flash light question

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by puyjapin, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. puyjapin

    puyjapin TPF Noob!

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    bought some old bowens lights with flash and model lamp...i know nothing about them or how to set them up....am i correct thinking that portraits with a sort of moody shadow feel are done with the model lamp only and no flash. all i seem to end up with is a brightly lit photo with even light
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    No.

    The modeling lights are only for you to visualize where the light will fall (and to see what you are doing, if the studio is otherwise dark). Modeling lamps are typically not used for photos at all. (although, you could used them...it's just that most modeling lamps aren't very bright).

    As for 'moody shadows feel'...that has nothing to do with whether you are using flash/strobe or lamps. That has everything to do with your exposure...which is controlled with the power setting on the strobe and your lens aperture.

    How are you metering?

    You need to have the camera in manual mode when shooting with studio strobes. The shutter speed won't affect the strobe exposure, just keep it under the max sync speed of your camera. You use the aperture (and ISO) to control the exposure, along with the power setting and position of the strobe.
     
  3. puyjapin

    puyjapin TPF Noob!

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    im in manual mode and i leave it at about 1/60th. as you said this makes no difference. i am leaving iso to a minimum and just adjusting aperture. it seems when i look at the lights i bought i can adjust the settings in 4 positions, each time altering the brightness of the model lamp...is this also adjusting flash power??
    also the problem i have is that i am having to use my cameras flash to trigger the main one, trying to keep my hand over it so it doesnt fall on subject. i am waiting for delivery of a trigger still. also i can only improvise with a diffuser as i am awaitng the translucent umbrellas.
    it doesnt seem to matter what setting i use the photo is brightly lit all over. bearing in mind i have a very small space to work in as well.
    would you reccomend getting softbox or reflective umbrellas or stay with the diffusers for now?
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Not being intimately familiar with the Bowens monoblocs you bought, I am going to guess that adjusting the modeling light brightness is adjusting the flash output power up or downward, in sync with the modeling light brightness. This is called "tracking" modeling light behavior; it "tracks" the flash power. On some systems there is a switch that allows tracking to be disabled, so that even at minimum flash power, the modeling light level is still maximum.

    You could perform a simple test to determine if the modeling light and flash power are linked together. Some systems call that "proportional" modeling light power instead of tracking--but it is the same thing.

    You might find this page of interest in terms of seeing how light placement works Foundations of Lighting Placement

    Main light at 7 or 5 o'clcock and above a subjects's head height, aimed down toward their nose, so the shadow falls above their top lip and a bit off to the side is a "basic" portrait starting position. Fill light is placed close to the camera lens for "on-axis" fill lighting. Very basic guidelines. I would not worry too much about the on-camera flash used to trip the monoblocs's slaves...it will have minimal effect if the flash is set to 1/16 or 1/8 manual power level. Flash needs to be in a Manual setting to eliminate pre-flash used in TTL-AUTO type flash metering modes. Build a flash diverter out of aluminum foil if you wish to shunt the flash off toward one of the mono's.
    Best of luck!
     
  5. puyjapin

    puyjapin TPF Noob!

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    thanks. on the back of the monolite there are 3 switches and a dial
    switch 1 is clearly marked for the flash light
    switch 2 has a picture of model lamp with horizontal lines on it
    switch 3 has a picture of model lamp

    could someone explain this?

    the dial clearly is for different power levels

    the other thing i am thinking is that i have ordered a radio trigger with 1 receiver and intend to use a photo cell sensor on the 2nd light to trip the flash. is this going to cause a problem in terms of a delay between the 2 flashes or is it not really measurable?
    am i best initially to stay with the diffuser umbrellas or try and find a softbox to fit?
    thannks
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    My guess:
    Switch one is the flash on/off
    Two is modeling lamp tracking on/off
    Three is modeling lame on/off


    Shouldn't be a problem, the delay is usually minuscule. Might be a problem if you're shooting at 1/500 or something like that, but at 1/60 you should be fine.

    Do your lights have a built-in optical trigger? Most modern moonlight strobes do. If then don't, then a simple peanut slave trigger will do it.
     
  7. puyjapin

    puyjapin TPF Noob!

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    they are very old, im guessing 60/70s . i was told a synch cable can in some cases damage the camera, hence ive bought a radio trigger, which is in fact a battery one due to the fact that the power cable fitting is so old in the back of the light that it is not like the standard equipment

    and wot on earth is a peanut slave?
     
  8. puyjapin

    puyjapin TPF Noob!

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    1975 in fact...
     
  9. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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  10. puyjapin

    puyjapin TPF Noob!

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    yes that is what i have, currentlt triggered by cameras flash (not ideal)
     
  11. puyjapin

    puyjapin TPF Noob!

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    anyone suggest a good book for good studio ideas?
     
  12. puyjapin

    puyjapin TPF Noob!

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    after having a closer look i believe the 2nd switch may actualy be so that when the flash triggers the model lamp goes of for a moment. i also believe that the flash changes in intensity along with monolight. still seems that whatever i do i am getting a phot that is evenly lit with no real shadows/ highlights. perhaps it is because i am using a diffuser hand held in front of it from a 5 way reflector...
     

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