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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 11 Feb 2008 (Monday) 01:03
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No more excuses about high ceilings and bounced flash

 
Curtis ­ N
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Feb 11, 2008 01:03 |  #1

Bored at a theatre rehearsal, I decided to test the limits of bounced flash with my 580EX II.

These guys are on a small platform, on a gym floor, with a white drop ceiling about 26 feet high. Flash was aimed straight up at it. 1/250 f/4 ISO 1600 (which means I could have done it with f/2.8 and ISO 800, or even f/1.4 and ISO 200 if I used a prime and didn't need much DOF).

IMAGE: http://performancephoto.smugmug.com/photos/253209427_i6yK6-M.jpg

Now maybe you don't like to shoot at ISO 1600. Get over it. By bouncing flash, you can use a bounce card for a bit of fill and get more pleasing illumination than direct flash, and you have the motion-stopping affect of flash (no worries about motion blur). You can also obliterate the puke-green colored sodium vapor lighting, and you have a bonus with the flash unit's AF assist light.

In case you think the ambient helped me out here, this shot was taken at the same camera settings but no flash.

IMAGE: http://performancephoto.smugmug.com/photos/253209456_MjKmd-M.jpg

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Franko515
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Feb 11, 2008 01:28 |  #2

Was the flash in manual? If so was this 1/1?


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Curtis ­ N
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Feb 11, 2008 02:13 |  #3

Yeah it was manual, full power. My intention was to see what it could do.


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Franko515
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Feb 11, 2008 02:47 |  #4

Curtis N wrote in post #4894227 (external link)
Yeah it was manual, full power. My intention was to see what it could do.

Well it sure did light the room up (all the way to the wall)! I'd say you could have even gotten away with a tad less flash. These little speedlites are amazing.

In ten years I can see the Canon 1000EX II, being as poweful as a AB800 :cool:


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cdifoto
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Feb 11, 2008 02:52 |  #5

Yep. High ceilings and ISO1600 don't skeer me. :cool:


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alan_potter
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Feb 11, 2008 03:09 |  #6

Did you use a bounce card at all?

regards,
/alan


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Dermit
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Feb 11, 2008 08:20 |  #7

Nice Curtis. I find myself persuading others to crank up the ISO all the time. Too many fear it. I think now that the megapixel race has about run it's course the high ISO/low noise battle is the new war and it's getting quite good. I was shooting theater this weekend, no flash allowed, cranked to ISO 1600 at f/2.8 to get shutter speeds of 1/250 to 1/500 depending on the spots. This was a dress rehearsal and other 'rookies' were shooting as well. I noticed they stopped shooting after about 10 minutes so I went and asked them what the problems was. They said they were not getting anything worth keeping. So i checked out their settings and they were shooting with kit lenses at ISO 400. No wonder. I loaned them a 24-70 f/2.8 and a 85 f/1.8 and set their cameras for aperture priority wide open at ISO 1600 and all of the sudden they were getting great shots! Amazing the gear people buy and then don't know how to use it. They were extremely grateful for my help. They are artistic directors for the ballet company I was shooting so don't really know there way around the camera yet.


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Titus213
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Feb 11, 2008 08:27 |  #8

Great demonstration of the power available. I've been a fan of high ISO, even to 3200, for some time now - well, actually since buying the 20D. If you can get the picture properly exposed with high ISO you won't be bothered by the noise all that much.

And Ron - the trick is in the glass you loaned them - about $1300 worth I believe. The kit lens is a great little unit for under $100. Money does buy some happiness in photography.:lol:


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Curtis ­ N
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Feb 11, 2008 08:40 |  #9

alan_potter wrote in post #4894377 (external link)
Did you use a bounce card at all?

Not for that shot. I was just an exposure test. In a real shoot, I would have.

It's good that you mentioned bounce cards. When the ceiling is that high, it really doesn't take much to throw a significant percentage of the light forward and a bounce card too big will look like direct flash pretty quick. Just the catchlight card on the 580EX is about all it would take for a decent amount of fill.


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scot079
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Feb 11, 2008 08:49 |  #10

Great experminet Curtis, thanks for posting. I'm gonna try this tomorrow in a a gym.


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telles75
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Feb 11, 2008 08:50 |  #11

Thanks for the posting Curtis. I was shooting at a school gym last week for my daughter talent show. The white ceiling was about 25 to 30 feet high and I used my 580EX II / 40D / 70-200 f/4 L IS. I was shooting at ISO 800 and 1600 (I must admit I am sometimes afraid of the noise at ISO 1600, may be I should get over it) located about 35 feet from the stage; I tried to bounce of the ceiling with very poor results. I was using ETTL and I did not tried to shot manual 1/1, so next time I will try that. Another big mistake I did was shooting at Evaluative metering mode, and I am pretty sure I should have being used spot metering.

Questions for Curtis: What lens were you using? How far were you from the subjects? What metering mode were you using (is this even important since you were shooting with manual setting on flash)?

Thanks


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cdifoto
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Feb 11, 2008 09:02 |  #12

telles75 wrote in post #4895405 (external link)
(I must admit I am sometimes afraid of the noise at ISO 1600, may be I should get over it)

Ain't no maybe about it. ;)


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joeyserver
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Feb 11, 2008 09:12 |  #13

Great post Curtis. Really shows what our little guys can do. I'm constantly shooting on high ISOs now since I shoot in a lot of clubs. Nice to know what you can do. Thanks for sharing.




  
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Curtis ­ N
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Feb 11, 2008 09:12 |  #14

Telles,

This shot was taken with both the camera and flash in manual mode. Lens was a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 .

But I would not normally use manual flash this sort of shot. When shooting for real, I would have used a small bounce card to get rid of the racoon eyes. Since this would make the flash exposure distance-sensitive, I would use E-TTL.

Whenever you walk into a situation like this, you need to make a decision. You can use a fast shutter speed like I did here to obliterate the ambient and make flash your only significant light source. Or you can try to gel the flash to match the color of the ambient and slow down the shutter to get some ambient exposure, using the flash just as fill. In either case, I would put the camera in manual mode since the ambient level won't change a lot throughout the room.


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Mike ­ McCusker
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Feb 11, 2008 09:15 |  #15

Curtis,

You are the MAN! Always informative.


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No more excuses about high ceilings and bounced flash
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