Build your own Speedlight power pack

Speedlite Power Pack Battery

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Speedlite Power Pack Battery Summary


4.6 stars out of 11 votes

Contents: Ebook
Author: Andrey Tchernikov
Price: $15.00

My Speedlite Power Pack Battery Review

Highly Recommended

I started using this ebook straight away after buying it. This is a guide like no other; it is friendly, direct and full of proven practical tips to develop your skills.

When compared to other e-books and paper publications I have read, I consider this to be the bible for this topic. Get this and you will never regret the decision.

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Using the Builtin Speedlight

Follow these steps when using the built-in Speedlight with a CPU lens. 1 Rotate the mode dial to the desired setting ( 10). If , if, ft, or 0 mode is selected, proceed to Step 4 ( 98). i-TTL Balanced Fill-Flash for Digital SLR will be selected, and the built-in Speedlight will pop-up automatically when required. Press the Q button. The built-in Speedlight will pop up and begin charging. When the Speedlight is fully charged, the flash-ready indicator will light. The built-in Speedlight can not be raised and fired manually in aSS, Jf, A, and 0 modes. Once raised, the built-in Speedlight will only fire when required for additional lighting. 0 When the Speedlight Is Not in Use To save battery power when the Speedlight is not in use, return it to the closed position by pressing it lightly downward until the latch clicks into place. Press the shutter-release button halfway and check exposure (shutter speed and aperture). In 3SS, J , ft, and modes, the built-in Speedlight will pop up...

Optional Flash Units Speedlights

The accessory shoe allows SB-series Speedlights, including the SB-400, 800, 600, 80DX, 28DX, 28, 27, 23, 22S, and 29S to be mounted directly on the camera without a sync cable. It is equipped with a safety lock for Speedlights with a locking pin, such as the SB-800 and SB-600. Before attaching an optional flash unit, remove the accessory shoe cover. The built-in flash will not fire when an optional Speedlight is attached. When used with compatible flash units such as the optional SB-400, SB-800, and SB-600 Speedlights or SB-R200 wireless remote Speedlight, the D40 supports the advanced Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS), including i-TTL flash control and Flash Color Information Communication. See the Speedlight manual for details. SB-400, SB-800, and SB-600 Speedlights These high-performance Speedlights have Guide Numbers of 30 98 (18-mm zoom coverage), 53 174 (35-mm zoom head position), and 42 138 (35-mm zoom head position) respectively (m ft, ISO 200, 20 C 68 F GNs at ISO 100 are...

The Incredible New Nikon Coolpix P7000

Nothing matters more to serious shooters than image quality. So when it comes to a smaller camera, only one measures up the new Nikon COOLPIX P7000, with a large 1 1.7 CCD sensor, RAW shooting capability, the option of full manual control, NIKKOR ED glass, HD Movie, Nikon Speedlight compatibility and much more. It's the first good reason, ever, to shoot with something other than your D-SLR.

Lighting is easny the most important

Figure 1-1 was taken with one Canon 580EX II flash, off-camera from the top center pointing towards the lens to create the shadow of the heart in the crease of the book. The flash was set to E-TTL II mode and was triggered via a Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2. Figure 1-2 was not particularly complicated from a lighting standpoint. You can see what it looks like in Figure 1-3. Figure 1-2 was taken with a Canon 580EX II flash set to E-TTL II mode, fired through a soft-box to the right of the coach, and triggered using a Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2. Figure 1-2 was not particularly complicated from a lighting standpoint. You can see what it looks like in Figure 1-3. Figure 1-2 was taken with a Canon 580EX II flash set to E-TTL II mode, fired through a soft-box to the right of the coach, and triggered using a Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2.

The images here had very little to no Photoshop work done to them

Anyone who owns a D-SLR and a hot-shoe mounted flashgun. (Note Not many of the techniques in this book can be achieved with the camera's built-in popup flash it simply isn't flexible enough.) In this book, I often freely interchange the Canon brand name Speedlite with the word flashgun. Keep in mind that the techniques used here are equally valid with the Nikon brand Speedlight flashes.

The Incredible Nikon Coolpix P7000

Nothing matters more to serious shooters than image quality. So when it comes to a smaller camera, only one measures up the Nikon COOLPIX P7000, with a large 1 1.7 CCD sensor, RAW shooting capability, the option of lull manual control, NIKKOR ED glass, HD Movie, Nikon Speedlight compatibility and much more. It's the first good reason, ever, to shoot with something other than your D-SLR

Canon System Overview

From the broad view, Canon offers a complete range of cameras, lenses, Speedlite flashes, and accessories. There are so many options, in fact, that choosing among them is a challenge. Throughout this book, you get detailed information on individual components of the Canon photography system as well as help in choosing components based on your shooting preferences and needs. For now, it's worthwhile to review the overall scope of Canon's photography system.

Learning a new skill can be a rjnny process Think about

Figure 2-1 was taken with four flashes. Two Quantum Qflash T5D-R with QNexus TTL wireless adapters allowed communication with Canon or Nikon strobes and two Canon 580EX II. All flashes were set to TTL mode, with Gary Fong Lightsphere flash modifiers. All the flashes were triggered via a Canon 580EX II Speedlite on-camera set to be the Master flash, but only as a trigger and not contributing light to the scene, E-TTL II mode, using RadioPopper transmitter and receivers. All flash output was controlled from camera. The Qflashes were in group A lighting the sides of the helicopter The model was lit using one Canon 580EX II with a snoot in group B, with the bulk of the flash output biased to the B group. The cockpit was lit with a 580EX II in group C using a Gary Fong Lightsphere set to -1 stop EV (exposure value).

Additional Canon System Components

The most expensive components of a photography system are camera bodies and lenses, but a variety of accessories increase your creative options. Additional components include Canon Softmat filters and close-up lenses, teleconvertors to increase the effective focal length of lenses, Speedlite flashes, circular polarizing and haze filters, a variety of remote control accessories, a wireless file transmitter, a data verification kit, a variety of eyecups and extenders, angle finders, and focusing screens. For lighting on the go, Canon offers the 580EX II, 430EX, and 220EX Speedlites. The ST-E2 transmitter allows control of slave flashes for up to 33 feet outdoors and almost 50 feet indoors. Macro photographers can benefit from the Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX or the Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX. In addition, you can add a variety of battery packs and magazines, hot-shoe adapters, TTL (through-the-lens) distributors, and off-camera shoe cords. A body, lens, and flash made a complete system for this...

Nikonos V camera body to be discontinued

Although Nikon will discontinue manufacture of the NIKONOS-V camera body, it will continue to supply accessories for the NIKONOS-V, including interchangeable lenses, speedlight, close-up outfit unit, etc., at least until the end of 2002. At a later date, the company will decide whether or not to continue offering these accessories in 2003 and beyond.

Seeing and Knowing Light

Figure 2-2 was lit using a very simple set up. I used one off-camera Canon 580EX II flash set to E-TTL II mode, with a Gary Fong Lightsphere, triggered using a Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 with RadioPopper transmitter and receiver. Figure 2-3 was taken with one off-camera Canon 580EX II flash set to E-TTL II mode, with +2 3rd flash exposure compensation, direct bare flash with the flash manual zoomed into 50mm to focus the light on the subjects. Again here we triggered the flash using a Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 with Radio Popper transmitter and receivers. There are many ways you can use your on-camera flash to improve the lighting. It can be used as a fill flash to lift shadows in your model's face on a sunny day, for example. You can bounce it or add a light modifier such as a Gary Fong Lightsphere. From here, you can go many different ways Use a single, carefully positioned Speedlite (like in Figure 2-3), use two or three flash setup, or use multiple wireless flashes...

