The above image was shot with the new 645 D FA 25mm lens. When using wide angle lenses and still trying to fill the frame with the subject, you can get a little too close to the action. A fraction of a second after this shot, Kabayama’s left foot glided a little too close to the lens for comfort. (When Q lent me the lens he had stated, “Please be careful with this one Willson.)
For the following sequence I used the standard 55mm lens giving me a little more breathing room. The third image is the real money shot – it captures the essence of the shoot in a single image, and it was the most difficult to produce.
To freeze action in this way you have to use either bright ambient light and a very fast shutter speed, or low ambient light and a strobe with a very fast flash duration.
I turned off all the lights in the dojo, then used a strobe system with a flash duration of about 12,000 / sec to stop time. It also required a little luck to get Kabayama sensei mid-flight as the camera only shoots one frame per second. Very pleased with this shot, I like the way the strobe casts a clear shadow of Kabayama sensei’s left hand just before impact.
A big thank you to Kabayama sensei who was willing to be slammed into the matting repeatedly in the name of photography!