Need Flash Advice...

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Saddlebreds4me, Jul 16, 2009.

  1. Saddlebreds4me

    Saddlebreds4me TPF Noob!

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    Hey quick question for you guys - I am not a flash user per se...my preference is to shoot in natural light.

    I was just hired to shoot a horse show in September - indoors, in the worst lighting imaginable. The footing in the arena is dirt - the walls or 'kickboards' in the indoor are the same color dirt - and the lighting, I'm pretty sure is florescent. I've tried shooting in this arena before with only marginal success. I'm not even sure that the photographer in the center of the ring got great shots with his flash (I don't know what he used).

    The dimensions are probably 180' X 70' "ish" and the only thing in the background besides the arena walls are bleachers where the spectators sit. Any natural light is coming from the end door, where the competitors enter into the ring as well as a high row of window way up close to the ceiling which is typical in a horse barn.

    The only flashes I own are an SB600 and an SB800 - and I haven't used them in I don't know how long. I need something that is going to recycle super fast or figure out how to set up a slave maybe? I'm not sure....I really want to shoot this show to support our breed and membership chapter but I'm worried I'm going to be underpowered so to speak...any suggestions?

    Thanks very much in advance!
     
  2. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Cripes, that's kinda nasty. Your fast glass will make your life easier. Use the SB800, and for more power, which I bet you'll need, you can fire the SB600 in tandem with it. (Using your choice of triggers; simple radio triggers would not go amiss. You could velcro and tie the heads together or something similar.) Try to shoot at a high enough ISO that you don't have to whip your flashes into firing at full power all the time.

    The fastest recycle times will be provided by an external battery pack. The best batteries I've used are those new NiMH batteries; I get about or less than 3s recycle times to full power on my 580EX II's with those. The only problem is that firing at full power quickly is liable to really heat-up the flash head.

    Make sure that you gel any flash you're using window green to resemble the WB of the fluorescent lights. Shooting at either 1/60 or 1/125 will minimize the colour shift that can occur between shots in fluorecent lighting (the sine wave of a fluorescent light should fit completly in 1/125th, I believe, and you'll get two complete ones in 1/60).
     
  3. Saddlebreds4me

    Saddlebreds4me TPF Noob!

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    musicaleCA - thank you very much for your insightful response - I was also thinking that really my only option with the equipment I have would be the SB800. I'm not totally opposed in investing in something, it's just that it's not really my favorite thing to shoot with that type of flash strength etc...I have asked the head of the horse show committee to get in that arena prior to the day of the horse show to do some test shots. I would HATE to try this and have people say "that photographer sucked". I can shoot horses in motion and get them in the right frame so to speak, but I am worried about the flash aspect.

    I definitely agree about shooting at a higher ISO especially in those conditions - I just need to keep the noise down to a minimum. I've never used a noise removal program, but I hear that they work pretty well. The other thing I need to keep in mind is that most horse show photographers shooting today have nearly instant proofs available to the riders. If I shot a session say from 9am - 1pm the proofs are usually ready by that evening for review by the competitors. My point being, I also don't want to take a huge amount of time in getting the proofs out and available to people.

    Sorry for the ramble...but thank you again! I very much appreciate the help!
     
  4. Saddlebreds4me

    Saddlebreds4me TPF Noob!

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    Ooops forgot to ask you...your suggestion at shooting 1/60 or 1/125 to minimize color shift with regard to the lighting, I normally shoot (natural light) at 1/250 minimum in order to stop the action and minimize blur. Obviously with the added light I will have a greater ability to stop the action at a lower shutter speed - will 1/125 or 1/60 still be enough with the flash?

    I know that's probably a noob question, but I want to know everything I can possible prior to the shoot - thank you!
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    You're right the SB-600 won't cut it plus it can't be connected to an external power source. Remember the inverse square law of light too when you think about your set up.

    When you use flash, the way aperture and shutter speed work to make images, changes.

    If your familiar with those changes, that's one less issue to think about.
     
  6. Saddlebreds4me

    Saddlebreds4me TPF Noob!

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    All good points Keith, thanks so much for taking the time to respond - it is much appreciated.

    I'm thinking I will be doing a lot of homework prior to this shoot!
     
  7. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Check out the Strobist blog, Lighting 101. That'll help a lot.

    As for stopping motion, suggesting 1/60 was a little slip on my part; I was trying to illustrate the problem of colour shift in fluorescent lighting. Anyway, I doubt that 1/60, even with flash, will stop a moving horse. You'll probably want to keep it at 1/125. If you have to go to any other exposure time because of finagling the other settings, you'll need to take into consideration the possible colour shift in post-processing.
     

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