Flash Fever

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Uncle Frank, May 2, 2007.

  1. It's going on a year since I last bought a lens, and I thought I had Lens Lust under control. But if you count the fresnel lenses on the front of every strobe, I'm still in the grips of the dreaded disease :eek: .

    Up until a year ago, I only had one flash... an sb800. But it exhibited erratic behavior, which I've finally figured out was just the result of an overly snug fit in the d200's flash shoe, so I bought a second sb800 as a backup. Last month I picked up an SU800, which makes using multiple flashes more understandable, and since it will control 3 groups, I just had to buy a third stobe... an SB600 :Curved: .

    This is insane... I think my lighting gear now weighs more than my cameras and lenses. I'm almost embarrassed to list my collection of photon sources :redface: .

    an SU800
    (2) SB800s and an SB600
    (2) Vivitar DF200 slaves
    a softbox and numerous ABBC bounce cards
    a CB Junior flash bracket
    (2) 8' flash stands and umbrellas
    a light tent
    (2) 250W Tungsten Floodlights with Reflectors and (2) 6' stands

    Now I just have to figure out how to use all of it :-/.

    Actually, I had my first outdoor portrait session with the flash off-camera, and the results are encouraging.

  2. I was going to say, didn't you have other flashes you used back when you shot lots of hummers?

    I've been on a lighting binge too. Current pile:

    3 x SB800
    3 x SU200 (the little flashes)
    Alien Bees ring flash
    Elinchrom 400BX
    Elinchrom 600RX

    I never really use the on camera/small flashes anymore.
  3. Good observation, Ed. The problem was, I was lazy and only brought a lightweight 6' stand. I'll take an 8 footer next time.

    Actually, one flash is probably enough for outdoor work, since you can use the ambient light as the main. I bought the 3rd flash so I could create a "portable wireless studio" at any indoor location. Now I need to figure out a good setup.

    I'm thinking an sb800/umbrella for the mail light, an sb800/Lumiquest softbox for the fill light, and the sb600 with a homemade snoot (or just tightly zoom the flash head) for a hair light. Since the su800 commander will control 3 groups, I'll use ittl for the main and fill lights, and a manual setting for the hair light.

    Will do, as soon a I get it working.
  4. Absolutely. Lighting the formals has always been my weakest area. I got a taste of better lighting at my last wedding. Between Philippe and I, we had 3 sb800s, and he brought his umbrellas and stands. We used a flash on-camera in Commander mode to trigger the ones on the stands wirelessly.


    But balancing the flashes got complicated, because it required diving into menus, and triggering the outboard flashes was inconsistent. I think the su800 solves those problems, and am anxious to refine a 3 flash arrangement for my next wedding, which will be in July.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2007
  5. Muonic


    Jun 14, 2006

    Yep, the SU-800 is a very handy piece of equipment. I actually put all three flashes (I also use two SB-800s, and one SB-600) in the manual mode. I do a quick check with a light meter, and take a couple of test shots. I chimp a little, and if things don't look right, it's easy to make an adjustment. Life is sweet!

    Nice shots, Frank.
  6. Jez


    Jun 22, 2005

    You should pay a visit to the Strobist site if you haven't done so already. His Lighting 101 and On Assignment sections make for interesting reading.

    I love his "motto": Less Gear - More Brain - Better Light

    Although I guess the first bit won't go down well over here.... :wink:
  7. OK, here's two samples from my first session with a 3 flash rig. Main light, an sb800 fired through a white umbrella, at frame left, fill light, an sb800 with a Lumiuqest softbox on it, just to the right of the camera, and a hair light, sb600 in manual mode, at the right and slightly behind the subject. The model is my long suffering bride :cool:.


    The UPS guy happened to stop buy to deliver a small purchase from BH Photo (more NiMH batteries to power my stash of flashes), and I dragged him in to sit for a portrait, too

    View attachment 93471

    And one more of Nancy.

