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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 16 Aug 2013 (Friday) 12:05
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Balancing the ambient light with strobes

 
aliengin
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Aug 16, 2013 12:05 |  #1

I am going to try shooting sunrise with a model, is there any trick to do this with manual strobes?


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Aug 16, 2013 12:18 |  #2

Not really. Just get your ambient where you want it, then turn your strobes on and set them to whatever power output you need to illuminate the model, which would be to your taste. That would be the simplest approach but you will have to work fast.


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Aug 16, 2013 12:20 |  #3

Its pretty easy. Just use the camera to determine the ambient. You can use TV mode or AV mode as long you remember to keep the Shutter speed below max sync. If you cant get the aperture you want and the shutter speed below max sync then adjust the ISO. Once you have ambient where you like it, then just bring up the power of the lights to where you need them. Obviously its easier with a light meter but if you start with your light at 1/4 power for test shot you will see whether you need more or less power and adjust from there.




  
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dmward
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Aug 16, 2013 12:37 |  #4

There is a post by Hawk911 somewhere on the forum where he did exactly what you are planning.
As stated, its just a matter of balancing the ambient and strobe light.

Remember that the light changes quickly at sunrise or sunset.

Probably worth doing some testing to get the exposure range nailed before going out for the shoot.


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Aug 16, 2013 12:49 |  #5

I do have a question about balancing since gonzo mentioned a light meter. Is balancing flash and ambient not suited more for midday light? I find I need the flash to be stronger than the ambient light for sunrise/set situations.


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Aug 16, 2013 12:56 |  #6

digital paradise wrote in post #16213562 (external link)
I do have a question about balancing since gonzo mentioned a light meter. Is balancing flash and ambient not suited more for midday light? I find I need the flash to be stronger than the ambient light for sunrise/set situations.

You don't really need too much power in sunrise/sunset conditions. These were all shot with my light around 1/4 or 1/2 power iirc.

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aliengin
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Aug 16, 2013 13:19 |  #7

jcolman wrote in post #16213580 (external link)
You don't really need too much power in sunrise/sunset conditions. These were all shot with my light around 1/4 or 1/2 power iirc.

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What did you use for light?


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Aug 16, 2013 14:06 |  #8

aliengin wrote in post #16213441 (external link)
I am going to try shooting sunrise with a model, is there any trick to do this with manual strobes?

The 'trick' is merely to get Manual flash power same as ambient exposure.

  • If you do it with a flash meter, it is easy.
  • If you do with the Guide Numbers, it is almost as easy (greatly complicated with zoom head adjustments), with a bit of trial and error.
  • If you do it with shoot and chimp, you try the patience of your subjects even if you do not mind wasting your own time, or worse...you miss the shot because the sun has moved past its optimum position.

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Aug 16, 2013 14:14 |  #9

digital paradise wrote in post #16213562 (external link)
I do have a question about balancing since gonzo mentioned a light meter. Is balancing flash and ambient not suited more for midday light? I find I need the flash to be stronger than the ambient light for sunrise/set situations.

Midday issue is "flash doesn't have enough power".

Sunny 16 says 1/ISO f/16 in bright sunlight. With ISO 200, 1/200 f/16
Ordinary (non-HSS) output from 580EX (assuming 50mm normal lens) is GN138...f/16 out to 8.6' equals sun's intensity, or about 12' at -1EV flash fill.

Putting on ND does nothing to alter balance of flash:sun. -2EV ND allows you to shoot at 1/200 f/8 + ND, flash still only reaches to 8.6' , or about 12' at -1EV flash fill!

Putting flash in HSS and upping shutter speed is no fix either...
1/400 f/11 on the lens for ambient, HSS flash loses about -2.66EV (or more) of intensity at 1/400 shutter speed. At f/11 on lens, the HSS flash reaches only to 4', or about 5.6' at -1EV flash fill


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Aug 16, 2013 14:20 |  #10

digital paradise wrote in post #16213562 (external link)
I do have a question about balancing since gonzo mentioned a light meter. Is balancing flash and ambient not suited more for midday light? I find I need the flash to be stronger than the ambient light for sunrise/set situations.

No, the concept is still the same, you can underexpose the ambient if you wish for effect. In the middle of the day balance is easier because you dont have to use as much flash power to underexpose the ambient. In the morning/evening shots your power requirements are so much lower that is can be done with a speedlite instead of 1200ws of strobe. The flashmeter especially if you have a slightly advanced model like the L-358 gives you the balance ratio when you meter.




  
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Aug 16, 2013 14:44 as a reply to  @ gonzogolf's post |  #11

jcolman - question for you on the photo with the couple kissing and the sun behind them: Did you spot meter on the sun first, then add flash/strobe to that?


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Aug 16, 2013 14:53 |  #12

Thanks everyone and nice shots Jim.


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Aug 16, 2013 15:45 |  #13

dmward wrote in post #16213531 (external link)
Remember that the light changes quickly at sunrise or sunset.

+100 on this. It's remarkable how quickly the sun moves!


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Aug 16, 2013 15:48 |  #14

Foodguy wrote in post #16213986 (external link)
+100 on this. It's remarkable how quickly the sun moves!

Exactly. At sunset start with your SS at max sync, you can always dial the SS down to allow more ambient in as it gets darker.




  
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Aug 16, 2013 15:56 |  #15

Has anyone ever tried to white balance flash/strobe with sunset light? I'd be curious to see how our compares to something like Jim's images. I'll thinking it would require an amber-like colored filter.




  
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