The Strobist saves the 4th of July!

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by Uncle Frank, Jul 4, 2007.

  1. Our homeowners' association hosts a 4th of July Fun Run every year, and I try to take pics of the runners as they pass my house. The run takes place when the sun is already high. There are trees shading the street, but the background is bright, so my shots have come out like this before editing.

    81663661.

    This year I'm been inspired by The Strobist, and just finished his article on cross lighting. Aha, sez I. I'll set up sb800s on lightstands on either side of the street, trigger them with my trusty su800, and blast the runners with a double barrel of photons.

    I drafted a passerby to dial in my settings just before the runners were due to arrive. The test shot showed how bad my aim was.

    View attachment 104069

    After a hasty realignment, I felt set for the real thing :).

    View attachment 104070

    This was one of the resulting captures...

    View attachment 104071

    ... and a wider view shows one of the strobes in action.

    View attachment 104072

    Thanks to Dave Hobby and his Strobist blog, I got my first ever decent picture of the lead pack :).

    View attachment 104073

    Happy 4th of July to all!

    View attachment 104074
     
  2. Great lighting work Frank!
     
  3. Excellent demo thread Frank. Thanks for sharing your method and the results.
     
  4. ShadowForce

    ShadowForce

    793
    Mar 26, 2006
    Dayton, OH
    Congratulations Frank! Those look great.
     
  5. Awesome stuff Frank. I've been following your strobist posts very closely and learning right along. Looks like lots of fun :smile:

    I think this is going to cost me some $$$....thanks! :tongue:

    Happy 4th right back at ya.
     
  6. genehsu

    genehsu

    594
    Apr 15, 2007
    Seattle
    Great work, Frank.

    This lighting setup is a nice one to reverse-engineer, showing how a simple setup can improve shots a lot.
     

  7. Thanks, Gene. No need to reverse engineer... here's the schematic.

    81722133.

    And here is the full view from the camera.

    View attachment 104076

    A little cropping yielded results like these.

    View attachment 104077

    View attachment 104078

    The only tricky part was making sure the sensors on the sb800s were accessible from the su800. If so, the su800 acted as a reliable trigger, despite the bright sunlight.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2007
  8. Very cool Frank
     
  9. ja6ke

    ja6ke

    300
    Dec 28, 2006
    U.S. D.C. area
    Great stuff! I especially like the lead pack image because a) as a reformed runner, that might be the first time I have ever seen the lead pack and b) the shadows and difference in light quality? depending on the runners proximity to the center of the road is very informative.

    Thanks for yet another lesson
     
  10. peterparker

    peterparker

    461
    Jun 2, 2006
    Houston
    Good job UF! Makes me want to ditch work and go home and strobe away. SU-800 arrives tomorrow :)
     
  11. Using a longer lens will work wonders, that way you can have good seperation between your camera and the flash(s). This was an excellent demo Frank.
     
  12. Good input, Gordon. I don't know why, but I shot the Beast at 28mm for this entire series. I could have used a longer focal length and backed up a bit. I would have been a little less conspicuous, and avoided getting poses from the runners...

    81704556.

    View attachment 104080

    I just noticed something interesting! If you look at the runners' feet, you can see the shadows cast by each of the strobes, and get an estimate of their relative intensity, determined by how far the runner deviated from the center of the road.
     
  13. genehsu

    genehsu

    594
    Apr 15, 2007
    Seattle
    That and the direction of the shadows was what I meant by the reverse-engineering comment. These are excellent pictures for people to start looking at the shadows to puzzle out how many lights were used and where the lights are positioned.
     
  14. Now I understand what you were suggesting. You were a couple of steps ahead of me, Gene.
     
  15. DougD50

    DougD50

    97
    Aug 29, 2006
    There was a big difference between the first picture (without flash) and the ones afterwards (with flash). Having seen this, I strobism is the only way to go for situation like this. Good illustration UF.
    Doug
     
  16. photoshooter

    photoshooter Guest

    A couple of questions, would you mind answering?

    What were your settings for the sb-800's

    Is it safe to assume? you had 1 light at 7ft to cover upper body, second light to cover lower body and feet , set at 5ft.

    How many misfires? The 40ft. distance of the street seems, very large. However when you think , that the runners are pretty much in the center, that's not to much distance at all.

    Please, share your camera and flash settings. Your strobes were in manual?

    The photos are really nice.

    Brian
     
  17. I'd be happy to.

    Q: What were your settings for the sb-800's

    A: Both were in manual mode at 1/2 power. I presumed the runners would come down the middle of the street, but they didn't. They had just completed a right turn, and tended to hug the right side of the street.

    Q: Is it safe to assume? you had 1 light at 7ft to cover upper body, second light to cover lower body and feet , set at 5ft.

    A: No, I wanted to put both of them at 7 feet, but tree limbs obstructed the view from the right side of the street, and I had to lower the stand to 5 ft. so I could shoot under them.

    Q: How many misfires?

    A: None, but several shots suffered from the flashes not having enough time to recharge.

    Q: The 40ft. distance of the street seems, very large. However when you think , that the runners are pretty much in the center, that's not to much distance at all.

    A: I was standing at the right side of the street. No matter where the runners were located, it was still over 40 feet from my shooting position to the strobe on the left side of the street. That's a fair distance to trigger a remote wirelessly.

    Q: Please, share your camera and flash settings. Your strobes were in manual?

    A: The camera was in manual. I chose settings that underexposed the background, and then relied on the strobes, which were also in manual mode, to illuminate the passing runners.

    Thanks, Brian.
     
  18. genehsu

    genehsu

    594
    Apr 15, 2007
    Seattle
    On the contrary, Uncle Frank. You are a couple steps ahead of me. You're actually practicing the strobist techniques while I'm sitting on my butt. :biggrin:
     
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