High Speed Fill Flash?!?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Coyote Grafix, Aug 2, 2007.

  1. Coyote Grafix

    Coyote Grafix TPF Noob!

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    A couple of weeks ago I took some photos at one of the local rallies, but due to the position I had to take, I ended up shooting towards the sun. As a result, my shots ended up as per the example below.

    [​IMG]

    As I was shooting in RAW format, I was able to post-process the image enough such that the foreground was brighter.

    [​IMG]

    What I'm interested in knowing is if I can use a flash in this situation so that I can expose for the background and get some great contrast in the clouds, but still expose the car properly such that it is vivid and really stands out?

    My biggest concern is if the recycle time of the flash (for example SB-600/800) is going to be fast enough that I can still take a rapid series of shots (in this example 3 shots at 1/1000 within a second or two - they were travelling at about 200km/hr over the jump).

    Other than moving to the other side of the road so that I wasn't shooting into the sun (not really an option in this case), are there any other methods I could have used?
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Most cameras have a maximum shutter speed at which they can be used with flash. Typically, it's something in the neighborhood of 1/200. If you used flash with a faster speed, the shutter may not be fully open when the flash fires and you will get uneven illumination.

    Also, if you are shooting into the sun, you may be shooting at a smaller aperture. The smaller the aperture, the harder the flash has to work and the shorter the range of the flash. Recycling for continuous shots would probably be a problem.

    I think the solution, in this scenario, would be to move to the other side of the track (sunny side of the cars), or else set your exposure for the shady side of the cars and have the background be over exposed.

    Welcome to the froum, by the way, I have a couple friend who live in Adelaide. (Go Crows)
     
  3. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I doubt seriously that a portable flash unit could be powerful enough to handle what you want to do. I think I would just expose for the cars instead of the background and let the background fall wherever it falls.
     
  4. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    There are a number of pro flash kits that will do the job.
    Bowens make a portable power pack to run their monoblocs.
    http://www.bowens.co.uk/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21_26&products_id=121
    Or Metz do a handheld
    http://www.metz.de/en/photo_electronics/mecablitz_76_mz5_digital.544.html
    There are probably others and they all cost serious money. Not worth it unless you are doing it for a living.
    You would have to adjust exposure settings and ISO on your camera to get it to work, though. Shutter speed synching would be the hardest problem to overcome but with a powerful enough flash dropping the power would reduce the flash duration to something that would freeze the bulk of the action - but you would get some blur too.
    But using a powerful flash set up might not be advisable even though you would certainly get some spectacular pictures of crashes caused by you blinding the drivers.
    On balance I would advise finding a position with your back to the sun.
     
  5. Neuner

    Neuner TPF Noob!

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    Oh man, I would LOVE to attend one of those races.
     
  6. YouAreBrahman

    YouAreBrahman TPF Noob!

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    maybe this is cheating...

    could you [using a tripod] snap a photo of the background exposed the way you want it.. then snap the car when the time is right, and merge the two photos together in photoshop?
     
  7. THORHAMMER

    THORHAMMER TPF Noob!

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    get a 3 million candlepower light and set it up low with cardboard above it so that it never gets above the doorline ( as to blind the driver) or position a huge mirror to do the same thing.. lol

    actually not practical .

    you can setup reflectors on your side of the road, but they might get trashed by the cars.
     
  8. Coyote Grafix

    Coyote Grafix TPF Noob!

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    I've been thinking about using reflectors, but as I'm still really just getting into photography I haven't actually gotten around to using them yet. So... would they be powerful enough to do the job?
     
  9. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Also on the Metz thing. I know the Metz flashes I have (60 CT-1 and 4) have a wind mode so you can put out a small amount of light in rapid succession and it might be enough to do what you are looking for. I di know unless you plan on carrying a backpack full of AA batteries an SB-600 or 800 will not recycle fast enough.
     
  10. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Not a viable alternative IMO. Even if you did have a Quantum flash which probably would have the power, it may be dangerous for the drivers. The other issue is simple. Go outside and take a photo of your car with the flash on. The shiny paint just looks plain strange under flash light. The decals would illuminate bright and pale, and the car will still be dark.
     

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