So Baseball Game and a Speedlight???

wyogirl

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So... I'm going to a baseball game at Coors Field. I want to be able to take pics of my family at the ballpark and I think I'll need my speedlight. I was wondering about light modifiers for on-camera flash in an outdoor semi-dark setting. I like the light sphere, at least from what I have read, but I don't think its practical to take to the ballpark without drawing attention and its kind of hard to pack. I have one of those mini soft boxes but I don't think it works all that well at softening the light.

Suggestions for anything that will pack easily into a small camera bag and also work at making the light from my speedlight look better on camera????
 

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So... I'm going to a baseball game at Coors Field. I want to be able to take pics of my family at the ballpark and I think I'll need my speedlight. I was wondering about light modifiers for on-camera flash in an outdoor semi-dark setting. I like the light sphere, at least from what I have read, but I don't think its practical to take to the ballpark without drawing attention and its kind of hard to pack. I have one of those mini soft boxes but I don't think it works all that well at softening the light.

Suggestions for anything that will pack easily into a small camera bag and also work at making the light from my speedlight look better on camera????

An index card and a rubber band. Or your can try one of the demb flip its ? I've never used them but some people love them
 
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wyogirl

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I've seen index cards used on pop-up flash, but I'm taking a speedlight. How do I use that with a speedlight and do you have examples of the effect?
 

Big Mike

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Firstly, are you really all that worried about trying to create studio quality lighting, in the stands at a ball park? I would think that as long as you can get a good exposure of your family, while at the same time getting a good exposure of the scene (field etc.), then that would be good enough. Basically, you would need to know how to balance your ambient exposure with your flash exposure.
That has nothing to do with flash accessories, and everything to do with knowing how to do it with your camera & flash settings.

Secondly, if you do want to worry about the quality of light (not just the quantity), then you would want to make it soft and directional. To soften light, you need to make the light source significantly larger, relative to the subject (larger and/or closer). If you look at the Lightsphere, or Flip-it or even a small softbox....do they really make the light all that much bigger? Maybe a little bit, but unless you are making your light at least 12-16 inches wide/tall, then I don't think you would see much difference at all. Especially when you're far enough away to get a few people in the shot.
This is the big fallacy with flash accessories. So many people think they are making their flashed light better, simply by putting some sort of hat on their flash....or by tilting the flash and shooting it off of a card etc. But what you (and so many others) need to realize, is that simply doing that won't really help at all. 80% of flash accessories are really only helpful when you are bouncing the light off of walls or ceilings anyway. And if that is the case, you can often just bounce the bare flash, and get pretty good results...much better than direct flash.
I'm not saying that most accessories don't help...but most of them require that you use them in rather specific situations. Of course, they don't tell you that...they want you to think that they work great anytime...and judging by what I see people writing and saying...they (the flash accessory marketing union) are convincing a lot of people.

So my advice, would be (if you won't be satisfied with simply balancing the flash & ambient), to find a wall somewhere and bounce the flash into that. Position your family in a spot that is close to the wall, but that allows for the background that you want. It may not be easy to do...in which case, it may not be worth the trouble to bounce, just shoot direct but get the balance right.
 

Big Mike

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I've seen index cards used on pop-up flash, but I'm taking a speedlight. How do I use that with a speedlight and do you have examples of the effect?

The index card (a bounce card) is used to split the light. The idea is that you point the flash up (and/or turn the camera to the side) so that the flash is pointing to a wall or ceiling. Most of the light would go to that surface and bounce back to your subjects. The card, being right behind the flash, will bounce a small portion of the light in a forward direction. Thus, you get two directions of light hitting your subjects.

Imagine that you are bouncing off of a ceiling, right above your subjects. It would be like shooting under mid-day sun....which is not great for people (raccoon eyes). So by sending some forward, you can sometimes fill in those shadows.

So using a bounce card (many flashes have them built in) you can get better results, but only when bouncing.

The trouble, is that some people seem to think that just using the card will somehow give you better results, even when not bouncing. But if they do that, say use a bounce card outside or in a large indoor space, most of the light from the flash is wasted...and it's only the little bit that goes forward, that does anything at all. This means that your light quality is basically the same...but the flash has to fire at a much higher power...which means longer recycle times and shorter batter life.
 
