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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 10 Aug 2011 (Wednesday) 17:55
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TitusvilleSurfer
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Aug 10, 2011 17:55 |  #1

I have a 580exII. Can I set the flash to go off when I open the shutter, as opposed to when the shutter closes? I am trying to capture muzzle flash. So I have a 1-2 second exposure for the gun, then the flash exposes the subject. When the flash fires after, they have to reposition themselves exactly as they were before they shot, or the gun and flames don't align.
I've looked through the instruction book but don't see anything about it. I am using manual flash and camera modes.


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ChunkyDA
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Aug 10, 2011 21:33 |  #2

First curtain sync is the normal mode. second curtain sync is in the custom function menu and is controlled by the camera connection or via certain off camera triggers with all the pins connected


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Curtis ­ N
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Aug 10, 2011 22:28 |  #3

I'm trying to figure out why you would want a 1-2 second exposure to capture a gun and muzzle flash with... flash.

The muzzle flash is a light source that lasts a fraction of a second. Your camera flash is a light source that only needs a 1/250 shutter speed.

Your challenge is not syncing the camera flash with first or second shutter curtain. Your challenge is syncing the camera flash with the muzzle flash. I can't see how a slow shutter speed helps with that.


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digital ­ paradise
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Aug 10, 2011 22:41 |  #4

What is a muzzle flash? I've never come across that before.


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dmward
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Aug 10, 2011 22:41 |  #5

It sounds like the OP is trying to make a photograph of someone firing a gun with the flash to illuminate the shooter and gun and the time exposure is to give them sufficient time to fire and let the muzzle flash register on the image as well.
The rear curtain sync firing means the gun recoil is placing the gun out of alignment with the muzzle flash because the rear curtain sync is capturing the shooter and gun after the muzzle flash rather than before.

My suggestion, since its manual flash, is to trigger the flash independent of the camera shutter.

i.e. open the shutter, manually press the fire button on the radio trigger to fire the flash and tell the shooter to fire the gun when they see the flash. Normal human reaction time with cause the muzzle flash to be a 1/4 second or so after the flash fires capturing the shooter and gun.


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klr.b
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Aug 10, 2011 22:53 |  #6

The flash probably isn't firing after (Second-Curtain Sync), you're just not synching it to the gun. What's your setup? Do a search on high speed photography and you can buy or build a trigger that will fire your flash when the trigger sees/hears the shot from the gun. You can build the microphone type or the laser type trigger. With a programmable delay, you should be able to fine tune it to achieve the shot you like.


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Curtis ­ N
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Aug 10, 2011 23:10 |  #7

I'm guessing that gun recoil is the major culprit here. When the muzzle flash appears, the slug has already left the barrel, the force that causes recoil has already occurred and the barrel is already moving. This is going to be worse in a handgun than a rifle.

There may be solutions, but the OP needs to tell us more about how he is attempting to sync the gun with the camera.


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Semmonka
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Aug 11, 2011 00:22 |  #8

dmward wrote in post #12913790 (external link)
i.e. open the shutter, manually press the fire button on the radio trigger to fire the flash and tell the shooter to fire the gun when they see the flash. Normal human reaction time with cause the muzzle flash to be a 1/4 second or so after the flash fires capturing the shooter and gun.

This is one way to do it but it needs dark room as the shutter is open fairly long time.
If you want to play around there are few other ways to think about.
I did this kind of test shoot few years ago with DIY sound trigger. Sound trigger was triggering flash unit while shutter was open for few secs.
It can be done manually as well as explained above. I just wanted to make it more automatic and get it right every time.
If you use sound trigger, you dont really need a timer to adjust the delay. You can do it by moving mic away from the gun. As sound travels so slowly 0.34 meters gives you 1ms of delay, 3.43 meters gives you 10ms of delay and so on. Of course digital timer would be cool but there are other ways to do it :D
Outside in bright conditions this gets a bit tricky. Then you need to trigger the camera instead of flash. Depending on camera models shutter lag is at least 60ms so I think the delay is too long to capture the muzzle flash if sound trigger is used. When camera is pre focused and in manual focus and the mirror is locked up, you can minimize the shutter lag.
This could work with triggering mechanism attached to gun trigger and then use timer to adjust the delay if needed


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TitusvilleSurfer
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Aug 11, 2011 01:21 as a reply to  @ Semmonka's post |  #9

Okay so sync it to first curtain. Thank you!
To answer the question above, I need a 1-2 second exposure to capture a single shot bolt rifle. The way it has been going (flash firing later) I would take the shot, say "fire", the subject fires the shot and the muzzle flash is captured, then he would have to reposition the weapon to it's original position before the flash fires exposing him. I'll try to post some examples of this method but I can't seem to post to photobucket anymore. :/
Thanks for the help though, I'll re-sync to the proper curtain.


