Sunday, August 31, 2008

One Light Wow

Posting has been slow which means I have been busy. Sorry for the lack of regular postings. The entire blogging thing takes time and I really do not just want to throw up any old junk, and waste space on the internet (lord knows there is enough wasted space). Anyways, I also am going to be posting larger images from now on. I figure it is a photo blog right? Make it easier to see.

So without further ado.

This was a really simple shot using one SB800. The setup was easy. The bride saw the window and wanted to get in it, I'm telling you she is a natural at this stuff. So she climbed into the window ledge, and I had my VAL grab a SB800. We tried zooming the flash all the way out and it just didn't look right. So I went totally opposite, zoomed the flash all the way in to 105mm. The flash was popping at 1/1 so I could try and control the late day sun coming through that big window. It worked out well. My VAL was to the camera's left standing in a chair angling the flash down with a little twist as you can tell from the fall off. The fall off is exaggerated with some post processing compliments of Capture NX2 and Nik Software's other cool toy Color Efex Pro 3.0 for NX2. I am assuming most everyone who reads this shoots Nikon. I can't tell you enough how great a program NX2 really is. Even if you are a Photoshop master you should be using NX2 to convert your NEF files to Tiff in NX then open the Tiff in Photoshop. Maybe more on that later.

Not to think that I am the only one using one strobe to do cool things. Flickr user Skunkabilly is doing cool things with his car and one SB800. If you do this, make sure you fasten, and have a safety lanyard on your camera! Check his stream for set-up details and other cool shots.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Great People Deserve Great Things

Some good lighting tips in Joe McNally's Latest Blog. But more importantly a great story. Tom, whom I've had the pleasure of speaking with via email, and Joe both show the strength of the human character.

To Tom, Hold strong brother (and I haven't forgotten the photo just been busy).

To Joe, This is why you are at the top of my list when I look for ideas and how to be a better photographer.

To all the readers, Never underestimate what one person with a vision can do.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I Love TTL Again

After my last fiasco with TTL in the middle of the street I was pretty aggravated. But I decided to have another go of it last night while shooting a couple of bands for the The Dotmatrix Project in downtown Greensboro. Let me set-up the set-up for you! I had a SB800 on camera as commander. Facing the stage I had a SB800 on the left of the stage gelled with a full CTO. On the right of the stage was a SB600 gelled with a Roscoe 2007 Blue. The SB800 was slightly high than the performers heads while the SB600 was considerably higher on top of a fully extended 8 foot light stand. All flashes were used on TTL, Sometimes I used the on board SB800 in TTL some times I did not.

Let me start by showing an example of the ambient levels in the bar. This shot was at Hi 1.0 on my D80 (Approx. ISO 3200) at f/2.8, 1/80s. Pretty ugly since I was shooting with my 70-200 and 200mm at 1/80 is a little, uh...less than optimal. So we see what kind of night I would of have, and if I would have strapped on my Sigma 10-20 which is f/4 at 10mm I would have had to shoot at 1/40 and at 20mm f/5.6 at 1/20. Just not good, and I knew I wanted wide angle and tight shots all night.

The first act up was Tom Beardslee. This is the result of shooting at 1/250 to kill the ambient. I am shooting at f/3.2 (Yes I bumped the command dial I wanted f/2.8, LOL) in order to get the most from the flashes. TTL worked like a charm, the two remote strobes fired away with no correction required from me. The commanding SB800 was set to "--".

The little bit of light that was ambient was provided by the video guys who had two cool little soft boxes with hot light they clamped to the ceiling. I bobbed and weaved every where to avoid getting those things in the mirror behind the performers. Then I decided to use it! Same flash set-up, slowed the shutter speed down to 1/60 to get that ambient hot light where I wanted it, and ta-da instant back light.

Up next Possum Jenkins. This band was great, but more people makes it harder to adjust those lights so teh guy closer to one stand isn't blown out right. Well TTL handles this pretty well. If I had setup using Pocket Wizards I could not have changed the flash power on the units. I would have to shuffle the aperture up and down, which is fine just one more way of doing it. This shot I used the On board SB800 zoomed to 105mm on TTL. The goal was to really throw enough light to make sure the drummers face was lit. The harmonica player is a a little hot on the left, but its OK considering.

Exact same set-up here complete with zoomed on board. The only difference is I rotated around the stage and was directly under the SB800 on stage left, the one with the CTO gel, and I shot in tight.

This could have all been done with the strobes tripped with Pocket Wizards, and adjusting the aperture depending the spot I was shooting at. However CLS and TTL let me focus on my composition. Now this is not to say I didn't keep a check on things to make sure they didn't go wacky on me, because I did. BUt I was very impressed with CLS last night. Other then me positioning myself in spots where I knew the remote strobes wouldn't fire CLS was flawless.

Also, if you find your self shooting in a club, and you have enough strobes, skip the ambient, and light it yourself. And Don't be scared of mirrored walls! Use them, just make sure you keep yourself out of the image.

If you are interested the full set can be seen in my flickr stream now or by visiting THIS SET IN MY STREAM.