Choosing The Gear Thats Right For

Patience, however, is a virtue, and so is developing a solid plan to help you build a system that's right for you. From personal experience, I can tell you that there are few things more aggravating than having an expensive lens or Speedlite gather dust in a gear bag. I've also learned that the loss on the resale price of gear I didn't really need or use is sobering enough to keep my personal wish list carefully prioritized.

How Patrick Cavan Brown

After mounting his Canon EOS 5D (A) vertically on a Manfrotto 3415 tripod head and ancient Gitzo tripod, Brown placed four Canon 580EX II Speedlites (B) on lightstands at various heights and distances around his subjects. He fired the camera and flashes wirelessly using a cable release and Canon's infrared Speedlite ST-E2 Transmitter. The final image, which he tweaked in Adobe Lightroom, was made of four exposures, which he stitched into a single panorama in Adobe Photoshop. Between each of the four exposures, he moved some of the lights to best balance highlight and shadow detail. The diminished light transmission also let the photographer crank up his Speedlites to their maximum output without blowing out highlights, making it easier for him to balance strobe and bright sunlight.

The Softbox In Action

I used the EZ-Fold Hot Shoe Softbox with a Nikon D300 and Nikon Speedlight SB800 - an ideal set-up given the flashgun's ability to be triggered wirelessly from the camera. As you'd expect, the softbox makes a massive difference to the quality of the illumination when compared with a bare flashgun or even the smaller dip-on diffusers you can buy. If you use flash on location, whether for weddings, portraits or even nature subjects, this is an inexpensive way to make a huge difference to the professionalism of your results.

Electronic enhanced

Artificial light source consisting of a gas-filled tube that is fired by an electrical charge. The flash can be mounted directly on the camera hot shoe (which links the shutter firing to the flash firing) or on a bracket or stand connected to the camera via a sync cord. Also known as a flash gun, strobe, or speedlight.

Use Two Light Sources

If your camera has a hot-shoe for an external flash, you can quickly set up professional portrait lighting just about anywhere, with the help of wireless flashes. Both Canon and Nikon offer great wireless flash systems. For example, you can get two Canon 420EX Speedlite flashes and one Canon ST-E2 wireless transmitter for around 600. Insert the transmitter into the camera's hot-shoe and position the two flashes anywhere you'd like. When you press the shutter button, the transmitter causes the flashes to fire until just the right amount of light has exposed the subject, and then it turns them off. The 420EX Speedlites even come with little adapter feet so you can set them on furniture or attach them to a light stand. All three pieces will fit in a large camera bag along with your other lenses and accessories, so they're very portable.

Time Foryour Close Up

In our first shot we illuminated our lovely cherub statue using a single, undiffused on-camera Canon Speedlite 550EX. Blasting out an intense burst of light straight at the subject has created an unpleasant dark shadow behind the statue and given it a flat, almost two-dimensional look. In our first shot we illuminated our lovely cherub statue using a single, undiffused on-camera Canon Speedlite 550EX. Blasting out an intense burst of light straight at the subject has created an unpleasant dark shadow behind the statue and given it a flat, almost two-dimensional look. nine 'slave' flashguns to be controlled and fired simultaneously via a 'master' flashgun on the camera. The remote slave units can be divided into three distinct groups. Flash mode and flash output level compensation values can then be set separately for each group and the master unit. If you want to use all your flashguns remotely you can control them via an infrared flash trigger on the camera's hotshoe - the Nikon...

Phantom Ught Painting

(left) Making the Crystal Maiden's bones glow was a two-step process. In total darkness, I had our guide paint the skeleton with a Mini Maglite for 1 minute. Next, I had him pose beside the bones, put my Nikon D200 at 5 sec, and hit him once at a low angle with an SB-800 Speedlight to cast his shadow on a far wan. The D200's Image Overlay program made combining the two exposures easy.

Paul C Buff Einstein 640 V2

Einstein 640

Unique to the Einstein is its programmable firmware, which is now available in version 26, downloadable from pcb2009 e640firmware.html. If you use or are thinking about using the PocketWizard ControlTL system for your Canon or Nikon smart speedlights and wish to integrate Einstein into your lighting system, v.26 supports the new PocketWizard PowerEC2 receiver. In this industrial photo, the main light (camera left) is an Einstein 640 v.2 with a 54x72-inch Chimera Super PRO Lightbank. A second Einstein fitted with a 20-inch Chimera Standard Lantern is directly behind the green machine and facing the left side wall. A Canon 580EX II Speedlite placed just behind the control panel lights the rear wall. The accent hair light is a Canon 430EX II Speedlite set to a very narrow angle. A second 430EX II placed inside the metallizing chamber lights the back of the chamber. To control output levels, I assigned the main and hair light to group A, the interior and back wall lights to...

The Lcd May Not Have Grown In Size But It Has Drastically Improved In Quality

The built-in flash unit springs open by pressing the button to the left side of the camera, and will also open automatically when needed if using the auto and scene modes. The flash itself sits nice and high above the lens and will cover wide enough for a 17mm lens focal length (27mm equivalent). It has a guide number of 13, meaning it will cover up to 13 metres at ISO 100 - fairly standard for a built-in unit - and will sync up to 1 200sec. It also features redeye reduction and + -2EV flash compensation. The full range of Canon's Speedlite models can be attached via the hotshoe, which work with E-TTL II algorithm to provide complete control.

ISO and digital noise

Figure 3-9 Don't let appalling weather get in your way - wrap your flashes in plastic bags if you have to, but keep taking photos. Photo was taken with a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV, 70-200mm IS lens at 155mm, 1 60 sec, f 3.2 and ISO 8000, in Manual exposure mode. The lighting was provided by two Canon 580EXII Speedlites in E-TTL II mode backlighting the subjects triggered via a Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 with RadioPopper Transmitter and receiver.

Flash Exposure Compensation

Rotate the mode dial to p, s, a, or m and choose a flash sync mode as described in Steps 1-4 of Using the Built-in Speedlight ( 97-98). Take a picture as instructed in Steps 5-7 of Using the Built-in Speedlight ( 99). 0 Using Flash Exposure Compensation with Optional Speedlights

It often seems as if photographers are fonder of t alking a bout p hotography equipment

Figure 4-1 A wise old photographer once said that if you photograph a bride's dress well, all else is forgiven. I'm a believer in photographing everything perfectly, but he might have been on to something. What bride wouldn't be happy with a photo like this one This photo was taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera and a 16-35mm lens at 24mm, 1 25 sec, f 2.8 and ISO 1000, in Manual exposure mode. One Gary Fong Lightsphere was on the off-camera Speedlite Figure 4-2 The hot shoe on a digital SLR camera is used to communicate between the camera and the outside world. In this picture, you can see a Canon 580EXII Speedlite in the hot shoe of my Canon EOS 1D Mark IV. Often, you'll use a flash in the hot shoe, but you can also connect radio triggers or other remote control devices to the hot shoe.