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klr.b
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Aug 11, 2011 01:29 |  #10

Curtis N wrote in post #12913984 (external link)
I'm guessing that gun recoil is the major culprit here. When the muzzle flash appears, the slug has already left the barrel, the force that causes recoil has already occurred and the barrel is already moving. This is going to be worse in a handgun than a rifle.

There may be solutions, but the OP needs to tell us more about how he is attempting to sync the gun with the camera.

That's how I imagine the scenario in my head. The shooter and gun are firing straight ahead. When the gun fires, the flash from the muzzle is bright enough to register in the picture. Then the flash eventually fires freezing the barrel of the gun at an angle different from the muzzle flash.

The easiest way would be to make a composite of different pictures blended in Photoshop. The cheapest way would be as David stated above, lower your flash power and hope and pray it works. This sounds dangerous, though...multiple people, firing guns in the dark. Are you firing blanks or live ammunition?

Edit: Apparently, I typed too slow. So you actually set it to Second-Curtain? Because First-Curtain is the default.


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TitusvilleSurfer
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Aug 11, 2011 01:36 |  #11

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These were taken using the headlights of a truck. Spray and pray in direct light got the muzzle flash. However the girl had her eyes closed, which is natural the moment you fire a gun. The guys intentionally didn't blink. With this method I can expose the subject before they fire with eyes open, have the better quality of light, and get a muzzle flash every attempt as opposed to 1 out of 12. In this series I had my camera set to continuous shooting and they were pulling the trigger as fast as they could. The gun and camera synced about once per clip. I was using a shot up television as a tripod with shutter speed 1/25 @ 130mm. Next time I will have a tripod and a plan.

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TitusvilleSurfer
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Aug 11, 2011 01:50 |  #12

Yes that is the ticket! My flash was set to 2nd curtain already. I must have been playing with buttons and didn't realize what I pressed.


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Aug 11, 2011 02:00 |  #13

So the new plan is to change the shutter speed to 1/2 second, have the shooter ready with the trigger already pressed, tell him to fire when he sees the flash, and hope to catch the fireworks every time. If need be I can just make the shutter speed longer. If the sun is down, any movement they make after the flash shouldn't matter as long as the gun is in the same place for both exposures.


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TitusvilleSurfer
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Aug 11, 2011 02:37 |  #14

This is what I was getting with 2nd curtain. They are mostly out of focus, as I was still dialing in the correct power when I realized it just wasn't going to work. That said, I was able to capture the flash every single time with single shot weapons (.357 magnum and 12 gauge shot gun). you may also notice their finger is off the trigger, as their exposure was taken up to a second after they pulled the it.

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Here is another shot in truck headlights, but that doesn't work for these rifles either. You have to fire them so fast to capture the muzzle flash that the shooter is in a violent seizure when you get it. I captured the muzzle flash on 1 out of 30 rounds in this clip. Three shells are visible leaving the chamber, so you can get a sense of how fast he was firing. My camera was on full continuous at 1/13 and I got 1 out of 30. The idea is, with a slower shutter speed there is a better chance for the bullet to leave while the shutter is open. Bolt action (single shot) rifles just weren't going to happen at all. I was able to get so many 9mm pistol muzzle flashes (and I have many more) because we practically had infinite ammo, 600 of the rounds were even free. With an AK-47 we were basically shooting quarters, so I would prefer to improve the quality and predictability of those.
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I think I can get some really great photographs. I just need to plan ahead with a proper method. The direct flash is pretty harsh, and I don't have a way to move my flash off camera yet. I'll work on fine tuning the artistic side once I get the practical part down. The suggestion of making the gun's trigger fire the flash was interesting. I don't think a sound trigger would work, as the muzzle flash lasts a very short amount of time, and the bullet is traveling double or even tripple the speed of sound in some cases. I would think the delay and shutter lag would be long enough to miss it altogether, but could be wrong.

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