POCKET WIZARD FLEX TT5 for NIKONS!!!!!!!
Some bumbling fool paints a Nikon d90 pink, er I mean magenta. This made me cringe so bad, especially here. Poor camera!
Here’s a pretty impressive video shot on the D3S. Oh, how I clamor at the idea of getting my hands on one of these bad boys!
One of the things I like to do when photographing a reception is to set up a couple off camera lights. I think it adds a really dynamic look to the light while at the same time giving me options to be a little bit more photojournalistic. Instead of being right up in the guest’s face I can sit just off the dance floor with a long lens and get really candid, emotional photographs.
It can be difficult to plan a lighting scheme which covers you no matter where your subject moves. Recently, as clients have been taking dance lessons, it’s become harder and harder to predict where they’re going to be. Ahhh, how I yearn for the days of the shuffle when you could predict that the bride and groom would probably stay in one 4ft by 4ft space on the dance floor.
The method I prefer to use, understanding that every situation has little variables you can’t plan for, is to set up two lights so that they’re cross-lighting each other. One will be at one end of the room and another diagonally across the dancefloor (or whatever space you’re lighting) at the other end of the room. The beauty of this is that almost everywhere people move I’m able to light them well and make a dynamic image. I’ve used this for everything from lighting receptions including toasts, cake cutting, and dancing, to making pictures of actors in independent theatre productions doing experimental movement, and improvisation.
As you can see, drawing - I don’t do, but this should give you a basic idea of what I mean when I say one light will be at one end of the room and another will be diagonally across the room on the other side.
On equipment and exposure method. I’m a Nikon guy so I happen to have a couple of Nikon flashes with me at all times. SB-800s are absolute power horse flashes and they’re light, portable, have an exceptional refresh rate and are adjustable in 1/3rds so I can really get a lot out of them. They have an integrated system known as CLS (Creative Light System) which allows you to fire them wirelessly and it will actually TTLthe flash to your camera! There’s just one draw back - you need to be within line of site of the flash on your camera and the off camera flash in order to make them trigger. In some instances this isn’t a problem, but when it comes to working a packed dancefloor, or setting up the flash so it’s behind someone’s head giving them a rim-light, it can be problematic. Enter Pocket Wizards. These things are life savers. I carry 3 of them with me at all times… they’re absolutely fantastic. They’re actually working on a version now for Nikon which will allow you to TTL with your camera up to 8000/1 of a second! Talk about amazing! They’ve already released it for Canon, however, as I say they had to get ones out for the inferior cameras so they could work out the kinks with that market, and give the ones that work perfectly to the Nikon users. Either way, a couple of SB 800s with pocket wizards, and a good photographer can make it look like the most expensive profoto set up that ever existed. Here are some of the pictures I’ve made with my little setup.
When it comes to getting the exposure right, I always start with baseline settings and then make single adjustments until I get the exposure I like. For example: ISO 640, ƒ3.5-ƒ4, 40th of a second, 4500 K. My flashes will typically be 1/4-1/8th power depending on distance to the dance floor. What I’m looking for is a good pop on my subject, so they’re will illuminated, but I’m also getting some ambient light from the room so it doesn’t look like they’re in the ‘black hole of calcutta’. If it’s dark sequentially bump your ISO to 800. Lower your shutter speed as low as a 20th. Still dark? Up the flash power. It’s a pretty simple formula, and since you’re working with digital it doesn’t mean anything to just take a picture and see what you’re getting. Test, adjust, test, adjust.
Once you get it setup play with the direction you shoot. Shoot so that your subjects head is between you and one of your flashes, which gives them a nice hair light. Shoot so that they’re being side lit by the two lights (so if you’re looking at them flash A is hitting them on one side of their face and flash b is hitting them on the other). Shoot so your subject is being 3/4 lit with flash A and flash B is popping over their shoulder casting a big flare in your lens. Yes, Flare I say! Use flare! It’s cool!!!! Don’t believe me, go watch the new Star Trek. Shoot wide, shoot zoomed in… Test, adjust, test, adjust. Just keep tweaking. Of course when it comes time to get the goods (example first dance), you should have made all your adjustments, so you’re confident enough that you don’t need to take your eye away from your view finder. By the time that moment comes along, you should have a great idea of what you’re getting without pasting your face to the LCD. Also, as a little tip (specifically for weddings) when the moment comes for their first dance the room manager or DJ/band ALWAYS change the lighting. Either they lower the level of the ambient lights in the room, or the DJ/band turn on their little lighting setup. Your situation can change in the blink of an eye, so you need to be able to move with those changes and still make good pictures.
There are of course other ways to set up off camera flashes to help give your pictures a more dynamic look, but the best advice I can offer is to shoot pictures and come up with a formula that you really like. Learn your equipment really well, and play with your lights until you’re comfortable with them. Then play with it some more. Get yourself into situations where you’re scared and you’re not sure what you’re going to do, it’s the best way to learn, so if it happens to you in the field you’ve got the confidence to go out and improvise and dig your way out of the hole.
For photographers looking to change up their scene, I really hope that this helps. However, there is no knowledge like that gained by you personally! So go out and learn yourself something about flash!
Wow! It’s like buying a 70-200 ƒ2.8 VRII Lens and getting a D5000 for $400. That’s pretty dope!
We are.. It’s true.
Here’s the story, Click through the picture for even more amazing pictures.
Photographer Jason Hawkes, a frequent contributor to the Big Picture blog, returns today, sharing with us some of his latest images of American cities seen from above at night - New York City and Las Vegas, both cities that undergo significant transformations after the sun goes down. From Hawkes: “The images of New York were shot on Nikons latest camera, the D3S, using three gyro stabilizing mounts and flown using twin star helicopters. (Eurocopter AS355). We flew from heights of just over 500 ft up to 2,500-ft with no doors on, it was very very cold. The images of Las Vegas were shot for a separate project, using a range of helicopters from a Robinson 44 to Eurocopter AS355”. Be sure to see Hawkes’ earlier entries here (1,2, 3), and check out his newly-released book “London at Night”. A book of his New York at night photos is due for publication in the Autumn. Captions provided by the photographer.
Sunset near 17 Mile Drive in Monterey, CA. Photo by Dad.
Taken by a Nikon D700
Here’s a video that was completely shot on the Nikon D90 for a photo shoot we did at an Apple Orchard. It was shot and edited by Ben Mahoney of BMP in Chicago. We really like the depth of field that we were able to achieve by using Prime DSLR lenses. Stay tuned for even more awesome videos and photos shot on the Nikon Platform.
So, follow us if you’re looking to buy a camera and want to know what the best stuff on the market is all about.