Signed up for a course -don't want to be totally inept!

Butlerkid

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I've signed up for a course shooting "spectacularly colored" frogs and reptiles at the end of June.

I've never been able to wrap my head around using flash. Now I'll have to! I plan to set something up and practise before I go to the course.

You can see my gear below (minus the 24-120) I also have a Ray Flash Ring Adapter, Kenko extension tubes, and Canon 500D! I assume the SB800 and Ray Flash will work with both the D700 and D300.

My very old Maha rechargeables need replacing. What batteries do you recommend?

Any suggestions on a few settings to get me started with smallish critters AND using the Ray Flash?
 
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I would practice using your flash off camera. Otherwise, you have the gear you need I think. As far as batteries are concerned, Sanyo Eneloops all the way!
 
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Keep it SIMPLE! :wink: Complex just gets in the way of good photgraphy!

The Ray Flash looks intriguing, but a StoFen or other diffuser (McNally likes what he calls "double diffusion"...the flash diffuser plus a StoFen or similar product provides what he terms "good light") or a home made bounce card on your flash, plus a cord for off-camera work will provide good results,and be easier to carry and handle. iTTL all the way!

The 105 micro, natch!

Practice beforehand; shoot, evaluate, adjust, repeat.
 

Butlerkid

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Thanks for the help!

So here's a naive question....when using the flash off camera - does it just take practise to hold the flash with one hand and handle the camera with the other hand?

Since I'll be shooting critters, I assume that the tripod might not be my best option since I wouldn't be able to move around for best composition.

Also, I think the Ring Flash will provide even lighting. So I should still get the flash off the camera?
 
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Thanks for the help!

So here's a naive question....when using the flash off camera - does it just take practise to hold the flash with one hand and handle the camera with the other hand?

Since I'll be shooting critters, I assume that the tripod might not be my best option since I wouldn't be able to move around for best composition.

Also, I think the Ring Flash will provide even lighting. So I should still get the flash off the camera?
1. O Yes. Shoot, evaluate, adjust, repeat. (I think I heard that somewhere, before!):wink:

2. Tripod good, but Royal PITA. Diffused/bounce carded flash on camera better for mobility. Flash at about 60 degree bounce angle, with bounce card reflects even, diffused light closer to the end of the lens.

3. I dunno.
 
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So here's a naive question....when using the flash off camera - does it just take practise to hold the flash with one hand and handle the camera with the other hand?

A tripod is always best for macro work, the depth of field is so small, and the magnification is high. In the shade, the fast speedlight flash can stop camera shake pretty well, but it does not help the front to back swaying motion that changes focus. A macro tripod ought to have legs that spread out horizontal, to get it very low to the ground. Usually means the photographer gets down in the mud with it. :smile:

Everyone has their own ways for macro lighting. Most common seems to be a bracket arm to hold the flash off camera a foot or two.

Instead, I find this below to be very handy for macro lighting. Then the tripod leaves one hand free for it (it weighs nothing, nylon cloth in a flexible steel frame, very easy to hold).

It is a simple $15 14 inch Westcott folding reflector. It has several uses.

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In the sun, it can be held above the macro work (above), to provide good diffusion of the sun (becomes shadowless). This instance changed f/16 exposure from 1/320 second to 1/60 second, which no longer appears dark at all, and the harsh shadows are totally gone.



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In the shade, we can shoot the flash through it for diffusion, becomes a large light in relation to the macro subject, not unlike a softbox. :smile:



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Or, the hot shoe flash can be aimed more sideways, and then reflected back to subject (which is off camera lighting). Flash head can also be aimed up in any degree for this.



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Or held above the flash to reflect back down (ceiling bounce :smile: )



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It is 14 inches, suitable for macro, but it easily folds to nearly pocket size, and fits in the camera bag easily.



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Some models of it are silver on one side, but this one is white on both sides (allows sun or flash to go through it for diffusion, or it reflects too).


  • B&H # WEIR14D
  • Mfr# 1107
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/67100-REG/Westcott_1107_14_Diffuser_Reflector.html

Priced right for any camera bag. I am not a big Westcott fan (never seems much of a bargain), but this one is only $15, and it works. Also is small and compact, and handy.
 
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Take a look at my 13 Year Cicada photos in the Macro section. I used the SB900 with the small bounce card on the flash and the flash at 60 degrees. I was using a tripod but I have used it with the camera hand held and it works well when I am chasing bugs and need the freedom. I have also used the Ray Ring Flash Adapter and got good results but it is not as easy to use as just the flash.
 

Butlerkid

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Wayne,

Thank you so much for the detailed information. I do have a set of Photodex light modifiers, which I've used in the field for flower shooting. You give lots of good tips on how to best adjust for varied lighting situations.
 

Butlerkid

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Jerry,

Very nice! Technically flawless! Now you have me lusting after the 105 VR!

I found the Ray Flash used some time ago, and have yet to use it. I'll try both the Ring flash and just the SB800.
 
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The 105mm VR is a great lens. I have also used it for sports and portriat photography. My favorate lens for bugs and small critters is the Nikon 200mm f/4. It is super sharp. I usually use it with a tripod or monopod. The stand off distance really helps.
 
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Hi Karen,

For batteries, I've been really happy with both the Powerex Imedions and the Sanyo Eneloops. They're the slow discharge NiMH type that holds 85% of their charge for a long time - almost a year. I've used some straight out of the package and they worked great.

Have a fun time in your class!

Vivian
 
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NiMh recycles a little faster than alkalines, and a lot faster then lithiums.

See chart in flash manual, SB800 page 19.
 

Butlerkid

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Thanks, Wayne. I just ordered the Eneloops (2000 mAh) from Thomas Distributing. They said my Maha charger for my old Powerex rechargeables would work to recharge the Eneloops....
 
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Yeah, Eneloop is not different from older NiMH, regarding charging.

We do want a good charger, the simplest cheapest ones are pretty dumb and NOT the best deal.

But I don't think Maha makes a bad charger.
 
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You can, but they do not ship fully charged, and I cannot think of any reason not to charge them fully first.

Just one opinion, and certainly there are others. But I have the Maha C9000 charger with all the goodies, and I love many of the features, but I never bother with breaking in, at least not until they become old and cause me to wonder about them. If you have the same breakin procedure, it takes a few days, and I find it a very good thing to connect the charger on the UPS for that. :smile:
 

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