I need a MENTOR!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by stsinner, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. stsinner
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    stsinner New Member

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    Is anyone up to the challenge of teaching a newbie how to use his equipment? I've read a lot of stuff, from this forum and others-I understand aperture and shutter speed and white balance, but I can't seem to get pictures right when I leave auto. My goal is to take good portraits of my daughters and growing family.. Maybe it will blossom into making money with portraits-who knows.. Here's what I'm working with:

    Nikon D50 with Nikon SB600 speed light. I have the Gary Fong Light Sphere II clear and cloudy, as well as the Gary Fong Puffer for diffusing the on-board flash. I have the nifty fifty (Nikkor AF) and the kit 18-55 Nikkor lenses. I have two umbrella tripods with optical slave flashes..

    What I would like is someone that would be open to telephonic instruction or Yahoo IM, etc., for real-time help. If you would be open to helping me, please PM me. Thanks.

    Here's what I have:

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  2. rubbertree
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    rubbertree New Member

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    Let me be the first:

    http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html

    This site will help you with your lighting situation but not you issue with leaving auto. What is the problem there? You said you understand aperture, shutter speed and white balance but can't get out of auto. What happens when you do?
  3. ANDS!
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    ANDS! New Member

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    Check out STROBIST.com. They are "ok" for getting you to thinking about light, but - in my opinion - pretty lousy in how their information is set up, as well as explaining things on a "Oh that makes sense" type level. It's still good to read to get an idea about light, as well as to see what others are doing with their lights.

    My suggestion, ditch the umbrellas (for now), and focus on using the D50 and the SB600 together. practice bouncing the flash in different directions, locations and lengths to see what kind of results you start getting. Then, when you get a handle on using a single light source, start adding them on. Trying to master it all at once is going to be problematic and a source of frustration.
  4. tsaraleksi
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    tsaraleksi New Member

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    With the gear you have you should be able to make a start at what you're talking about just fine. What are you having trouble with? That is to say, when you take a picture, what about it do you dislike? Learning how to handle off-camera lights is a pretty slow process, but it is very rewarding at the same time.
  5. stsinner
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    stsinner New Member

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    tsaraleksi, you're correct. What I'm having trouble understanding is getting the optical slaves to fire at the right time so as to be included in the picture. I've worked in P and S modes, but when I go to Manual, everything just goes downhill. I'm having trouble getting down the fact that aperture not only changes the amount of light but also the depth of field and directly influences shutter speed and then how to set the two so that the influence each other in a way that's beneficial and not useless.. I've gotten many under exposed shots and many shots where the slaves fire but the timing is off, and they don't influence the shot.. I've verified this by having the front of the slaves in the shot so that I can see whether or not they fired at the correct time. Since this is an advanced technique, they pamphlet that came with the flashes was no help, and I can't find anything about it in the camera user manual..
  6. rom4n301
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    rom4n301 Member

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    strobist.com is the best help i can give =]
  7. stsinner
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    stsinner New Member

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    Thanks. I went there today and bookmarked it so that I can go more often when I have time. I was hoping that my flash issue is fixable, because it just seems like a timing issue. My camera isn't the most full-featured camera, so I hope it's possible to get the timing right.
  8. tsaraleksi
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    tsaraleksi New Member

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    What shutter speed are you using? You've got to make sure to keep it slower than your camera's sync speed, I think that might be part of the problem. I wonder if there isn't some other problem that appears to be not having the flashes fire-- that just seems a bit odd, I guess. I guess the best bet here would be to post some of the settings that you are using.
  9. davebmck
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    davebmck New Member

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    If your SB600 fires a preflash to determine the correct amount of power the flash needs for the exposure, the preflash will frequently trigger the optical flashes and they will go off before the main flash fires. Thus your picture will be underexposed.
  10. stsinner
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    stsinner New Member

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    In my opinion, if I'm using two flashes firing into umbrellas, the SB600 would be a waste, so I usually mount the Puffer onto the hot shoe and try to fire the slave flashes... But they don't seem to be going off at the right time.
  11. stsinner
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    stsinner New Member

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    Does anyone with Nikon experience know what mode I should be in and what mode the flash on the camera should be set to in order to fire the slaves at the right time... ?
  12. tsaraleksi
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    tsaraleksi New Member

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    I'd suggest putting the SB600 in the shoe, in manual mode and set to it's lowest setting. Point it at the ceiling. I broke my wireless trigger and used this method to trigger my strobes for a couple weeks.
  13. ANDS!
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    ANDS! New Member

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    The D50 does not have wireless capability to trigger the SB-600 so thats out. I don't know if that screws you out of being able to trigger the slaves without using a sync-chord of some kind.
  14. tsaraleksi
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    tsaraleksi New Member

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    You can trigger an optical slave with any source of light.
  15. ANDS!
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    ANDS! New Member

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    Well then that answers his question. There really only is one mode the SB600/D50 combo can be in and thats mounted on the hotshoe.
  16. goodoneian
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    goodoneian New Member

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    shoot in manual. if i shoot in shutter or aperture priority when using off camera flash, i always get funky results because my camera meters for the scene and then the flashes over expose everything. generally speaking, if i'm in my house with a decent amount of ambient light, i shoot at around 1/60, f/4, iso 400 and adjust the flash output to light my subject or for fill. this isn't what i always end up doing, but it can get you good enough results to be satisfied.

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