Tuesday, March 16, 2010

11 presets for night-shots by Sarah

11 presets for night-shots by Sarah

Hare are some great presets for night shots. Not for everyone's tastes and nothing which couldn't be done with some fooling around with the already present presets in lightroom, but they do provide a definitive starting point.
Highly recommended!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Using the flash as a main light up close. / Timing, timing, timing!!

Recently a close friend of mine wanted a shot of his wife and baby son. The shot was difficult as in I had to shoot in a bed room where the baby would be most comfortable, but the bad was the bedroom would have been around 15ft X 15ft ...and off white. Which meant if I had to get a dark/black background, my light would have to really close to the subject.

Why does the light have to be closer to get a quick light fall off? Here is a very good read.

Fortunately, I dint have to deal with the usual bedroom clutter as they had a very neat setup.
Knowing the subjects before hand can be quite a relief as you don't have to waste time getting comfortable with them etc etc.Even after that they can be quite nervous when facing the camera. Lucky for me both the father and mother were not at all camera conscious.

Strobist info:
Nikon D70
1/320 sec, f 4.5, iso 400
Vivitar 285 in shoot through umbrella at 1/4 power about 5 feet from subject , left of camera on a voice activated light stand.

End Of Post

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Roscolux Gels.

Have been wanting to buy these since a long time but have been putting it off. Here they are. I dint buy these, but were actually a gift from my friend. I dint expect them to be such a large set.

From Gels and gpod

They even have a detailed transmission response curve for each gel.
From Gels and gpod

Just need to figure out how to organize these with the detail card. They are are a perfect fit for the sb800, but a little too small for the Vivitar 285HV though.

Get them here

End Of Post

What about this!

There seems to be a lot of debate about the perfect light stand for off camera strobes.Here is my El cheapo trick.

Most of you are familiar with the Gorilla pod. But how about using it as a light stand in those inconvenient situation?

From Gels and gpod

I haven't really had a chance to use these in real life situation but....

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

D70 Long term review and biased opinion.

As most of you guys know, I use and will use a Nikon. My first rendezvous with a Nikon was my girlfriends Nikon FM10. To be very honest , I wasn't overtly impressed with it. Fast forward a bit, one of my friends gave me a FM2 to use for a while. And boy was I hooked onto this Nikon thing.

Finally in 2006 Dec, I had to buy a DSLR to do any serious experimenting. So went ahead with the D70s (which is the same as the D70, albeit the firmware and the LCD size). So 30,000 frames and two years later, what do I think of this camera?

Lightweight (good for skinny people like me)
Built in Pop up flash (manual, ttl and commander mode)
1/500th sec flash Sync speed! (more on pimping this feature later on)
Reasonably robust body for a pro-sumer camera.

Lousy viewfinder (all subsequent nikon DSLRs have better ones)
Lowest ISO is 200 (more details on this thing later)
Absolutely no weather proofing.
Doesn't meter with manual lenses.

I wont go into all the details here. For an in depth review and general features try dpreview.com.
Heck, even kenrockwell has a review! (this guy has a sense of humor , trust me!)

What I will concentrate now is the high speed flash sync -ability of this flash.
Nikon claims the camera will sync at 1/500th of a second. Yes, if you use a Sb series flash and try to use the commander mode or the ttl mode, or even the pop up flash the camera limits the shutter speed to 500th. The trick here is to fool your camera into thinking there is no flash attached to it. How do we do that? Simple use a old skool flash like a Vivitar 285 HV and you are all set.
Even more dodgy...use your sb800/600 whatever in AA mode. Essentially it kills the TTL functionality but hey....beggars cant be....

Now what you do is cut a paper which fits in the hot shoe and leave a small cut for the center contact. The hot shoe is dumb, so to speak, and doesn't know if a flash is attached until all the contacts are closed by the sb series flash foot.
So feel free to use a remote trigger, hot shoe adapter, etc...

Now go beyond 500th and things work great. The picture on the previous blog entry was shot over 500th sec if memory serves me right.
Remember the highest speed you can sync is limited now by the flash duration itself.
Typical values for a Sb800/Vivitar 285 and 283s:
Full power 1/1 - 1000th sec.
Half power1/2 - 2000th sec.
Quarter power1/4 - 4000th sec.
And so on.

Keep posted for updates as I will explain the hybrid shutter on the camera which makes it possible ,along with waveform analysis and example images.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Rods Shoot.

Ok..here goes ...my first real post.
The shoot was for one of my school assignments.

From Rod Shoot Rough Cuts

Lighting was a Vivitar 285Hv in a shoot through umbrella righ above me. The light you see under the bike (the warm color at the radiator) was a sb800 at 1/128 power and the hair light was another sb800 at 1/16th (snooted) if I remember right.

Its great to have a willing and enthusiastic model , especially when you are dealing with gear which refuses to work properly. The 285 I was using for the main light was synced with a ordinary sync cord attached to a slave unit, which was in turn being triggered by the on camera flash at its lowest power. I actually had to have the slave in one hand in front of the pop up flash so that the pop up wouldn't show up in the headlight. The slave wasn't being very reliable that day. The sbs never missed a beat in the SU-4 mode,though.
Oh....I use a D70 by the way!

Ive put a whole load of images right from start to finish on my picassa page which can be viewed here

Cactus Wireless Triggers (Update 31st Jan)

After having waited for a year to get rich to buy myself a pair or pocket wizard, I have realized that the time wasn't going to come anytime soon. So I plonked my cash for a set of cactus wireless triggers from eBay. The Australian dollar aint doing too well, so the damage came to about 89AUD. This is the price for one transmitter and two receivers.Shipping was free. Heck, they even threw in a flash stand (one of those little base plates you get with the SB series flash)! Well for that price they seem like quite a steal.They should arrive by the weekend. Will post photos and write a detailed review on their range.

Click on title to view full post

I have been looking at some flicker pools to pimp these little devices.Do a Google and you will get heaps of informative sites.
Keeping my fingers crossed!
Received the Kit today(Wednesday) .They shipped it out from Hong Kong on Friday. I am very impressed! Hopefully, I will get some time this week to test them out in terms of range tomorrow. On the D70 they sync at a maximum of 1/800th of a sec. Good enough!

Now for the important question: Whats the Range on these things. Well Ive uploaded the pictures on picassa albums and here is the link:

Radio Trigger test

The triggers work fine upto 40ish feet. Now at each 10 feet, I did 10 fires. Upto 40 feet they worked 10/10 times. So I have fired these 40 times total and I got 40 perfect syncronizations.
Beyond 40. I was getting 6 out of 10 fires. How do we get over this? Use 2 receivers on the same flash! Cheap trick , but it works!

From Radio Trigger test

Connecting it this way , I got 10/10 fires at 50 and the 60 feet mark. For the price they do their job. And I am a very happy customer!