Expanding on i-ttl possibilities

Two SB-800's used here: one on-camera at 1-stop under with a diffuser dome
triggering one at right set to set about 1/3-stop overexposure.

Lately I’ve been trying to push the limits on i-ttl somewhat, playing especially with high-speed synch, and also seeing just how far I can get from my lights and still make them work.

But the big surprise to me these last few days is that I can use BOTH my Wizards and i-ttl capability in tandem, which opens up a new world of possibilities.

At a wedding this past weekend, I set up a couple of Alien Bees 1600’s on one side of the reception hall, setting them at moderately low power so that I could squeak out a workable ambient exposure at around ISO 400, around f/4.5 in the brighter parts of the room. I try not to go too much higher than that if I can avoid it, because I don’t like the noise I get at higher ISO’s and don’t want to blow out the ambient with my lights. While the crowd was across the hall eating shrimp and having cocktails, I set about making some detail shots of the centerpieces and overalls of the room. Brides like these photos, because they have often put a lot of planning time and money in to making the place pretty, but for me they serve the very important purpose of making sure I’m ready when the newlyweds breeze in for their first dance. My motto: Check it, Chimp it, Change it if you need to.

Pretty, pretty flowers.

Almost on a whim, I popped on the SU-800 I just bought and had my assistant point an SB-800 in Remote mode at a bouquet of flowers. I had the SB-800 firing at level ttl (no over- or under-exposure) and set my f-stop for about 2/3rds stop below what the Bees were kicking out.

Oh, I enjoyed the results. I was able to pop out the centerpiece from the surrounding tableware and also have it stand out nicely against the ambient of the room.

Later on I used it for the first dances, and there’s a lot of potential for that to be a dramatic tool down the road. Here, the Bees are bouncing up in to the ceiling on the right of the frame, using the green gobos I wrote about earlier, giving me a gentle, somewhat directional light that mixes with the ambient. My assistant is using a snooted SB-800 coming straight in from the left, and I’ve set the flash, from my camera, to overexpose about 1/3rd stop.

They're even reflected in the mirror!


Dan said...

Both are really classy shots with a lot ambience and a great "precious memories" kinda-feel to 'em. Gotta learn these techniques! Thx so much for your work and info here... obviously a labor of love.


Thomas said...

Thanks, Dan. I have a lot of fun shooting, and I hope that shows in the end product.

And while it is true that a good photographer can make good pictures with any gear, some of the latest advances, particularly in flashes, have made it a lot easier to get the kind of pictures I want with less labor. So I'm having a good time these days.