BC Superweek with Fujifilm EF-X500 High Speed Sync - Joe Ng

2017-07-27

I have been waiting for the Fujifilm EF-X500 flash to show up at my door for a long time. It arrived on time before the 2017 BC Superweek kicked off in July. Featuring 8 pro races over the course of 10 days, BC Superweek has fast become one of the most prestigious pro-cycling events in North America!


The criterium-style race features a mass start and an estimated 1000-metre circuit that cyclists navigate for an expected 45-55 laps. More than 200 men’s and women’s cyclists will pass by every minute, making the races a thrilling experience.


The corner shots is one of my favorite and also is dangerous for photographers and cyclists. Having the advantage as a photojournalist, I can shoot all angles inside the fence. When I come to the corner location, I have to pay extremely attention as the cyclists are passing by within arm length at 40-60km speed.

I planned my corner shots after 7pm as the Fujifilm EF-X500 does not have enough power to overpower the sun. I would wait until the sun getting lower as I will lose more power when using the HSS (High Speed Sync) function. The advantage of HSS is that it creates very consistent lighting across the entire image. The disadvantage is that because the flash is outputting so many bursts of light in such a short period, the flash has to be fairly close to the subject. The light output also decreases with faster shutter speeds and the color temperature of the light may vary as the shutter slit moves across the sensor. HSS eats through batteries quickly so I have the Fujifilm EF-X500 connected to the EF-BP1 power pack. There is a very good article explaining HSS in details from Elinchrom and you can find the link here: http://www.elinchrom.com/learn/hss-hs.html


The HSS corner shots below are done with one of my favorite combos, the Fujifilm X-T2 fitted with the XF14mm lens. As a camera and lens duo, they’re a super light and sharp tandem. The EF-X500 flash was sitting on the hotshoe switched at TTL mode and shutter @ 1/2000. You have to remember to change the flash sync mode to FP.

The dragging shutter shots are done with the same setting. I just change to shutter speed to 1/125 sec for my panning shots. In order to have the motion blur behind your subjects, you have to change the flash sync mode to rear by using the 2nd curtain.

All photos below are done with two X-T2s fitted with the XF14mm lens and XF100-400mm lens. They both are my go to combos for cycling races.


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