Monday, March 30, 2009

Fast, like fireworks.

Just a quick hit after being out of town for spring break. Took the child to Disney in Orlando. If you haven't and you can, you should. Took lots of pictures in the 'snapshot' category. Love that cheap 18-55mm lens. Not fancy, but works great. 

At Disney World they have fireworks every night at 9pm. So if your shots didn't come out one night, you just wait for the next. I used a 50mm/1.8 for most of these and a Gorilla Pod to secure the camera to a chair in the absence of a tripod. Exposure time of about 2 seconds seemed to work pretty well.

These are a few of the good ones.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Generic Post

For a guy doing a photography blog, I seem to have a hard time taking pictures right now- so this post will be about gear. For the 'non-gear' thinking this week, see David duChemin's blog of the last few days (todays post was freakin' hilarious!)On to gear. I just received a set of iShoot PT-04 CN radio triggers. $55 on eBay for a transmitter and three receivers. This is the type of radio trigger often refereed to as "Poverty Wizards", as opposed to Pocket Wizards, which are the industry standard for pros. Of course a similar set of PW's would cost about $900.

Messing around with self-portraits in my basement, all the triggers worked great. I had a few unplanned triggers of flashes, but no failures. I haven't tested the maximum range, but they worked fine through a wall, and from over 30 feet.

The flash triggers synch up to 1/250, which is as advertised.
 Interestingly, when I was using the YN-128 as a remote trigger for the camera, I could only get 1/125 as a synch speed. If I used the YN-128 as an electronic, but not radio trigger, I got 1/1250 again. But for a total of $76.98 it is a pretty good outfit and has definitely increased my options.

Included below is one bad self portrait. Taken using all the gear mentioned above (the remote is really nice to have). 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Messin' Around

My friend Cory and I spent the afternoon in his office building (shhhhhh...don't tell), playing with lighting setups. Way too much fun. Here are a few of the highlights.

That is a gaffer tape base holding up the Buddah. Love that tape! Used an SB-50 to blow out the wall behind. I am starting to appreciate a small flash with built in slave, even if it only fires at full power. We used it a bunch to turn white walls into high key backgrounds. I will keep that in mind for the future. I did have to remove a security device from the background in Aperture.

SB-25 camera right with umbrella, and a reflector panel camera left, just out of frame from the statue.

Cory mugging for the camera here.  I included this one without cropping so you can see the effect of SB-50 in the back lighting up the wall. Natural light through a blind from the left- SB-25 with umbrella to the right.

Your's truly. Same set up as above. Just cropped close in to get that high key effect. I really like how the white background just disappears when you blow it out. 

All these were shot with a 50mm f1.8. Love that lens. If I had to have only one- that would be it. Used a PC cable to connect the SB-25 on a light stand. SB-50 on slave mode. Poverty wizards on the way- hopefully arrive this week!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Gotta get a picture up!

In the little picture taking time I had this weekend I was mostly messing around in my office with some new gear. I took the following shot with a Nikon SB-25 mounted on a stand with a shoot-through umbrella camera right, connected to the camera with a PC cable.  To the left was a Nikon SB-50dx with home made softbox and a diffuser panel (the SB-50 only fires at full power in slave mode, so I needed to extra panel to get the light down to a reasonable level. The SB-50 in slave was triggering off the 25's flash. 

Worked pretty well. I got bored with just the pen and ink, so I wrote my name. Quill pens are totally impractical for actual use, but they sure do make your writing look purty. This is the best of the bunch.

I really liked using the 2 light set up. I can't wait for my 'poverty wizards' to arrive from China so I can run all my flashes in radio slave mode (I have an SB-600 as well, but the PC connection doesn't work if you use the pop-up flash as the commander on a D300, so to get two flashes I had to break out the totally obsolete SB-50). I just got the SB-25, BTW, and I love it. 
Very powerful.

Well, at least I got a post up. I have a portrait package in a fundraising auction this week- hopefully it will generate some new photo ops!