Using High Speed Sync to Freeze Action

One of the most fundamental skills any photographer can have is the ability to mix both ambient and artificial light. This helpful video takes it a step further by using high speed sync to photograph action while still maintaining some ambient light to complete the shot.

Coming to you from Gavin Hoey with Adorama TV, this great video tutorial details how to use high speed sync to photograph action while mixing ambient light and artificial light. In this case, Hoey wants to mix the two simply because without context, a BMX biker suspended in mid-air is simply less impressive than having the surrounding environment. To do this, Hoey demonstrates how using traditional flash isn't enough, as he bumps up against his camera's maximum sync speed while the rider is still blurred. To get past this, he switches to high speed sync mode to increase his maximum shutter speed. He then keeps his aperture wide open and varies the ISO to control the ambient light to provide him a nice balance that shows the BMX park in addition to the rider. It's a versatile and highly useful technique. Check out the video above for the full rundown of the technique. 

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9 Comments

Eric Salas's picture

Seems kinda weird how he says multiple times in the video that his goal is to freeze the action and balance the ambient lighting but in the final photos he killed all the ambient lighting...

Paul Lindqvist's picture

You can meter HSS with L-858D. As for the video, kind of cringe to see such a poor execution and result... I get what he wants to illustrate but why not think of the end result as well?

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Are these HS or HSS? I would think HS would be preferable.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

HSS since godox do not do HS natively and even though you get get HS to work to some degree it will pretty much be limited to full power since its only at full power the Fd will be long enough.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Ok, so I thought Godox may be did HS and I was actually looking to see about complementing a set up of mine with the Godox. Hoey says these in the video are Flashpoint I believe. I use Siros in HS to shoot fast cars in motion at night and combine ambient light when it is strong enough but I don't like to take the Siros at some tracks due to their cost. Thanks for the details.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

Flashpoint is the label the manufacturer is Godox same thing different label. For freezing action with shutter speed HS is still the Best performer. That's why ELB 1200 is official Red Bull Gear.. 😉

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Ok, thanks. I have also an original Broncolor Mobil that does allow HS at 1200ws. I've used it a couple times, it's just not practical. The Topaz A2 will also work with HS, 1600ws, but need a generator on location. I sure don't want to invest into another expensive brand. Very glad I asked, Godox is out of my options for now. Thanks again.

stir photos's picture

good video. i feel like it's a good place for someone like me who's never tried freeze action shooting to begin from...

i think i saw a little no handy / no feet superman briefly and was a little bummed not to have seen that in the final shots- especially if there's any inversion... :( also, i was wondering if shooting from that box off to the side was a possibility while jack was going off on the other box? with that in mind, i feel like those tricks might have more effect from the side, while something like a table top might be better when shooting from below... i dunno tho, so...

thanks for the share, good video. props to jack- good ride! oh, and, was that an old church converted into some ramps? nice!

With such fishy light in the room why would you want to balance to it... :-)