Marc has been shooting wakeboard for many years now, for him, the easiest way to shoot this kind of water sport is to take the pictures from the boat itself with a long lens.
But flash power was never enough… Until now.
Being an addicted wakeboarder myself, this was quite easy for me. That’s why I have been trying all kinds of things with different approaches and angles to get unique wakeboard shots. For example, sitting in a tube, being on a wakeboard myself, working with long poles, drones and so on.
But one thing that has posed a challenge for me until now, is being able to work with flashes in wakeboard photography. Either the flashes haven’t had enough power – imagine the wakeboarder is about 75 feet (25 m) behind the boat, and so for this distance you need quite a bit of power – or the sync speed wasn’t fast enough to capturing the action in a sharp image.
Bingo! When Elinchrom announced the new ELB 1200, I noticed that this flash could be the solution for a project I had been thinking about for quite a while: a flash held in the boat by an assistant while I am shooting out of an inflatable tube being towed backwards at 37,5 km and remotely triggering the flash with the transmitter mounted on my camera (see drawing). Both devices were protected from the water by the water cover made by Outex.
Sam Lutz – one of the best Swiss wakeboarders – was the one to call for such an experimental project! He was fascinated by the idea right away. One week later, everything was set up and prepared. The ELB 1200 was ready to board! The weather was also on our side. One of the last warm summer evenings was forecast.
It was exactly what I was hoping for: an atmospheric sunset combined with some perfectly flash-lighted wakeboard action.
Sunset was around 8.15 pm, so we started shooting at 7.45 pm. Everything worked out smoothly. I set the flash at full power, and then, before starting the actual shoot, I tested the flashlight with Sam sitting in the water 75feet (25m) away from the boat. By pointing my thumb up or down, I guided my assistant, who was on the boat, to regulate the flash power step by step until the lightning was perfect.
The settings I started with were: 1/1600, f4, ISO 500. Because we were able to regulate the camera settings while shooting on water, we ended up working until it was almost dark at 9 pm (1/800, f2.8, ISO 500). The project resulted in stunning images which Sam, looking at them on my view finder, described as “wakeboard images brought to a new level”.