Canon Gio Vs Panasonic Lx3

One nice feature of both models is the range of accessories you can add to the pair. For example, Canon's G10 is compatible with a range of the brand's Speedlite flashguns, while a conversion lens adaptor can also be attached to allow a tele-convertor to be fitted to the lens - in turn increasing the focal range of the camera. Panasonic's LX3 offers a similar array of accessories - a conversion lens adaptor allows the attachment of a wideangle lens convenor, while an external optical viewfinder can be added via the camera's hotshoe, or alternatively use the hotshoe for the conventional external flashgun.

Characteristics of Light Analysis and Decisions

This image was made with one direct, unmodified, Speedlite mounted on a professional flash bracket on a handheld camera. The center of the Speedlite is located close above the center of the lens, producing a front light. The full length is shot with a 110 mm focal length at a distance of 25 feet with the model against the white back wall of the studio. The longer distance creates a narrow angle between the center of the lens and the center of the flash, providing a nearly shadowless light. The shadow is projected almost straight behind the subject. The flash compensation is +1 because ofthe predominance ofwhite and light tones in the scene, adjusted according to the histogram. The overhead lights in the studio were left on to keep the ambient level bright and the pupils closed down, preventing red eye. The shutter speed was high to eliminate the effect of the ambient light 1 250 at f 4.5, ISO 100. Simple and effective. For an overall soft, even light, stack lighting was used. One...

Controlling oncamera flashes off the camera

As useful as on-camera flashes are, their real power lies in using them in combination with more Speedlites. You can get people to hold them (like in Figure 4-3), put them on lighting stands or tripods, and move them around independent of your camera. Where else will they work In the studio So, by using two or more of these Speedlites, you can get creative with lighting your subject to your heart's content. Figure 4-4 This is a Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2. One of these can wirelessly trigger your Speedlites, but it doesn't have all the functionality of the newer Speedlites. The Canon 580EXII Speedlites flash, for example, has more groups and better range. Most Speedlites have a slave mode, which enables them to be controlled wirelessly. To control these lights, however, you need a flash that has a master mode. To find out if your flash has a master mode, check the manual. In master mode, Speedlites can control other flashes that are set to 'slave' mode. Most camera manufacturers...

War Stories Holocaust

The first thing you want to decide when using Speedlights is what is the look you want. Most often I want a not-lit-look. A Speedlight is capable of putting out a very small amount of light and putting it exactly where you want it. I made a portrait of a Holocaust victim in the dormitory where he had been held prisoner 50 years before. What little light there was came from a skylight directly above him. I needed a way to light the prison number tattooed on his forearm, which was in darkness. I wrapped an off-camera Speedlight with black Cinefoil and dialed it down so the light on the arm would be a bit less intense than that hitting his face. The effect is that there is no artificial lighting at all. The exposure value was set on the camera to provide the desired amount of glow and color in the sky. Lucia is lit with a Slave Speedlite in a vertical softbox on a light stand just outside the frame, camera left. The TTL receiver on the Slave has been rotated to face the camera position....

Get Your Lighting Together

When you're shopping for external flashes, look for models that can be triggered wirelessly by the camera. These units are perfect for the photographer on the go. I'm using two Canon Speedlite 420EXs (as shown in Figure 4-9) and a Transmitter ST-E2 for this assignment. The transmitter mounts in the camera's hot shoe and wirelessly triggers all the flashes when you trip the shutter.

Pocket Wizards Mini Flex

I have used the Pocket Wizard systems, too. In my experience, the Flex and Mini were not reliable with my Canon 580EX II Speedlites. The Flex and Mini need other options to allow for reliable communication when using the Canon 580 Speedlites. Interestingly, I did not have issues with the Pocket Wizard system when using the less powerful Canon 430EX II Speedlite. It's a moot point. I only use 580's so they were not very useful for me. If you are not looking to use the creative features and just want to wirelessly fire your Speedlites in manual mode, they work great. But I look at it this way. I'm paying extra for the cool toys that Canon and Nikon have built into their flash systems, and once I've put the money down, I want to be able to use every feature. Figure 4-6 If you're shooting in the studio, you can always re-take a shot. When you're shooting documentary-style on location, you really can't afford to miss a shot due to your flashes not recycling quickly enough. Don't miss the...

Batteries batteries batteries

One of the things frequently overlooked is batteries. Remember that, when working with a Speedlite, several characteristics of the flash are affected by the status of the batteries. Of course, all Speedlites accept alkaline batteries (usually of the AA variety), which gives you some flexibility. You can use the cheap AAs from your corner shop, but they're not going to last very long. There's another, less obvious advantage, too. When plugged in, your Speedlite will only use the external battery pack. Use this knowledge to your advantage by creating a safety buffer for yourself. Ensure that your Speedlite has fresh AA batteries in its own battery compartment, and then shoot with the battery pack. If the pack fails or runs low, simply unplug it, and the batteries in the flash itself take over. Phew, another bullet dodged

How to Create the Magic

You'll need a camera with a Second Curtain flash mode or one that accepts external flashes with this option. In this hack, I used a Canon Digital Rebel with a Canon Speedlite 550EX. When shopping, you'll have to check the specs carefully, because some great digital SLRs don't have this feature, while a plain-Jane consumer digicam just might.

The second way to handle flash is as an automatically controlled flash burst

When I shoot this way outdoors, I usually dial my speedlights down to around -2 to -3 stops. (I use the Nikon speedlights in TTL BL mode, which balances the flash automatically with the ambient light see TTL Modes, below ). The setting I choose also depends on how much flash is needed. If we're photographing someone in the shade and need to bump the exposure up to match a sunlit background, then we're going to need a lot more flash. Therefore the flash exposure compensation will most likely be around zero. TTL Modes. With Nikon's flash system, you have the choice between TTL (standard TTL) and TTL BL (balanced fill-flash TTL). You can change between these modes on the speedlight itself. With TTL BL, the camera's metering system takes into account the available light and will reduce the flash output accordingly. This is, therefore, the TTL mode to use for more pleasing fill-flash results. In my experience, when flash is the dominant source of light, however,

Basic lighting starter kit

Figure 4-7 was taken with a single Canon 580EX II Speedlite bounced into a Westcott 43 inch Optical White Satin with Removable Black Cover-Collapsible flash set to E-TTL II mode, triggered via Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 line of sight. In Figure 4-8, you can see my basic lighting kit consisting of two light stands, two Gary Fong Lightsphere light modifiers, a shoot-through umbrella, a couple of Canon 580 EX II Speedlites and a Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2. One Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 or Nikon SU800 Commander to control the remote flashes. One Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 or Nikon SU800 Commander to control the remote flashes. Canon 580EXII Speedlite with a CP-E4 battery pack Canon 580EXII Speedlite with a CP-E4 battery pack Gary Fong Lightsphere light modifier on a Canon 580EXII Speedlite with a RadioPopper receiver in the PX Receiver Replacement Canon Mounting Bracket Base

Builtin Flash P S A and M Modes Only

Choose a flash control mode for the built-in flash or the optional SB-400 Speedlight. The Optional SB-400 Speedlight When an optional SB-400 Speedlight is attached, Custom Setting 14 is used to choose the flash control mode for the SB-400 and the name changes to Optional Speedlight.