    View attachment 93472

    Not great by any means, but I think the approach shows promise.
  8. stephen99


    Nov 22, 2006
    Holland, Ohio
    Very nice shots Uncle Frank. Makes me want to get out my SB-800 and play around. Now, if only my long suffering wife will sit still...
  9. Hi Uncle Frank...
    Very nice photos of your lovely wife Nancy... and of the UPS guy... I have been playing with
    the off camera flash over the last few weeks and I am finding very challenging, but highly rewarding...

    Will look forward to more shots you have taken and any advice or user techniques you may give...
  10. Hmmm, another dose of money off to Hong Kong

    :eek: I just bought the SU800 Frank. Tell Nancy it is all her fault!
    You are a quick learner of the art of lighting Frank, the shots of Nancy are excellent. She would have to be pleased.
  11. Sharon


    Feb 18, 2006
    Frank, some very nice stuff here with the multiple flashes. I am enjoying watching your progression and look forward to seeing more!

    I just have to add that it cracked me up that the UPS guy posed for a shot. Too funny!
  12. Thanks! I didn't like the busy background in the den, so I moved the rig to the living room, which was a good test of the mobility of the system. It passed with flying colors :cool:. Anyway, with the subject sitting on the couch, the background is the hallway's wall, which has a nice patterned wallpaper on it.


    I still need to work on arranging the stands, because the fill light needs to be directly behind the camera, not off to the side. And I'm going to try using two umbrellas instead of one umbrella and a softbox. But Nancy has lost patience with posing, and I don't have any UPS deliveries due today :frown:.

    It had me giggling, too, Sharon. He's a great sport. I'm going to have to make him a print.
  13. genehsu


    Apr 15, 2007
    You can always practice on yourself. D70 + IR remote works wonders for self-portraits. And if you order a remote online, you can grab the UPS guy again.

    I haven't gotten into portraiture, yet. It's fraught with much too many details about lighting: get the hair light to highlight the hair wisps nicely against the background, get shoulders lit so that they have definition instead of melting into the background, get under the chin lit so it doesn't look like a dark cavern, know where are all the shadows and place lights to keep only the ones that help define the face and capture the personality.

    Nope. I'm staying with candids, that is until I can practice my own lighting technique, and it is all about lighting technique.
  14. Nuteshack

    Nuteshack Guest

    excellent Frank ...gosh your hallway wall paper looks like a better back-drop than most of those musilin thingies i've seen ...;-))

    lovely bride ..;-)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2007
  15. I'd rather not. He's liable to think I've got the hots for him :rolleyes:.

    I have a d70 and a remote, but I'm trying to dial in my d200, and I don't like being in front of the camera.

    You're allowed to choose your own standard for obsessiveness, even with portraiture. The model's expression is much higher on my scale of metrics than shadows.

    Candids are about light, too. You just have less control.
  16. Hi Uncle Frank, I am new to this forum but have seen many of your posts on DPReview. I thought I would check out Nikon Cafe after reading Ed's "Last Post" there. I also have read and learned a lot from Ed, so Here I am. That is a great shot of a beautiful woman. I still have to get a SB800 as I only have an old SB20 Speed Light that I use for bouncing flash. Dave
  17. genehsu


    Apr 15, 2007
    I agree. I enjoy picking up my son at day care and snapping a few candids. I posted a reply to another of your threads about my experience with the BetterBounceCard and off-camera flash. I wouldn't want to hijack this thread.

    Anyway, I would consider your shots so far a good start. You're a lot farther along than I am in portraiture. BTW, I especially like the catch lights in the eyes in the latest picture of your wife.
  18. Hi, Dave, and welcome to the Cafe! A few forum mates from the other place have shown up recently. This a friendlier place to trade ideas and images, and nicely moderated. That is, the mods aren't intrusive, but they're available when you need one.

    I'd encourage you to upgrade your sb20 to an sb800. Nikon's iTTL strobes can produce wonderful results, and give you the option of off-camera operation if you have one of the newer camera bodies.
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