RadioPoppers makes possible a fun group photo

My neighbor came over the other night and asked if I could do a favor: her daughter just turned 16 and was having a bunch of her friends over for a night out to celebrate. Could I shoot a couple pictures? Sure.

What I envisioned was that I'd be shooting inside their house, just bouncing a flash as the crowd of teenagers acted like, well, teenagers. But when Brooke's mom came over to get me everybody was already outside waiting for the limo to show up. So I had just a couple minutes to figure out what to do.

Luckily, my wife (the lovely Edna, who assists me on most shoots) thought to grab a monopod and a RadioPopper, so I set my one SB-800 up with her and triggered the popper from my camera. This let me have a lot more freedom of movement and let me make better light than I ever could with on-camera flash.

Edna put the flash up about 10 feet in the air, shooting directly down at the crowd from about 15 feet away, while I went way up the street to shoot with a 70-200. The long lens let me clean up the cluttered background of our neighborhood (mostly, anyway.. it's pretty crowded once everyone comes home from work) and once I dragged all the girls out in the middle of the road I told them to just have fun posing.

This group literally stopped traffic.

If Edna hadn't brought out the RadioPopper receiver (I keep the transmitter in my bag, with an SU-800) I couldn't have made this photo, because I was probably too far out of range for the regular i-ttl to work. I don't remember my exact settings on the flash, but it's pretty likely that I had it set on manual to about 1/4-power, and the zoom (on the flash) set to about 50mm to just barely cover the area where the girls were standing. There's a little bit more light spill on the street than I'd like, but hey: it's hard to aim the flash when you're also hoisting it up in the air on top of a monopod with cars honking at you.

That night I made a 20x24 print off that big proud Epson printer in my basement and taped it to the front door of her house, which really made a nice birthday present for Brooke when the limo brought everyone back home from their escapade.

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