Light source white balance settings

The Daylight (Fine), Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy and Flash (Speedlight) options are designed for each of these light types. With this group of settings the camera manufacturers have examined the color from a variety of each of these sources, averaged the results and produced a white balance setting to suit each light source. If you know the type of lighting that your subject is being lit by, then selecting a specific source setting is a good move.

Adapting Techniques for Modifying Flash

This following sequence shows the progression in getting to the results I wanted, which was to show the model against the city in the background. For the final image (plate 9-17), I attached a white card to the flash to throw some light forward while bouncing a lot of light from my flash. You could either make your own or use Better Bounce Card it would work very well in this situation as well. Check the web site at Instead of now spilling most of the light from my flash into the room, I was sending most of the light forward and upward from the camera's viewpoint. This was a more efficient use of the flash and still gave soft enough light from my speedlight to be flattering. PLATE 9-17. The final version was created using a white card reflector on the speedlight. (settings 1 300 second, f 5, 200 ISO FEC +3.0 EV) I achieved correct exposure by doing a series of test shots in which I allowed the flashgun to give me maximum...

Controlling the light

Figure 6-1 Who would have thought it's possible to take awesome photos without even lighting the foreground. This photo was taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 50mm f 1.2 lens, 1 60 sec, f 4.5 at ISO 400 in manual mode. Backlighting was created using a Canon 580EXII Speedlite, Canon ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter controlled by a RadioPopper transmitter and receiver. Figure 6-1 was taken with two Canon 580EX II Speedlites, in E-TTL II mode, triggered using the Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2. The foreground light on the model was modified using a Westcott Bruce Dorn Select Asymmetrical Stripbank and the hair light is a bare 580EX II Speedlite with the flash head zoomed to 105mm to focus the light onto the back of her head. The Speedlites were in two different groups to control the light output from each Speedlite independently. The foreground Speedlite was in group B and the hair light was in group A. I wanted a kiss of light from the hair light to create some separation from the...

Simple techniques with a single strobe

Before we get into discussing lighting techniques using a single strobe, I should disclaim that I never travel with less than two Speedlites. The more Speedlites you have at your disposal the greater your creative potential. One of my mantras is always be prepared, and in my experience two Speedlites is the bare minimum that allows me to get the shots that I want. Regardless of whether I'm expecting to simply shoot candids of my family or go on a serious shoot, I always carry at least two Speedlites. Figure 6-2 was lit using a Canon 580EX II flash in E-TTL II mode controlled from camera, triggered using a Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 with RadioPopper PX transmitter attached to the ST-E2 and the receiver attached to the Speedlite. The 580EX II had a full CTO gel (color temperature orange) over the flash head to create a dramatic colorful silhouette in an otherwise uninteresting environment.

Taking the flash offcamera

Figure 6-7 was taken with a Canon 580EX II Speedlite off-camera to the left in E-TTL II mode fired wirelessly using a Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 with RadioPopper transmitter and receiver. Figure 6-8 was taken using a remote slave Canon 580EX II Speedlite triggered with a Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 with RadioPopper transmitter and receiver in E-TTL II mode with + 1 stop of flash exposure compensation. The city lights were actually the lights of Las Vegas, but the location was quite dark, so I had to use a high ISO. Placing the strobe behind the subjects separated them from the background, which effectively draws your eyes to the subject's eyes. Figure 6-8 was taken using a remote slave Canon 580EX II Speedlite triggered with a Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 with RadioPopper transmitter and receiver in E-TTL II mode with + 1 stop of flash exposure compensation. The city lights were actually the lights of Las Vegas, but the location was quite dark, so I had to use a high...

Spectrophotometer sports 113

A flash unit that uses xenon-filled gas bulbs. The name derives from their very brief light-output duration. See also Speedlight and Speedlite. Speedlight. Nikon's trademark for their line of dedicated electronic flash units. Speedlite. Canon's trademark for their line of dedicated electronic flash units.

Controlling multiple flashes

Figure 6-9 was taken with two Canon 580EX II Speedlites ganged together on a light stand with using a Bruce Dorn iDC Triple Threat, which allows you to mount three flash heads together on one light stand. Canon 580EX II Speedlites were in E-TTL II mode controlled from camera using a Canon 580EX II Speedlite as the master, but set to function as just a trigger and not contribute light to the scene and RadioPopper transmitter and receivers to communicate with the remote strobes.

Positioning multiple flashes

Figure 6-10 was taken with six Canon Speedlites. They were 550, 580EX, and 580EX II model flashes. All flashes were set to manual mode at V power, with no flash modifiers, triggered via a Canon 580EX Speedlite set as the master, but not contributing to the scene. All were fired via the optical sensor in the Canon Speedlite, line of sight. This photo is also a great example of a piece of lighting equipment which is often forgotten about in books like this The Voice-Activated Human Light Stand. Five of them are visible -and well dressed Figure 6-11 was taken with three Canon 580EX II Speedlites flash set to E-TTL II mode, with one 580EX II on-camera in group A as the master, but only set as a trigger not contributing any light to the scene. The master flash still fires, but it's a communication flash at such a low light level it does not affect the scene. All of the wireless commands are communicated in that pre-flash. The other two 580EX II Speedlites were in group A for the left flash...

Use a wireless flash trigger both for safety and to expand your lighting options

Some cameras include built-in wireless functionality for their own company's flash units. For example, the Nikon SB-600 and SB-800 Speedlites can be triggered wirelessly by the Nikon D70, D200, D300, and other Nikon DSLRs with no additional equipment w8.15 . Some camera manufacturers sell transmitters that attach to the camera's hot shoe that can fire flash units wirelessly. An example is the Canon ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter for Canon 580EX II, 430EX, and 430EX II Speedlites w8.16 . Like many accessory flash units, the ST-E2 can also improve autofocus in almost any light.

The importance of light modifiers

Figure 6-16 Especially in situations where you have to move around a lot, adding a light modifier to your flash can make a world of difference. This photo was taken with a Canon EOS IDs Mark III, 24-70mm, lens at 27mm, 1 320 sec, f 4 and ISO 200, in Aperture Priority exposure mode. A Canon 580EXII Speedlite in E-TTL II mode with high speed flash sync activated to allow me to cross the native flash sync threshold of 1 250th sec. The flash was shot directly through the Gary Fong Lightsphere with the dome in place to soften and diffuse the light.

Rarely use a diffuser of any kind when I shoot outside

As much as the rest of the book deals with techniques to create soft directional light, when I photograph outdoors and only use my speedlight for fill flash, then I most often shoot with my speedlight straight-on with no diffuser or light modifier. However, there is a section later in this chapter that deals specifically with bounce flash techniques outdoors. However, when I am working outside and only have my on-camera speedlight to help me with less-than-ideal available light (and I have specific limitations, such as not having an assistant to hold a reflector or not having a convenient nearby surface to bounce light off) then I accept the compromise of direct on-camera flash. Since I cannot bounce flash off the clouds although I have seen photographers apparently try that, strangely enough I accept that straight-on flash is all that I have at my disposal at the time. Now, what about those times when flash isn't merely delicate fill light As we've seen, using the speedlight for a...

