Friday, July 4, 2008

CLS Position Limitations

A recent question by a new comer to the Flickr Nikon CLS group has me visiting an oldie but goody, CLS position limitations. We all have had people tell us, "CLS is only works if you have an unobstructed line of sight." or "CLS will not work if you can not see the remote flash." So I say yes and no. Let's define a little better what CLS really needs.

1) Line of sight- This is not really accurate. What it should say is CLS needs to See the light. The remote strobes only need to see the light from the commanding unit. Remember light bounces, and as such we can manipulate that.

2) It doesn't work outdoors in sunlight- Uh, no there have been many tests by members of the CLS Group which show otherwise. There are fewer things for the commanding unit's light to bounce off of. So you just have to compensate and be aware of.

What do you do then? Use whatever you can to bounce the commanding flash to your remote strobes. Examples of things to use: Walls, Mirrors, Mini-Mirrored Disco balls (You know who you are), Ceilings, Car Doors, White T-shirts, and on, and on, and on.

The above shot was shot with my D80, pop-up as commander, directly in the front center of a 43" shoot through umbrella (poor mans ring flash) with a SB600 on 1/2. I was about 5 foot from the wall. The opposite wall from the model was at least 25 feet behind the camera and painted black, the ceiling was also black but pretty low. The SB600 fired every time behind the camera through an umbrella. So yes it can be done. If I would have had a problem I could have used a small mirror to bounce the flash back over the camera. But the light colored wall worked well enough.

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