Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Learning 2 Flash Photography, The Hard Way

My son assisted me in experimenting with two flashes. He held the external flash and I used the on-camera flash. The problem I have is that I bought a Cowboy Studio NPT-04 set. I thought that I could fire the remote flash through the trigger; but, it didn't work out. My camera doesn't have a sync cable port; I can only fire the external flash manually. 

This can be problematic because I would have to lower the shutter speed to give me enough time to fire the remote. I'd have to make the flashes stop the motion. 

Knowing this, I underexposed my camera by 2 stops. On full power, my flash gives me 3 stops up or down. Since the external flash would fire at full power, underexposing compensated. I underexposed by lowering the ISO to 100 and closing the aperture to the max, f8. My shutter speed started at .3 seconds and moved to .4 seconds. I was able to see the camera flash fire and also fire the external flash manually. Not ideal; but, it worked...sometimes. 

For the moment, Pocket Wizards are bit outside my budget. I could always buy a cheap-o flash for these experiments; but, I made the mistake of buying cheap remotes. Well, maybe I'm too harsh. Without the sync cable port on my camera, it's not the remote's fault. A little improvisation gets me in the ballpark. 

For example, absent the ability to control my external flash's power, it's a Speedlite 270EX II, I can adjust the power by having my son move back or forward. I could also adjust the power to the on-camera flash. Then, there's the reflector, etc... 

I did this mostly to see if I could do it. Otherwise, I'd have chosen a better subject than a work glove on my barbecue grill. It was fun. My kids had fun too. 

First attemp. On-camera flash only. Did not sync the external flash.

Another misfire. 

We got the external flash to fire; but, my son was standing too close. 

My son stood back a little further. Both flashes captured. Side flash still a bit strong.

Misfire. Between shots, the external flash would time out. 

Placed flash behind and below the glove for a highlight. 

Moved the camera back a bit. On camera flash power is lower. 

Turned up the power on the on-camera flash to full. Back flash timed out. 

Back flash failed to fire again. 

Camera flash on full, rear flash on full. You can see the glove's shadow on the backdrop. 

Lowered the power of on camera flash by 1 stop. Got the highlight. 

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