Dealing with mixed light sources

Figure 6-17 was taken with a Canon 580EX II flash set to E-TTL II mode high speed sync was active with a Gary Fong Lightsphere, triggered via a Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 with RadioPopper transmitter and receiver. Notice the near umbrella quality of light outside on the street. I increased the shutter speed to underexpose the ambient light to create the dark look of the image. Figure 6-18 was taken with a Canon 580EX II Speedlite flash set to E-TTLII mode, with a Gary Fong Lightsphere, triggered via a Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 with RadioPopper transmitter and receiver. The couple is backlit using one Speedlite to separate them from the cityscape background and at f 2.8. I only needed a kiss of light to make this image sing. Figure 6-18 was taken with a Canon 580EX II Speedlite flash set to E-TTLII mode, with a Gary Fong Lightsphere, triggered via a Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 with RadioPopper transmitter and receiver. The couple is backlit using one Speedlite to...

Make the backgrounds work for you

Figure 6-22 was taken with a Canon 580EX II Speedlite flash set to E-TTL II mode, with no flash modifier, triggered via a Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2. Notice the long shadows produced by placing the flash low and aiming up at the subject creating those dramatic long shadows. Figures 6-23 and 6-24 were taken with one Canon 580EX II Speedlite as the master. One Quantum Qflash T5d-R flash with QNexus module triggered via the Speedlite master with RadioPopper transmitter and receivers. The light was bounced into Westcott 43 inch Optical White Satin with Removable Black Cover-Collapsible Umbrella. Figure 6-25 was taken with three Canon 580EX II Speedlites flash set to manual mode, in three different groups. The bare flash without a gel is in group A. The flash with the full CTO gel is in group B. The flash with the green gel is in group C. I adjusted the power levels to bring out the best color in each gel, triggered via Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 with RadioPopper transmitter...

Few Words About External Flash

Many professional photographers use an external flash, or Speedlite, in their photography when they need an additional and portable light source (Figure 7.10). Speedlites are extremely sophisticated for their size and can produce an amazing quality of light with customizable settings. You can place them almost anywhere in the scene to light a subject. This image was photographed using two off-camera radio-triggered Speedlites. This image was photographed using two off-camera radio-triggered Speedlites. One new feature on the Canon 7D is its ability to wirelessly fire any of the Canon Speedlites by using the pop-up flash as a trigger. This powerful feature opens up a lot of photographic opportunities when it comes to using off-camera flash. I won't go into the details of how to use this feature (or any other off-camera flash There are a lot of different ways to set up and use the wireless flash settings on your Canon 7D. If you are interested in learning more about this feature, I...

Off Camera Wireless TTL Flash

As much as an on-camera speedlight will give us speed and flexibility if used with some thought, there is only so much you can do when your speedlight is mounted on your camera. Even though you can bounce light off all kinds of surfaces, sometimes to a surprising degree of effectiveness, it opens a whole new world when you move your lighting off the camera. Off-camera lighting falls beyond the scope of this book, but I would like to briefly touch on the topic here as an indication of the possibilities this technique offers. Controlling an off-camera wireless flash can be done via a few methods. These include using another speedlight as the master to control a second, slaved speedlight or using a dedicated control unit, such as the Canon ST-E2 or Nikon SU-800 or using the Radio Poppers. Specific details on how to set them up will depend on the particular unit check the owners's manual for details. To create plate 15-1, I had my assistant hold a slaved speedlight up high to my right....

Off Camera Manual Flash

Taking off-camera lighting a step further, my light on the couple in plate 161 was from two speedlights, each in a softbox mounted on a monopod. My assistant held both monopods, pointing one at each subject in the image. The original exposure was based on the sky, and then the flash was added and balanced with the ambient exposure of the sky to create this dramatic effect. This kind of lighting effect is hard to achieve without taking the speedlight completely off-camera and allowing you as the photographer, the freedom to move independently from the light source. PLATE 16-1. Two speedlights were placed in softboxes mounted on monopods and held by an assistant, who pointed them toward the subjects. (settings V250 second, f 5, 100 ISO)

Some flash modifiers also offer a solution for warming up your flash

Tungsten Light With Different Gels

The color temperature of the speedlight is around 5400K. While the actual number value might have little meaning to many photographers, it does mean that light from a flashgun will look a lot cooler than the tungsten incandescent light does. That warm glow of tungsten light, which is around 2800K but varies a lot in actual value, makes the flash appear too cold, or too blue. However, if you simply adjust your white balance so that the flash appears neutral, your background will go a murky orange. In the church seen in plate 11 -2, there were numerous spotlights on the stage lighting the bridal party and minister. The couple, however, was in an area that was more shaded than the stage, so I had to use flash to light them. I used the tungsten filter that comes with the Nikon SB-800 speedlight for this. The filter brought the flash's color balance close to that of the ambient tungsten light, giving a more uniform color balance to the image. I also used the Nikon flash diffuser that comes...

Straightforward and efficient

Bruce Dorn has come up with a remote softbox that he uses on location called the Strobe Slipper (available from his website As you can see from the setup shot, the Photoflex softbox is small and maneuverable and uses a Canon (or Nikon) speedlight mounted to a stainless steel plate, which also holds a Pocket Wizard receiver. The transmitter is mounted in the hot shoe of Dorn's Canon EOS DSLR. Bruce Dorn has come up with a remote softbox that he uses on location called the Strobe Slipper (available from his website As you can see from the setup shot, the Photoflex softbox is small and maneuverable and uses a Canon (or Nikon) speedlight mounted to a stainless steel plate, which also holds a Pocket Wizard receiver. The transmitter is mounted in the hot shoe of Dorn's Canon EOS DSLR.

Controlling Light Falloff

Light falloff, which is how we describe the way that the light from your speedlight recedes to the background, is easily observed in photographs. We've all seen how people in the foreground are brighter than people in the background. Right there we come to the crucial realization again unless we are using direct flash (which should be avoided), we should not think of our light source as the speedlight itself but rather the area where the light is bounced from. Let's look at some examples.

My Choice of Flash Modifiers

Using any of the myriad flash modifiers on the market today will help in achieving that softer light. These modifiers spread the light from the on-cam-era speedlight much wider than it would otherwise be, making it much softer light than direct flash would be. However and this is a big however these flash modifiers also throw light forward. This creates lighting that is not only soft, it's flat. I much prefer soft, directional lighting. For the photo of the ring-bearer, I also gelled the flash to bring the color balance from the flash close to that of the available (tungsten) light. This helped bring the cold light of the flash closer to the warm tones of the tungsten light. I simply stuck a piece of gel over the head of my Speedlight with some gaffer's tape. It is low-tech, but it works. The black half-snoot that I add to my speedlight is just as simple. It's a piece of thin black foam bought from an arts store, then cut to size. I keep the piece of black foam fastened to my...

TTL Flash Flash Anatomy and Features

Speedlight Components My wife and I attended this shower as guests. I brought the camera. The opening of gifts brought much excitement. The existing light has been underexposed, making my flash more visible and predominant in the picture. The window itself was allowed to burn out. It was more important to show the atmosphere of the room than hold details outside. I am crouched at the feet of the couple, getting an unusual perspective. People are hovering about, taking pictures, giving presents, clapping, and joking. The little girl is lost in her own thoughts, tired from running and the activity swirling around her. A slow shutter speed, Second Curtain Synchronization, and slight camera movement captures the blur of it all. My flash freezes some of the movement as definitive composition and gesture. The Speedlite is bounced up into the wall to my left. My wife commented it all looks like the little girl's dream. I'm a newspaper photographer, so I always carry a flash, but use it only...

