The problem with flash . . . .


Link Posted 23/03/2014 - 23:35
. . . and night time motorsport.

I thought some here might be interested to learn how you can use Lightroom to dramatically reduce the uneven lighting effect of flash when faced with a similar situation to mine.

Briefly, I am the official track side photographer for a small oval banger racing club. Many of the race meetings are during the winter months and they start after the sun has gone down necessitating the use of floodlighting. This lighting is certainly good enough for the drivers, spectators, and race officials to see the racing, but pretty darned useless for photographing the event.

To augment the floodlighting I use a bare hot shoe mounted AF540FGZ flash, no diffuser. I'm usually at ground level and quite close to the action, hence I get images like these :-

The foreground is well over exposed and the background hardly lit at all.

So once I've got the images into Lightroom I apply 2 'Graduated filters' which, in the olden days, could possibly have been achieved using ND Grad filters on the front of the lens. Difficult, but not impossible.

Lightroom to the rescue. First, I apply a -3 EV (approx) ND Grad to the bottom half of the image with the darkest part of the filter at the bottom and end up with an image similar to the following :-

Next, I apply another +2 EV (approx) ND Grad to the top half of the image. All that remains is to crop, adjust WB, exposure, & contrast, sharpen and reduce noise as necessary.

The resulting image (below) looks much better than the original I think. I hope you agree.

Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream


Link Posted 23/03/2014 - 23:53
I bounced flash off of a reflector when I shot a night stage of the RAC Rally last year, it worked very well and I captured images very much like your photoshop solution.


Link Posted 24/03/2014 - 00:00
Aren't you afraid of blinding the drivers with the flash?

I used to do motorbike racing photography, and the flash was forbidden to avoid blinding the racers.
Yves (another one of those crazy Canucks)


Link Posted 24/03/2014 - 00:23
No Yves. This has come up before and I've asked all of the drivers if they mind the flash. None of them objected, and without it they'd get no photos for most of the year.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream
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