Fill Flash Question

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Not sure how to use a larger Aperture AND fill flash at the same time, when shooting in HARSH sunlight. I understand that I need to expose for the ambient light first. Then if I'm using TTL, I need to lower the flash comp down -1/-2 stop depending. Where I'm having a problem is using a large aperture. How do I achieve this on my D300? If I have BRIGHT overhead sunlight, and my highest flash sync is 1/320FP how can i shoot at 2.8 without blowing EVERYTHING out?

I hope I'm explaining this correctly. I am COMPLETELY STUMPED!!! :mad::mad: Any help wouldbe greatly appreciated.
 
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Hi joe

I'll explain it using a d2Xs and sb-800 but I think it will be similar for your set-up. You have to go into Auto FP High Speed synch mode. This is set from the custom setting menu on the back of the camera. Choose 'bracketing/flash' / 'flash synch speed' / 1/320 (auto FP). You can now choose any shutter speed you like to achieve accurate exposure but remember the flash strength will be greatly reduced at the high shutter speeds that f 2.8 will give on a bright day.

Cheers

Michael
 
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another option is to use a manual setting on the flash and just fire it at 1/4 power or even lower...depends entirely on what you're shooting, this option may not be workable. For shots that you can do a little trial and error with, this works great.
 
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My problem's not so much with using the flash. My problem stems from wanting to use say f/2.8 for a DOF shot. In the harsh lighting I'd have to use as an example; a SS of say 1/2000 at f/2.8 to achieve proper exposure of the ambient light. HOW can I do that AND use the flash when the flash sync is only 1/320 at its highest?
 
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Joe

I've answered that in my first post. Auto FP will allow you to use a SS of 1/2000

Cheers
Thanx Michael I didn't see your first post.

I tried that today, and didn't get the results I thought I would. I gotta check the shots again. I think even using the Auro FP the backgrounds were getting blown out.

I'm probably exposing incorrectly using that mode. I'm not sure.
 
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Joe

Go manual and try underexposing the whole scene by a couple of stops and then adding some positive flash value to bring up the main subject.

Can I suggest Joe McNally's book, 'The Hot Shoe Diaries' as an excellent resource to get you comfortable with manually controlling the flash to match the background.

Cheers
 
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Joe

Go manual and try underexposing the whole scene by a couple of stops and then adding some positive flash value to bring up the main subject.

Can I suggest Joe McNally's book, 'The Hot Shoe Diaries' as an excellent resource to get you comfortable with manually controlling the flash to match the background.

Cheers
When you say manual are you referring to camera settings or flash settings? I was shooting with the camera in M exposure. I was using the flash in TTL, and TTL/BL.

I'm going to order that book right now!!! Thanx
 
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Joe

First shoot the scene in A mode and note the SS. Turn it (the camera) to M, dial in a Shutter speed a couple of stops faster and shoot in FP mode, then adjust the flash's output up or down to light the main subject correctly.

Let me know how you go.

cheers
 
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:biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:
no one here own a flash meter????? I don't hardly leave home with out mine.....kinda like my tripod.......may not use it but I have it with me.............:biggrin:
 
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A flash meter!! What are you using that for gramps:biggrin:

Actually I've never used a flash meter (said with embarrassment in case this means I'm not a true photographer) Seriously though there are many ways to skin this cat and of course Joe could keep it in A mode and dial in compensation or he could also put the flash in manual and the camera mode in manual FP etc etc...

Cheers
 
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Gonna try to play some more with the Auto FP tomorrow. got a BDay party to go to with the kiddies.
 
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Just a thought Joe, you are using the Sb-900 aren't you? I don't think the D300 pop-up flash has the capability to Auto FP (please someone chime in if I'm wrong).

Cheers
 
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Yes I'm using the SB900. I had it on cam today, and had the camera set to auto FP. It showed it on cam and on the SB900.
 
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Look, it's not a matter of simply having a couple of settings out of whack. It's that you're having a battle with Mother Nature and you're fighting her with a Speedlight and a camera with a mechanical focal plane shutter. Mother Nature is gonna' win because what you're trying to do is generally called "overpowering the sun" and it ain't easy.

You want shallow depth of field, so you would naturally want to use a large aperture and a high shutter speed for a correct exposure. Correct exposure, in this case is where you want the background to be a bit darker than normal while the exposure of the subject is lifted back up to normal by your fill flash, so you want an even shorter than normal shutter speed.

Unfortunately, the correct shutter speed is then way higher than your normal sync speed, so normal flash is out of the question. In addition, since you're starting from a very bright ambient level (bright sun) you need all the flash power you can muster to get enough light on the subject. You've got a problem and Mother Nature is winning the fight.

One way to cope with the shutter speed issue is to use FP flash, which your gear will allow. Fine and dandy except that FP flash functions in such a way that you lose quite a bit of your flashes normal power, putting you behind the eight ball again. The FP flash approach is a step in the right direction and it may work just fine as long as you don't run out of flash power for the shot you want.