Continued From Pace

Less than Canon's 580EXII Speedlite, yet throws a stop more light. That weight doesn't include the Quadra's larger, external battery, but this weighs less than most, thanks to its plastic housing. Which is convenient, if not confidence-inspiring. PROGRAMMABLE CONTROLS. You can set the optical slave to ignore speedlight preflashes, among other options. The LED programming screens, however, are inscrutable keep the manual on hand to understand them.

Traveling at Lightspeed

We mulled over the cover for my book, Speedlights & Speedlites Creative Flash Photography at the Speed of Light for quite a while and rejected a lot of ideas. A en, by accident I struck upon the idea to feature the Speedlight in the photograph. Four Speedlights in three groups doing separate jobs were used. A ey light her face and hair with daylight and add the comet-like background light, emphasizing the blue color but keeping it off her face. A e trick was timing. It was important to know when to have Leah initiate the stroboscopic Speedlight in her hand for each exposure.

Using an External Flash

For better flash photography you need a hot-shoe mounted Canon EX-series Speedlite such as the 550EX, 420EX, 220EX, MR-14EX, MT-24EX, or ST-E2. Any of these can be mounted on the cameras hot shoe or attached by a sync cord for off-camera use. When using these flash units, the camera controls the exposure just as it does with the built-in flash. (You can't use both the built-in and external flash at the same time so close the built-in flash when you attach the external one.) One of the biggest advantages of these units is that they let you swivel or rotate the flash head so you can bounce light off walls and ceilings. This lets you get softer light on the subject so contrast is reduced and hard shadows are minimized. Let's take a look at some of the features you'll have access to on EX flash units. All of these features are available with the 550EX, but not all are available on other units. When using an external Speedlight, it may emit an AF-assist beam so the camera can focus in the...

Carefully Light the Background

For this portrait of Miss Cuba 2009, Jamillette Gaxiola, I used a Ray Flash ring light on my Canon Speedlite 580EXII for the main light it was mounted in the camera's hot-shoe. To light the background, I used two Canon Speedlite 580EX (set at 1 8 power) with red Honl gels and gobos to direct the color light to the background and to block light from the model.

Hot Light

NIKONIANS who long for the highend features of the SB-900 flagship flash but balk at its 460 street price have a new option the SB-700 Speedlight. It delivers many SB-900 features, but costs 130 less. Like its big brother, it can wire-lessly control other, off-camera Speedlights, offers multiple lightdistribution patterns, and automatically recognizes FX and DX bodies Nikon SB-700 Speedlight 330, street

Your Best Shot

We always advise shooting early in the morning, but as the day gets later, flash is your friend. That's what helped Queens College Network Service Director MORRIS ALTMAN, 53, of Flushing, NY, avoid harsh late-morning shadows when he captured this well-cropped photo of a great egret at the Oceanside Marine Nature Study Area. I stopped down one click from my guess and had the exposure correct. TECH INFO Nikon D70S with 80-400mm f 4.5-5.6D Zoom-Nikkor ED VR lens, and Nikon SB-800 Speedlight with a Better Beamer. Exposure, 1 500 sec at f 11, ISO 200. Minor levels and sharpening adjustments made in Adobe Photoshop CS2.

War Stories Church

I was selected to do much of the action photography for the 125th anniversary commemorative book of historical Trinity Church in Boston. The enormous, dark wood edifice soaked up dozens of rented 2400 and 5000 watt second strobe units. The place was a light sink. I could not pump enough power into the cathedral. But when confronted with an intimate setup at the baptismal font, I relied on the inherently faster flash duration of a Speedlight to freeze the pouring of holy water. We were doing full lengths with the scarf and Tanzi started wrapping it over her head. In a moment of inspiration, I grabbed the slave Speedlite, mounted in a 12 X 16 softbox, softbox bracket,and stand adapter the complete assembly right off the light stand and balanced the whole thing handheld on the top of my head. Holding the camera in my right hand and the Speedlite assembly on my head with my left, I moved in for close-ups. The stand adapter served as a convenient and comfortable handle for the slave...

White balance

Figure 2-7 was taken with one off-camera Canon 580 EX II flash set to E-TTL II mode, high speed flash sync, with a full CTO filter over the flash to warm the flash like a late afternoon sunset, no light modifier just bare flash, the flash head was manually zoomed to 70mm to create a natural vignette, triggered using a Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 with RadioPopper transmitter and receiver. Figure 2-8 Mixing light sources creates beautiful effects. Four off-camera strobes were used to accomplish this gorgeous shot. A Canon 580EX II inside the cockpit of the airplane in group C, E-TTL II mode, triggered via RadioPopper two Quantum Q flashes in group B, E-TTL mode, triggered via RadioPopper and one Canon 580EX II Speedlite up high and to left of the model in group A, E-TTL II mode. All the flashes were triggered with a Canon 580EX II Speedlite on-camera set as the master flash. The Speedlite only acted as a trigger and did not contribute light to the scene. Note the ball in the...

The Bottom Line

As happens on many of our comparison tests, our ideal camera would combine elements of all three cameras. We'd take the resolution, low noise, and SLR handling of the Fuji S9000 the build quality, system flash options, and great color of the Nikon 8800 and the supertele reach, bright lens, and image stabilization of the Panasonic FZ30. But this is the real world, and we can't custom-assemble a camera. Our testing editors came to prefer the Fuji S9000, primarily for its feel and image quality, although lack of optical image stabilization and its oddly sludgy autofocusing keeps it from being the killer camera in this category. The Nikon Coolpix 8800, with its Vibration Reduction and Nikon Speedlight compatibility, must rank as the best all-around performer. The Panasonic FZ30 what can we say If Panasonic figures out the noise equation, it could blow the other two cameras into the weeds. In short, all three are sharp shooters with plenty of image controls but all three could use some...

Battery Packs

A significant advantage of the smaller battery packs by Nikon and Canon is that they won't damage your speedlight when you rapidly fire your flash a high-capacity battery pack might. It is possible to overheat your flashgun by rapid firing and even to damage the front element and electronics from the intense heat. The Nikon and Canon battery packs will not allow you to fire your flash rapidly enough to create that amount of heat.


Canon's 580EX II Speedlite and Nikon's SB-800 Speedlight, shown here, both include stroboscopic flash modes. (Nikon calls it Repeating or RPT flash.) The Canon provides up to 200 pops per second the Nikon, 100. NO PLAIN PLANE Lars Hagberg made this image with a Canon EOS 20D, 16-35mm f 2.8 Canon zoom, and 580EX Speedlite. His exposure f 14 at 1 3 sec, ISO 100, with a 30Hz flash frequency.

The golden hour

Figure 2-13 A classic shot taken with my classic set up a great lens with a Gary Fong Light-sphere on a Speedlite. This photo was taken with a Canon EOS IDs Mark III, 85mm prime lens, 1 40 sec, f 3.5 and ISO 1000, in Manual mode. One on-camera Speed-lite was enhanced with a Gary Fong Lightsphere.

Canon 430exii

Canon's top-of-the-range E-TTLII dedicated flashgun is the Speedlite 580 EX II ( 400). It has a guide number (GN) of 58 and features high-speed sync and wireless capability. It's also dust and water resistant. At the other end of the scale is the little 220 EX ( 150) with a guide number of 22. It's a bit limited though, and if you can stretch to it the middle model, the430EX II pictured here, offers probably the best balance between price and specs, with a GN of 43 and a host of features.

