Photographing the Myrtle Beach Pelicans Baseball Team

Photographing the Myrtle Beach Pelicans Baseball Team

I recently had the opportunity to photograph a few members of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans minor league baseball  team.  They are a farm team of the Texas Rangers.  The client asked me to create portraits of these up and coming players.

On my first attempt, I arrived at the stadium just ahead of a thunderstorm.  Not only did I get rained out, but the game that evening was cancelled too.  The second day I had full sun and puffy clouds floating by.  Great chamber of commerce weather, but maybe not so great for portraits in the middle of the afternoon.

My initial thought was to set up an overhead frame to soften the light, but without a crew (and needing to work quickly to move out before the start of the game), I ruled against that.  So instead, I decided to overpower the sunlight and use it as a fill.

I started with a silver beauty dish with a grid on camera left as my main light, then added a large Chimera over the camera for fill.  Finally, I added a flash head with a 7" reflector to the right side as a separation light.  The images were captured with a Canon 5d Mark II with a 24-70, 1/80 at f/22.

To give the magazine an option, I also photographed each player sitting in the dugout.  The lighting was very simple - just open shade.  But this gave the art director a totally different look to choose from and only required a few minutes of the players' time.  Again, the camera was the Canon 5d Mark II and a 24-70 lens.

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Andrew Houser's picture

Nice work!

why 1/80th at f22? Im asking purely through the process of education not because i think i know better :)

Jason Vinson's picture

 i was wondering the same thing. i know its to kill ambient light, but i think the 5D MKII has a 1/200th synch speed... and there is not much that warrants needing an F22 depth of field?

 Exactly what i was thinking, the diffraction at f22 doesn't seem to have
damaged the images (cos their awesome) just intrigued to see why the
1/80th rather then 1/160th or 1/200th at f11-f14, as i say the point is
the images are AWESOME, just hoping to learn something :)

Jason Vinson's picture

one thing that came to mind is that they may have had the stadium lights on... so he may have been using the F22 to get a star burst effect from those lights and we are just not seeing those images. 

looks like a fairly bright day (based on how smiley then sun is in the diagram haha) that's been under exposed and in the batter image the floods aren't on hmmm lol its just gonna be a personal preference thing i bet

To cut the ambient light..

I always thought that your F-Stop would control your subject exposure when using external lighting? So if they were trying to cut ambient light wouldn't they need shutter speed to be faster, as that has the effect on ambient light? Not sure what's goign on here myself. Very curious though, seems like something to be learned here.

Thats a poor and un-educated reply, we know its to cut ambient but as the photographer has himself said it is not the standard practice for cutting ambient as when you up your f stop you make you strobes work harder and can introduce diffraction into the image along with the fact that the hyperfocal distance he has achieved would have also been achieveable at a wider apperture..

The educated and correct answer (as supplied by the photographer) was that he thought the canon topped out at 100th so i imagine he used 1/80th to guarntee no shutter shadowing in the image.

Smart ass answers that contain as few words as yours are almost always not helpful.

double post

Evan Bourcier's picture

Love it. Any peeks at the processing?

Great work!

Andrew Griswold's picture

Loving the deep shadows and detail. Making the best of your surroundings is a great inspiration to always be on your toes in a shoot. Looking to possibly hooking up with the Dayton Baseball team to photograph them next year. Gotta love having an Uncle as the head coach! Great work!

Great work! You were really able to drop the ambient. What type of strobes were used here? 

Milton Morris's picture

Hi John,

Sorry I forgot to answer your question with my other reply.  I used White Lightning x3200's .



Nice, thanks! I'm currently running 3 Einsteins in my setup. I usually run one Einstein and beauty dish for outside shots as it's more mobile, but I might bring out a second one this weekend for my shoot. 

Milton Morris's picture

Hey!  Thanks so much for the kind words.  Yes, the 1/80 at f/22 was just to kill the ambient light.  I could (and maybe should) have used a faster sync speed (for some reason I thought the 5dII only went up to 1/100 flash sync).  As a few have suggested, I certainly didn't need the depth of field. Might have been better to try something with a more shallow depth of field. 

On a side note, that's what I used to love about shooting with a Hasselblad - syncs at any speed.  On the other hand, before that, I used to shoot with a Pentax67 with a sync speed of 1/30.  Talk about having to shoot outside  at f/22 all the time - ha!

As far as the processing goes, nothing too special.  I warmed up the images, but then desaturated them (in Lightroom).  Also, a healthy dose of curves and a some high pass sharpening.

Thanks again for your comments and suggestions.  Let me know if you have any other questions.

I thought it was the Myrtle Beach Mermen.  Kenny F'n Powers!

Kidding aside, really good stuff.  The old wood backed dugout on those last 2 looks awesome.