoyed using this lower angle as it gave more depth to the image. I used flash in both of these images (evident through the hot spots and harsh shadows) which enabled me to capture the fast movement. Again, I used my maximum ISO of 1600 in both images which made the background noisy, however it also enabled the background to be well lit. I used an aperture of 4.3 in both of these which also enabled the wider depth of field. I don’t think a higher F stop would have worked as well because the image would’ve been considerably darker.
Towards the latter part of the 2 hour session, I realised that the people were getting more tired, so they were becoming more expressive while training. Because of this, I started to try portraits . Again, this became tricky because of the movement. All of these were shot with an ISO of 1600 which explains the noisy background in all of them. I also used flash in all of them which helped with capturing the movement. I also feel that the flash worked well to show the sweat on the subjects.
These two images were shot using flash again which helped me to capture movement. However, because I was using a high ISO, the shutter speed was a little slower to ensure that the images were lit well enough. This, in turn, created motion blur. I like this effect, particularly in this subject of work as it’s very powerful and it shows his power and speed.
Finally, these two images are my personal favourites from the night. I used flash in both, but accidentally covered a bit of the flash with my hand while focusing them. However, I like the effect that they gave. The facial expressions show the effort the subject is putting into the pad work he was doing. I also like the scar as I feel like it helps to tell a story. Again, the use of flash also helps to highlight the sweat. I used manual focus which was risky, particularly when the subject is moving, however this gave me the shallow depth of field that I wanted in the image.
I hope to revisit this gym at some point as I’m more comfortable and used to the lighting that was there. Revisiting should also help me to catch different people in action which would hopefully provide more interesting facial expressions.