The Gear

Canon 580EX II Speedlite shoe-mount flash ( 445, street) Canon 580EX II Speedlite shoe-mount flash ( 445, street) Finally, to render his active subject as sharply as possible, Taylor set the Speedlites to low manual-power settings (1 32 power) for extremely short flashes of about 1 20,000 sec. The shorter your flash duration, the sharper your moving subject, Taylor says. For shots

How to measure light

Figure 3-5 was taken with a, Canon EOS ID Mark III, 24-70mm lens at 28mm, 1 80 sec, f 4 and ISO 640, in Manual exposure m ode. The picture was taken with one off-camera Canon 580EX II backlighting the couple to create separation from the background., bare flash, no modifier, flash set to E-TTL II mode, triggered, via. Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 with RadioPopper transmitter and. receiver.

ITTL Flash Control

I-TTL Balanced Fill-Flash for Digital SLR is selected automatically in all modes except mode M or when spot metering is selected in modes P, S, and A. Speedlight emits series of nearly invisible preflashes (monitor preflashes) immediately before main flash. Preflashes reflected from objects in all areas of frame are picked up by 1,005-pixel RGB sensor and are analyzed in combination with information from matrix metering system to adjust flash output for natural balance between main subject and ambient background lighting. If type G or D lens is used, distance information is included when calculating flash output. When a non-CPU lens is attached, the built-in Speedlight can only be used when Manual is selected for Custom Setting 19 (Flash mode S3 150). If TTL selected, the shutter release will be disabled when the built-in Speedlight is raised. The flash-ready indicator ( ) in the viewfinder and the icon and borders of the flash sync mode indicator in the control panel will blink....

File formats

Figure 3-10 Getting good photos is all about getting motion and. a feel of 'being there'. If that means getting on your knees to get a cool angle, then so be it. A suit can be cleaned, but a, great photo lasts forever. This photo was taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 16-35mm lens at 25mm, 1 30 sec, f 3.2 and ISO 1250, in Manual mode. One on-camera Speedlite was used for fill using rear curtain sync to capture the glow of the sparklers.

Tabletop Lighting

This elaborate kitchen showroom image was done on location by Chris LaLonde using seven Nikon SB-80 DX Speedlights positioned throughout the scene. A Kodak SLRn with a 28-80mm Nikon lens was used and the camera had a Nikon SB-28 Speedlight mounted to the camera hot-shoe to trigger the remote strobes. The main light was from fluorescents overhead. In order to color-correct the strobes, each SB-80 DX used .30 units of green filtration. LaLonde also used Rosco CineFoil around the flash head to shape the light. CineFoil is matte-black aluminum foil that can be molded into any shape and acts like a sculpted gobo to selectively block light. The final image was exposed at V8 second at f 11 in RAW mode at ISO 160.

P Auto Multi Program

In mode P, different combinations of shutter speed and aperture can be selected by rotating the main command dial (flexible program). All combinations produce the same exposure. While flexible program is in effect, a E3 icon appears in the control panel. To restore the default shutter speed and aperture, rotate the main command dial until the EJ icon is no longer displayed. Defaults can also be restored by turning the camera off, rotating the mode dial, raising or lowering the built-in Speedlight, performing a two-button reset ( 111), or choosing another setting for Custom Setting 9 (EV step gj 144).

Afassist beams

In dim light if the built in flash is popped up or an attached Speedlight is on (page 102), it will fire a burst of flashes to illuminate the subject and assist focusing. This happens in all exposure modes other than Landscape, Sports, and Flash Off. The range of the built-in flash's AF-assist beam is effective up to about 13 feet (4m). If the camera can't focus with an external Speedlite's AF-assist beam, select the center AF point because it may not be able to focus using an off-center AF point.

Add Some Imagination

For this photograph, a standard white fabric was used for the background, and I used my Canon EOS 5D with a Tamron 28-75mm Di lens set at a 70mm focal length. A Canon 580EXll Speedlite was mounted on a small stand and fitted with a red Honl ( gel and a 40-degree Honl grid. A is setup was hidden behind the model and fired at the backdrop at 1 8 power to create the red halo. FYI Honl gels and gobos are a part of the Honl Speed System of light modifiers for use with shoe-mount flashes. My Canon Speedlite 580EXll provided the primary (main) light in E-TTL mode. A is main light was diffused and shaped by the RayFlash ( ring-light adapter mounted on a 580EXll Speedlite.

Camera modes

Manual mode (M) lets you control all aspects of your photo shoot yourself, and is your best option in complicated lighting situations. It gives the processors in your camera a vacation, and gives the big gray microprocessor between your ears a chance of a proper work-out. In manual mode, you select everything yourself. ISO, aperture, and shutter speed on the camera. For even more control, you can also manually set the flash output on the Speedlite perfect for complicated lighting situations which might leave your camera (and strobes) confused - like Figure 5-2 Figure 5-2 was taken with a Canon 580EX II flash set to E-TTL II mode, bare flash with no light modifier, triggered via a Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 with RadioPopper transmitter and receiver. The flash was placed low behind the couple to rim light them and separate them from the background.

War Stories Mansion

While teaching a workshop in Newport, Rhode Island, we gained entry to one of the magnificent, famous mansions. We moved about the tailored gardens and shot with the ornate architecture as a background. But eventually we ended up in the cavernous ballroom. The opulence was so overwhelming that I wanted to do something befitting the setting. With the help of a dozen participants we moved tons of priceless furniture and props around. I had the workshop students push a grand piano into the corner. The stylist made up and dressed two models in period costumes. I showed everyone how to use the different sections of the football field-sized room. As a final effort, because I wanted to show off the entire space, I placed one model near the piano lit by the sunlight streaming through the floor-to-ceiling windows and the other model in the much darker interior. With one Speedlight inserted into a medium softbox, I was quickly able to balance the two light sources before we had to pack up and...

Flash Commander

The latest development in electronic flash is Nikon's SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander. This device enables you to wirelessly coordinate the independent operation of two groups of Nikon Speedlights in close-up mode, or three groups (A, B, C) ofcompat-ible Speedlights in commander mode. In either mode, the commander manages flash output with exceptional precision, automatically delivering the light level dictated by the camera's metering systems and supporting automatic balanced fill-flash with compatible cameras. Further, the Nikon D200 features a built-in flash commander that allows the on-board flash to control the output of two groups of flash units remotely to a distance of66 feet. In use, the Flash Commander is remarkable because you can easily control the output and ratio between flashes and verify the results on the camera's LCD. With an assistant or attendee helping you, you can light scenes with multiple flash wirelessly and easily control the output ofeach flash so that...


Figure 5-7 was taken with one Canon 580EX Speedlite in E-TTL mode, held high to camera right by a Voice Activated Human Light stand, in other words the person who was available to hold the flash for me. The flash head was manually zoomed to 105mm to vignette beam of light emitting from the flash. No light modifiers were used. The flash was triggered via the Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2.

