Join David Hobby for an in-depth discussion in this video Strategies for shooting outdoors with small flashes, part of Lighting with Flash: Sports, from Action to Portraits.
All right, shooting outside with small flashes. It's always a problem because you, you have a fairly small radius of where you can control in full daylight when you're using small flashes. But, there are some ways to expand that radius just a little bit. one way to be able to sync at above a 250th of a second, which is what you need to do. Because that's going to give you a lower corresponding aperture, and your flashes want to hit that aperture. which is to say that if I can, if I can shoot at a 250th of f16, which is about right, I've gotta hit f16 with my flashes which is tough. If I can shoot at 1000th of a second, that drops down to f11 f8.
Same ambient exposure, but my flashes have to work one quarter as hard. There are a few ways that you can cheat the sun with your flashes and cheat that sync. The first, since we're using all, like, Nikon TTL flashes today in the manual mode. Is we could use focal plane sync, which actually pulses the flash as your camera slit exposure goes across at at, say, a thousandth of a second. That's neat in theory, but in practice you're also robbing yourself of power from the flash, because that pulse is hitting mostly black curtains. So if you're going to high speed sync with the, with the TTL flashes, you either need to work in very close. Or you need to add multiple flashes together to add to the power. (SOUND).
There are couple of other ways to to cheat this, and one is fairly new, in fact. This is a, this is a Pocket Wizard beta unit for a Flex TT5, and I've been playing with these for a little while. And what I found on my B3 is, I can get up to around, I can get a clean 400th of a second sync. I can get usually clean 500th of a second sync and if I'm willing to lose that top or bottom a little bit I can sync to 640th of a second. This is really cool, because I'm getting a full pop out of my flash. It's not one of those pulsing focal points sync things, I'm literally changing the full sync speed of my camera.
And I do that by actually pre-triggering the flash just a little bit before, so you're capturing almost all the energy in the flash. But with a much faster shutter speed. Now I'm going to do something a little different today, and it's something that I pull out every now and then. It's kind of a bag of tricks thing that I use. This is a Nikon D70S, which is not a fantastic camera. It's 6 megapixels, it's 3000 dots on the long side. But it has a very, very cool little trick in that if it does not know that there's a flash attached to it It will sync at any speed. meaning the physical shutter only opens for a 60th of a second cathunk.
Its kind of very low rent sort of an amateur shutter compared to the D3. But as you progressively get higher it takes electronic slices of time from that chip. Which means that if a flash can go off in the full range of your shutter, for instance if your flash pulse lasts less than a 2000th of a second. You can sync it at 2000ths of a second. This is very, very cool because this little camera makes all my flashes way more powerful. As I raise my shutter speed, I can drop my aperture. As I drop my aperture, I can get much more bang for my buck with small flashes.
So in that way, we're going to be able to use this camera today. And light with small flashes from, I don't know, maybe up to 20 feet away in broad daylight, which is a pretty cool trick for small flashes in the sun. we're triggering all these flashes optically. Which is to say, this light is going to be fire manually from the camera and my other SP-800 flashes are set in SU-4 mode. Which is a very capable optical flave built into every, every high end Nikon flash. And a lot of third party flashes now as well. So this can't, this, this light will fire from the camera and all it really needs to do is set off one of any of the other light.
Because they're all pointed, the flaves are all pointed in toward each other so it sets up a little crossfire zone. So ironically it is more difficult to trigger sometimes it can be more difficult to trigger one flash than it can be to trigger 50. Because if you hit just any one of those flashes, it's going to set up a cascade, wherein all the flashes see something going on, so everything happens. So don't ever be impressed when you see a room full of flashes all set up with slaves. The more flashes there are, the more likely they are all to work.
In the second half of the course, David photographs a group of fencers, transforming the bland lighting in a gym and freezing the athletes' action as they leap. Afterwards, he shoots a group portrait of the fencing club.
- Setting up a multi-strobe shoot
- Capturing athletes in action
- Balancing fading daylight with flash
- Tips for using color gels and flash accessories, from cold shoes to softboxes