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Author Topic: Light Meter & SpeedLites  (Read 6893 times)

gbchriste

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Re: Light Meter & SpeedLites
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2013, 10:24:00 PM »
Like others said, you just can't get there with 1 or 2 speedlights in mid-day Emerald Coast sun.  Not enough power. 

I'm in Fort Walton Beach so not too far from you.  With a 430EX II in an umbrella, I usually can't start shooting on the beach until 30 to 60 minutes before sundown.

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Re: Light Meter & SpeedLites
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2013, 10:24:00 PM »

Jamesy

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Re: Light Meter & SpeedLites
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2013, 10:25:28 PM »
Thank you all, you've been a tremendous help, I'm going again Saturday with ND Filter in hand. Would the Tiffen 77VND 77MM VARIABLE ND FILTER be a good choice?
I just re-read your original post and if you did not have enough power last time and the only thing you change is adding an ND filter then you won't have enough power adding an ND - you would need more power to overcome the stops of light you would loose with the ND filter.

Is it possible to get your lights closer to your subject?

I cannot comment on the quality of a Tiffen Vari-ND. I know the Stingray's are good but they are very expensive.

MagnumJoe

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Re: Light Meter & SpeedLites
« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2013, 10:38:38 PM »
Like others said, you just can't get there with 1 or 2 speedlights in mid-day Emerald Coast sun.  Not enough power. 

I'm in Fort Walton Beach so not too far from you.  With a 430EX II in an umbrella, I usually can't start shooting on the beach until 30 to 60 minutes before sundown.

You're right, I'll plan on trying again later in the day Saturday, unless it's cloudy. :)
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swampler

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Re: Light Meter & SpeedLites
« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2013, 10:38:50 PM »
The light modifiers kill a lot of your flash output. You may have to try bare flash. In outdoor sun, keeping within a stop or two of ambient, bare flash should be acceptable quality. Better than no flash or on camera flash for sure.

MagnumJoe

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Re: Light Meter & SpeedLites
« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2013, 10:45:36 PM »
The light modifiers kill a lot of your flash output. You may have to try bare flash. In outdoor sun, keeping within a stop or two of ambient, bare flash should be acceptable quality. Better than no flash or on camera flash for sure.

You're spot on, when I was at the beach I was using a beauty dish.

We finally went bare and it was usable underneath the pier.  I did further test today in my backyard, using a light stand and a red hoodie as my model.   I'm beginning to understand the concept now. Thank you all for your comments.

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digital paradise

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Re: Light Meter & SpeedLites
« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2013, 10:28:18 AM »
If you want to make your life easier get a flash/light meter like the Sekonic L-358. Spend more if you got the cash. You will not regret it.
 
Digital Photography 1 on 1: Episode 27: Metering Part 3: Using a light meter

Digital Photography 1 on 1: Episode 20: On Location Flash

Videos - Tutorials - Lighting Tutorial

http://www.stansphotos.com

MagnumJoe

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Re: Light Meter & SpeedLites
« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2013, 09:45:41 PM »
Yes because in this situation the $300 meter is going to say how much too little power you have! Surely it would be a much better investment to buy two more flashes to enable the picture to be taken?

For one subject I can easily underexpose the brightest Florida sunlight by 5 stops at 1/8000 and f8 with three 600's, the 580 and 430 re going to be about half that, so 1/8000 at f5.6. Easily enough to work with, just go easy on the modifiers and be realistic in the area you expect to illuminate.

I agree with you privatebydesign, for now I'm going to shoot later in the day, with the 2 speedlites I have.  For 300.00 I could almost buy 2 more Yongnuo YN-565EXs.  What's your thoughts on using a AlienBees B800 ?
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Re: Light Meter & SpeedLites
« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2013, 09:45:41 PM »

digital paradise

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Re: Light Meter & SpeedLites
« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2013, 11:33:00 PM »
You will have more power with studio strobes which will make things easier but you will still be guessing to achieve correct exposures.     

digital paradise

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Re: Light Meter & SpeedLites
« Reply #23 on: April 11, 2013, 12:49:51 AM »
Of course it is not rocket science. Very nice example by the way ;)  Maybe I'm lazy but when I do standard portraits, etc I just find it so quick and easy to set the flash exposure when working with key and fill. Photo booths I can do with my eyes closed but I still use the L-358 even with only one flash/umbrella. One or two exposure tests and I'm there.