Bounce Flash

Our objective when using flash, even from an on-camera speedlight, is to make the light from the flash appear as natural as possible or at the very least, not to make it obvious that flash was used. Ideally, we will seamlessly blend it with the available light. While that may not always be possible, it should always be what we are striving for. In using flash wisely, we are primarily concerned with the direction of the light from our flash, followed closely by the amount of flash in relation to our ambient light, and the color from our flash in relation to the ambient light.

Fast Shots

I built a Schmitt Photogate-Delay Unit kit purchased from ( 18, direct), and recently I used it to photograph falling drops of water. To do so, I set my Canon Speedlite 430EX flash unit in manual mode at 1 64, My camera was set for a 15-sec exposure in a dark room. During that 15 seconds, I dripped water through the triggering device, which set off the flash, resulting in what is effectively a 1 30,000-sec exposure.

Avoid Flash Shadow

The amount of flash we use can vary from subtle fill flash to control contrast all the way up to an output sufficient to overpower the ambient light. The trick here is to avoid all signs of a discernable flash shadow. A distinct hard flash shadow is a dead giveaway that we used flash it looks very unnatural. This is a very important point that I would like to stress. Even though an on-camera speedlight was used for all the images in the book, there is no discernable flash shadow to be seen in any of them. (I also want to point out that the images in this book had very little Photoshop fairy dust sprinkled on them. The intention here was to show how good the images can look simply through skillful use of flash.)

Fill flash

In Figure 6-6, I was photographing straight into the sunlight, which demands some funky lighting. The camera was mounted to my bike using a Bogen Manfrotto Super Clamp and variable friction magic arm with camera bracket. The camera was fired using a hard-wired Pocket Wizard, the on-camera Canon 580EX II Speedlite was the master in group A, wirelessly firing the remote slave Speedlite in group B. I used RadioPoppers to communicate between master and slave Speedlites. Group A Speedlite being the main and group B Speedlite being the fill on the side. I used shutter priority mode on camera in Figure 6-6 so I could control the shutter speed. I wanted to create the feeling motion and speed, so I chose a slow shutter speed. The flash froze the action on me in the foreground and adding enough fill flash to bring out the details in my face while being back-lit by the sun. The Speedlites were in E-TTL II mode, allowing the camera and Speedlite to do the heavy lifting at calculating proper flash...

Highspeed Syncing

The FP (Flash Pulse) mode of Canon's top-of-t he-line Speedlite 580EX II ( 500. street) will sync its mini blasts up to your 5Ds fastest shutter speed of 1 8000 sec. The faster the shutter, however, the fewer flash pulses will reach your subject, and the closer the flash must be to haw an impact. For typical daylight portraits made with, say, a 105mm focal length at about 8 or 10 feetf be prepared to mow the 580EX off-camera to get it close enough to the subject with shutter speeds of 1 500 sec or faster or raise the ISO.

Using Multiple Flash

The first question you might have is how do you fire two flashes simultaneously in a multiple flash setup We commonly use five flashes at once (and sometimes seven) for advanced high-speed hummingbird photography. There are a few prevalent ways to do this and all work well. Multiple Canon flashes for example can be fired at the same time by putting the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 in the hot shoe of the camera. By setting all of the Canon 580 EX flash units

Aoq Qama

I recently bought a Nikon Coolpix 8800 and a Nikon SB-800 AF Speedlight. This camera does not have Nikon's wireless flash capability, so I must use a connecting cord for offcamera flash. I'd like to add a second and possibly a third off-camera flash, probably using Nikon SB-600 units. How do I set this up Can the camera control more than one off-camera flash in TTL mode The Nikon SC-28 TTL Off-Camera Shoe Cord lets you use your SB-800 off camera with full automation. You can connect additional SB-800 units directly to the first Speedlight with the TTL Sync Cord SC-26 (5 feet) or SC-27 (10 feet). To connect an SB-600 AF Speedlight (which doesn't have a built-in cord connector) you'll also need a Nikon AS-10 TTL Multi-Flash Adapter. Any of these setups will give you TTL flash automation. According to Nikon, you can use up to five Speedlights this way, but are limited to a total connector cable length of 33 feet.

Painting with light

I placed a Nikon D300 on a tripod and set the camera to a 30sec exposure at f 8, with a sensitivity of ISO 400. Then, using a Nikon SB-800 Speedlight (attached to a Quantum Turbo 2x2 battery pack for fast recharging) and an SB-600 Speedlight, I went around the scene lighting the subject in the foreground and the trees in the background.

Traveling Light

Huge batteries, lighting setups, or endless extension cords. Working with Speedlites makes your luggage lighter and smaller, but there are always opportunities for travelling lighter still. I keep my small lighting kit in a tripod sling bag. Its contents are two Bogen Nano 001B (or 5001B) 6' Retractable Light Stands and two Manfrotto Swivel Umbrella Adapters with cold shoes. Alternatively, you could use the flash shoe that comes with your Canon or Nikon Speedlite with a W nut in the bottom allowing it to be mounted on an umbrella adapter, a tripod, or light stand. In addition, I bring with me a 43 collapsible optical white satin umbrella with removable black cover and a couple of Gary Fong Lightspheres. Of course, I need some flashes, so I bring along two Canon 580EX II Speedlites, and a Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 wireless transmitter. Invisible, but safely tucked into the bag, is a Manfrotto Spring Grip Clamp with attached flash shoe (often referred to as a Bogen 175F Justin...

A fast tens or not

As you discover in Chapter 6, a lens with a large maximum aperture (generally, anything faster than f2.8) is a must only if you're hand-holding (that is, shooting without a tripod) your night photos or, perhaps if you want to shoot with flash and need your speedlight's illumination to reach as far as possible. An f2 or f1.4 lens might let you take some night pictures at > 30 of a second hand-held or, with image stabilization (which I discuss in the next section), at slightly slower shutter speeds.

High Speed Flash Sync

Fortunately, this flash-sync problem is nearly impossible to get with a modern dedicated speedlight. The intelligence built into the camera and flashgun system doesn't allow this to happen. When the camera detects the dedicated speedlight, the camera will either stop the shutter speed from going higher than maximum flash-sync speed, or will switch to high-speed flash-sync. In this mode, instead of a near-instantaneous burst of light, the flashgun emits a slower, pulsed light. The light from the flash is now, effectively, continuous light. There is a downside, though. Changing the flashgun's mode also dissipates the light, transforming it from a fast, high-energy pulse to a lower-energy continuous one. This means we lose range with our speedlights. Since our flash is putting out less power, we need to be closer to our subjects.


SRCB, Adobe RGB Auto, Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, UserDefined 1,2,3. Shoot by ambience selection, Shoot by lighting or Scene type Sharpness 7 levels Contrast Saturation I Color Tone -4 to +4, B& W filters, B& W tones Highlight Tone Priority, Auto Lighting Optimizer, Longexp. NR, High ISO NR, Peripheral illumination correction, Basic +, Creative filters. Single, Continuous (3.7fps up to 34 L FJPEG 6 RAW) Self-timer, Self-timer continuous Available through Custom Functions 3-inch LCD 1,040,000 dots Vari-angle, 7 brightness levels Auto pop-up, GN 13m, Integrated speedlite transmitter wireless multi flash support X-sync up to 1 200 sec. + -2EV in 0.3 or 0.5 EV steps E-TTLII auto flash with EX-series Speedlites SD SDHC SDXC card LP-E8 Li-ion batter ACK-E8 AC adapter (optional) Yes, BG-E8