Not the Saviour of the Universe

Beauty Dish is beautiful!

Beauty Dish is beautiful!

So, the flash, it’s complicated. And sorry for the Queen quote in the title. Be forewarned, this is a noob perspective on off-camera flash
and I’ve only had it for a few days. “It” is a Profoto B1X mobile unit with the battery attached to the lamp housing.

It's slightly out of focus here, but the display is very clear and informative.

It’s slightly out of focus here, but the display is very clear and informative.

The flash alone is just a light source (albeit a bright one with 500 Ws max.), so I got an Air Remote TTL-N hot-shoe wireless controller for it to talk to my Nikon D800 and vice-versa. And light-shapers!

An umbrella

An umbrella

This one is a medium-size (105 cm diameter), white inside, the deep model. The last feature is important, as you can focus the light by bringing in the cover glass beyond the focus of the (parabolic) umbrella. Not possible with a shallow one!

A zoom reflector

A zoom reflector

That one gives a rather theatrical spot lighting, harsh or not so harsh depending on how you focus it and how near you put it to your subject. Helps to project light when you’re outside.

Plus the beauty dish from the lead photo. Plus, not shown and not yet checked out: grids.

I’ve shown this already in the previous post, but here it is again:

With the umbrella on divergent light

With the umbrella on divergent light

Nice, soft light here and thankfully, my subject stayed still. Yesterday, I tried to photograph people that were only sluggishly moving and wanted to balance ambient room light with the flash. The results were mostly unusable, as the shutter speed got too low, resulting in camera shake or subject movement giving ugly blur. But balanced lighting I got!

Today, I read up in three manuals (the Nikon’s, the Air Remote TTL-N manual (they work together in multiple (heretofore mysterious) ways) and the flash head’s) and found a way to limit the shutter speed to !/60 (or whatever you want) for ambient and flash exposure. It works with Auto-ISO, so, over a wide range of exposure values.

And I found out about high-speed sync, which is magic. They say you can defeat the sun with it, and I believe them. Couldn’t try it out as it’s raining, so, no photos.

What I got an example of is this:

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I measured the ambient light for the background (through the curtains) and had the camera make the flash do a -1 – 0 – +1 bracket. This works in the blink of an eye (let’s hope the subjects don’t blink!) with the camera on continuous low drive, the flash can keep up. Should be useful for formal wedding photos.

— To be continued as my experience grows … —

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4 Responses to “Not the Saviour of the Universe”

  1. Second Shooter | Mostly Black & White Says:

    […] It’s the Arts … « Not the Saviour of the Universe […]

  2. A Recipe for Flash | Mostly Black & White Says:

    […] you know, nudge, nudge, wink, wink … I had occasion to practice this when I got another Profoto flash unit, the A1. It’s their smallest flash but still shares many capabilities with the bigger flash […]

  3. Shooting a Wedding | Mostly Black & White Says:

    […] me and two helpers left the church post haste. Johnny positioned himself camera left with the Profoto B1X flash head on a closed, but extended tripod. Zoom reflector on the head, which was quite high up and tilted […]

  4. Amateurs imitate, Pros copy | Mostly Black & White Says:

    […] cable may be traditional, but it still is a hassle. So I asked my contact at Leica if systems like Profoto’s Air TTL that implement the whole protocol worked as well. That’s when he got hedgy and would only […]

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