This dilemma is exactly why some pros hang onto an old D-70 or D-40 with an composite electronic/mechanical shutter so they can do normal sync at very high shutter speeds, thus coping with the high ambient light while still taking advantage of the full power of the flash.

Your options are limited, but workable. The most simple answer is to find lower ambient light either by moving into the shade or waiting until the sun is lower in the sky. Try to reduce the flash-to-subject distance if possible and reduce or eliminate the use of power robbing flash modifiers like shoot-through umbrellas. Using a neutral density filter may solve your ambient exposure situation as far as aperture vs shutter speed is concerned, but it will rob effective flash power as it lowers the ambient light. However, you can then gang several Speedlights together for more effective flash power. I remember reading about a McNally shot in the desert at high noon where he used 10 or 12 Speedlights ganged together for fill; of course, Joe owns a couple hundred SB 800s or 900s so it's easy for him. Plus his flashes can all do FP sync, and I don't think your SB-600 will.Correction, the SB-600 WILL FP sync. Sorry. You can use Advanced Wireless Lighting mode, put your SB-600 and 900 on the same group, and locate them in the same spot for more effective power and thus cope with the light loss a neutral density filter brings to the party. Or you could use portable studio type strobes more powerful than your Speedlights. A cheaper solution, which will only work in certain locations, is to position your subject in the shade, use all your speedlight power, and supplement the fill flash with a reflector shining sunlight on the subject.

That's pretty much the sad story. Twiddling the knobs won't win in the fight with Mother Nature. You need either more flash power or the patience to wait for less sunlight.
 
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Thanx everyone for the help.

Bob that explanation in laymans terms was INCREDIBLE!!! THANX!!

The biggest problem was that I was shooting a festival in an open park with no shade, and was trying to get shots of the kids while they were reacing for trophies and medals. Unfortunately the EVENT dictated the how and where to shoot. But I DO understand what everyone is saying.



Joe

Go manual and try underexposing the whole scene by a couple of stops and then adding some positive flash value to bring up the main subject.

Can I suggest Joe McNally's book, 'The Hot Shoe Diaries' as an excellent resource to get you comfortable with manually controlling the flash to match the background.

Cheers
Look, it's not a matter of simply having a couple of settings out of whack. It's that you're having a battle with Mother Nature and you're fighting her with a Speedlight and a camera with a mechanical focal plane shutter. Mother Nature is gonna' win because what you're trying to do is generally called "overpowering the sun" and it ain't easy.

You want shallow depth of field, so you would naturally want to use a large aperture and a high shutter speed for a correct exposure. Correct exposure, in this case is where you want the background to be a bit darker than normal while the exposure of the subject is lifted back up to normal by your fill flash, so you want an even shorter than normal shutter speed.

Unfortunately, the correct shutter speed is then way higher than your normal sync speed, so normal flash is out of the question. In addition, since you're starting from a very bright ambient level (bright sun) you need all the flash power you can muster to get enough light on the subject. You've got a problem and Mother Nature is winning the fight.

One way to cope with the shutter speed issue is to use FP flash, which your gear will allow. Fine and dandy except that FP flash functions in such a way that you lose quite a bit of your flashes normal power, putting you behind the eight ball again. The FP flash approach is a step in the right direction and it may work just fine as long as you don't run out of flash power for the shot you want.

This dilemma is exactly why some pros hang onto an old D-70 or D-40 with an composite electronic/mechanical shutter so they can do normal sync at very high shutter speeds, thus coping with the high ambient light while still taking advantage of the full power of the flash.

Your options are limited, but workable. The most simple answer is to find lower ambient light either by moving into the shade or waiting until the sun is lower in the sky. Try to reduce the flash-to-subject distance if possible and reduce or eliminate the use of power robbing flash modifiers like shoot-through umbrellas. Using a neutral density filter may solve your ambient exposure situation as far as aperture vs shutter speed is concerned, but it will rob effective flash power as it lowers the ambient light. However, you can then gang several Speedlights together for more effective flash power. I remember reading about a McNally shot in the desert at high noon where he used 10 or 12 Speedlights ganged together for fill; of course, Joe owns a couple hundred SB 800s or 900s so it's easy for him. Plus his flashes can all do FP sync, and I don't think your SB-600 will. You can use Advanced Wireless Lighting mode, put your SB-600 and 900 on the same group, and locate them in the same spot for more effective power and thus cope with the light loss a neutral density filter brings to the party. Or you could use portable studio type strobes more powerful than your Speedlights. A cheaper solution, which will only work in certain locations, is to position your subject in the shade, use all your speedlight power, and supplement the fill flash with a reflector shining sunlight on the subject.

That's pretty much the sad story. Twiddling the knobs won't win in the fight with Mother Nature. You need either more flash power or the patience to wait for less sunlight.
 
Joined
May 13, 2008
Messages
103
Location
Australia
Guys

This lack of flash power while trying to battle mother nature or low light but the need for speed is why i'm trying out the Lightware "FourSquare' system which allows me to couple 4 speedlights together either bare or as a softbox. See my post below for the link.

Cheers

Michael
 

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