I find the flash meter most beneficial when I want to balance the ambient light with flash when shooting outdoors. I can pretty much work through everything quickly but that scenario is the most challenging.  I just prefer technology to tell me I'm bang on. To me it is a fine line to get those perfectly balanced images.   

MagnumJoe

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Re: Light Meter & SpeedLites
« Reply #24 on: April 11, 2013, 11:38:22 PM »
You will have more power with studio strobes which will make things easier but you will still be guessing to achieve correct exposures.   
Well I think you will find Florida sun follows the sunny 16 rule pretty closely, so not too much guessing, besides Magnum can look at his EXIF from last week to see what exposures he was getting. Besides, chimping and histograms will get him good exposures!

Working this stuff out is not rocket science, 100iso @ 1/100 and f16 will give you a pretty close exposure in full sunlight, if the sun is in the picture then you will need a stop or so more of shutter speed. So how much darker, or lighter, than the ambient do you want your subject? If you want them brighter you have to have the flash power to shoot at f16 at 1/160 (sync speed?). Shooting at f22 and 1/160 will get your subject around two stops above ambient.

Here is a shot of the brightest Florida sun underexposed 5 stops (from metered) with sponge bob and the chair illuminated with three 600 EX-RT's, it is 1/8000 at f 8 and 100iso, you could do the same shot with a 580 and a 430 at f5.6 in HSS, or to stay out of the power sapping HSS you'd then need an ND filter to lower your shutter speed 6 stops or close your lens down to a diffraction killed f44. Yes an Alien Bee would help, it is much more powerful then even my three 600's, but again you'd need an ND filter to lower the ambient and keep below sync speed.


Hi privatebydesign and digital paradise thank you both for the tips.  I'm thinking of returning the Yongnuo 568ex and and maybe the ST-E2, and buying a Alien Bee b800,  a Vagabond Mini.  I'm still researching if it the ST-E2 will work with the Alien Bee, I think it will, just not 100 percent.

privatebydesign thank you for the example photo of spongebob... It was perfect, and you describe it well.  I hope I can do as well someday.

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MagnumJoe

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Re: Light Meter & SpeedLites
« Reply #25 on: April 12, 2013, 07:04:39 PM »
I have an ST-E2, in bright sun they are pretty much useless, if you can get your money back then do it. Even if it would trigger the Alien Bee (which I doubt) it is a very expensive and inefficient way to do it. A set of Yongnuo RF-603's would be a much better way to trigger the Alien Bee, much better range, much much cheaper and it would work.

But slow down, don't bounce from one not optimal purchase to another, the Alien Bee will necessitate use of an ND filter if you want narrow dof or you want to really darken the ambient, each solution has its own drawbacks . Send us a link to the style of image you want, lighting wise, we can reverse engineer it and tell you how and when to achieve the look with the gear you have, believe me you have enough to get great images. Or come spend the day with me down near the Space Coast when I am next in Florida.

These images were all shot near St Pete's with one small on camera type strobe, a 550EX I seem to remember, a set of RF-602's and a 28" softbox, all at different times during a very sunny day.

Amazing photos, that's exactly the type of photographs I'd like to take as well as sunsets on the beach.  After reading your post, I suppose that's why the flash would only trigger  half the time at best, using the ST-T2 when I was in the sun, however when we moved under the pier, it works just fine. You mentioned RF-603s, would the YN622 work as well so that I can use ETTL, until I have a better understanding and more experience at shooting in this type of condition? I paid 225.00 for the ST-E2 , I can get the YN-622's for half the price.  Yes I can return it.

