crashed ice. TT5s, and speedlights

It was a weekend of Red Bull Crashed Ice competition in St. Paul, Minnesota.  If you don’t know Crashed Ice, you don’t know adrenaline.  Check it out here.  Red Bull can really stage an event.  Totally awesome and a bit mind boggling as 115,000 hearty Minnesota folks, much stouter than me, showed up for the finals on Saturday night.  I arrived with the idea to use two speedlights to shoot the skaters, and trigger the lights with PocketWizard Flex TT5s.  Red Bull was cool with the use of speedlights and I was grateful for RB’s progressiveness.  Not all sports promoters allow lights.  The TT5s worked wonderfully, and even the Eneloop batteries cooperated despite some pretty chilly conditions in St. Paul, especially when the sun set.  The sport creates lighting challenges as the ice is very reflective and I didn’t want to trigger the flashes in the direct path of the skaters.  The skaters race down a course at speeds of upwards of 40 miles per hour so timing the shots was a bit of a challenge and concentrating helped keep my mind off of the tingling in my exposed skin and toes.  The course winds past the Cathedral of St. Paul and the structure provided a dramatic backdrop for some of the shots.  The TT5s allowed me to easily sync at shutter speeds well over 1/250th second.  I also used one SB900 on camera after a bit of an unexpected technology issue at the finish line:  I was perched above the ice 20 yards past the finish line…. turns out that on occasion, the skaters stop their run by crashing into the wall where I was standing.  I was fine, but the impact sent the speedlights flying off the Manfrotto bracket I used so I switched to “on camera” for a shot or two after retrieving a speedlight, a TT5, and batteries that escaped their chamber, all of which went airborne for a small distance.  Anything for the shot!  Here is how some of the shots came out.




Thanks for stopping by my blog.  Mark