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wyogirl

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Firstly, are you really all that worried about trying to create studio quality lighting, in the stands at a ball park? I would think that as long as you can get a good exposure of your family, while at the same time getting a good exposure of the scene (field etc.), then that would be good enough. Basically, you would need to know how to balance your ambient exposure with your flash exposure.
That has nothing to do with flash accessories, and everything to do with knowing how to do it with your camera & flash settings.

Secondly, if you do want to worry about the quality of light (not just the quantity), then you would want to make it soft and directional. To soften light, you need to make the light source significantly larger, relative to the subject (larger and/or closer). If you look at the Lightsphere, or Flip-it or even a small softbox....do they really make the light all that much bigger? Maybe a little bit, but unless you are making your light at least 12-16 inches wide/tall, then I don't think you would see much difference at all. Especially when you're far enough away to get a few people in the shot.
This is the big fallacy with flash accessories. So many people think they are making their flashed light better, simply by putting some sort of hat on their flash....or by tilting the flash and shooting it off of a card etc. But what you (and so many others) need to realize, is that simply doing that won't really help at all. 80% of flash accessories are really only helpful when you are bouncing the light off of walls or ceilings anyway. And if that is the case, you can often just bounce the bare flash, and get pretty good results...much better than direct flash.
I'm not saying that most accessories don't help...but most of them require that you use them in rather specific situations. Of course, they don't tell you that...they want you to think that they work great anytime...and judging by what I see people writing and saying...they (the flash accessory marketing union) are convincing a lot of people.

So my advice, would be (if you won't be satisfied with simply balancing the flash & ambient), to find a wall somewhere and bounce the flash into that. Position your family in a spot that is close to the wall, but that allows for the background that you want. It may not be easy to do...in which case, it may not be worth the trouble to bounce, just shoot direct but get the balance right.

This was the answer I was afraid of. I know that I will probably need to use the flash because my son is 2 and sitting still isn't really an option and this is a night game. I am not looking for studio light obviously. I really just wanted to know if the light sphere does all it claims without starting a "brand war" of fanboys and whether or not there is an alternative that I haven't read about. My only goal is to prevent the deer in headlights look of on camera flash. I'll be the first to admit that balancing the ambient light and flash is something that I need help learning and a lot of practice doing. Thanks for being honest and saving me some money by helping me realize that there is not a magic solution for this situation.
 

Big Mike

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I have a whole box of flash accessories. Many were purchased, some are home made and a few were even free samples from the inventor (in exchange for review & input).

What I have discovered, is that no single flash accessory is going to be the best tool in several different situations. Some of them work great in some situations, but are a complete waste in others. The key (as with most everything else) is a good knowledge on the subject. If you understand a) how light works and b) how flash works....you will have a much better idea when & where to use accessories.
 

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That's another good point. If security sees you pull out a DSLR, let alone a flash (and possibly accessories) they are very likely to ask you to leave.
 

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That's another good point. If security sees you pull out a DSLR, let alone a flash (and possibly accessories) they are very likely to ask you to leave.

I didn't go look at Coor's field specifically but I agree about the flash or accessories. Our AAA club allows DSLR's but no mono or tripods. I am going to a Hockey game the end of September here and am trying to determine if I can take in my camera. (I know in most of the NFL stadiums now you probably can't take them in).
 
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wyogirl

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Have you checked to see if you can bring your dslr to the ballpark? Some stadiums do not allow them.
I have and Coors field allows still cameras (not video), even dslrs as long as you don't have a "stabilizing device like a tripod or monopod".
 

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I was thinking along the same lines as Ron, good you checked it out before you got there.

I've heard of sticking a business card in front of the on-camera flash to diffuse it - in a pinch; I've never tried it to know if it'd work.

What time does the game start? Maybe you could try to get some pictures pregame, out on the concourse or wherever they allow fans to stand/hang out. Or at your seats early before the game, to get something if possible with existing light before it gets too dark just in case.
 
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wyogirl

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I'm sure I'll be able to get some shots before the night takes over and I need a flash... its just that my 2 year old loves sports so I wanted to be able to get candids of him enjoying the game no matter the lighting. I really wish I had a fast 35mm lens or maybe even a wider one since it will be close quarters in the seats but its not all that important to get great photographs in this situation, just some snapshots for his yearly album.
 

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I really wish I had a fast 35mm lens or maybe even a wider one since it will be close quarters in the seats but its not all that important to get great photographs in this situation, just some snapshots for his yearly album.

Nifty Fifty for canon is about $140 and is f/1.8. That should be fast enough with all the lighting available.
 

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