I plan on going again this weekend, however not until around 5 - 7 pm central time.  I plan on taking my 6d, tripod, both the 430ex ii and YN568EX with stands, umbrellas but I'm not sure if I'll use them. I also bought two Tiffen ND filters .09 just to try it out, I'll start with one, and may stack the other just to experiment.  I appreciate the help from all of you.
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MagnumJoe

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Re: Light Meter & SpeedLites
« Reply #26 on: April 12, 2013, 08:29:56 PM »
Sweet, if I was you I'd start simple.

This is my advice:-
  • Send the ST-E2 back, they are very limited in functionality and reliability, especially how you are trying to use one, outside in full sun, inside modifiers and off axis, just about the worst situation for the ST-E2.
  • Buy a set of RF-603's, they are dirt cheap, very reliable, etc. They are just dumb triggers but all my previous images were shot with them.
  • Buy this book, http://www.amazon.com/Speedliters-Handbook-Learning-Craft-Speedlites/dp/032171105X
  • Don't buy anything else until you have read the book, seriously it should come free with every Canon Speedlite.

Now when you go to your shoot set your camera like this. Manual mode for both camera AND flash. Forget ETTL for this initially, I promise manual is the way to get your head around it, trust me.

Set camera to M, 100iso, 1/180 shutter, f8. Take a picture with the flash off. How bright is the picture? If you want the ambient darker then close your aperture, if you want it lighter lengthen your shutter speed, you do not need your model in the shot yet, we are just working out ambient exposure. Get your ambient exposure dialed in, if it is setting sun watch the light it lowers fast so you need to keep lengthening your shutter speed.

Now get your model in position, take a shot, is the ambient still right? If so turn the flash on at 1/2 power, use as little modification as possible, no double diffusers etc, and put the flash as close to the model as possible, even 6 inches can make a huge difference. Take the picture, if your model is too dark raise the flash power, if they are too light lower the flash power.

That is the basics, once you nail that then start playing with the two exposure triangles I mentioned earlier in the thread. For instance if both ambient and subject are too dark raise iso or open aperture.

But get that book!

Thank you so much, I'll follow your advice, I actually bought that book (kindle) version just 3 days ago.  Thank's again.
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MagnumJoe

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Re: Light Meter & SpeedLites
« Reply #27 on: April 12, 2013, 11:59:45 PM »
prrivatebydesign,  I'm currently watching one of Sly's videos and I have a question.  You gave me the starting points today  with ambient light and how to adjust the power.  You really have no idea how much you are helping.....what should I set my zoom to ?
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Re: Light Meter & SpeedLites
« Reply #27 on: April 12, 2013, 11:59:45 PM »

MagnumJoe

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Re: Light Meter & SpeedLites
« Reply #28 on: April 14, 2013, 08:38:18 PM »
That depends on how close the light is to the model and what type of diffuser, if any, you are using. In strong sunlight you can often go with bare flash, then zoom the flash head to cover whatever you want, if it is in a modifier then you should practice what zoom gets the best light output, this will be critical in things like a beauty dish. Do that by taking a picture of your modifier from the front with the flash firing, then you will see the spread efficiency, then take a picture with the modifier pointed to a plain wall, this will show you your coverage, not being even isn't necessarily a problem, just remeber how the light falls and use that to your advantage.

The flash zoom is a greatly under thought about modifier, it's real beauty is zoomed to long focal lengths to get spot lights with falloff.

In my Lastolite 28" box I normally have one diffusion panel and 50mm zoom on the flash head, if I want the light smaller with more drop off I will go narrower, one of the small but very worthwhile improvements of the 600EX-RT is the zoom to 200mm.

But remember, in power limited situations always go to max zoom, get the light in close and accept the fall off.

Well I gave it my best shot, learned a lot and had a good time.  Can't wait to go again. Here are a couple of photos. Yes I used LR to touch them up.
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Re: Light Meter & SpeedLites
« Reply #28 on: April 14, 2013, 08:38:18 PM »