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10-06-2015, 08:14 AM   #1
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Flash settings help

The 2015 Chicago Marathon is this coming weekend. I'll be using my 540FGZll and a K5 to shoot pre-event photos of people during the early morning hours. The streets are lit with sodium vapor lighting that give off a yellowish orange glow. I've been practicing on my own street that has the same type of lights. Because of the changing ambient light in the morning, what's the best method for general shots of people? I'm not getting the results I want using P-TTL. I need to switch to manual in order to light up the faces of the subjects. I'm taking lots of photos and really don't have time to keep readjusting my flash. Once the ambient light is good and the street lights are not a factor, P-TTL works great! Any suggestions?
Peter

10-06-2015, 03:00 PM   #2
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Not sure if this helps, but one thing you probably want to do is to gel the flash to match the color of the sodium vapor lights, and also set the white balance on the camera manually to also match the sodium vapor. I haven't worked under sodium vapor but I would guess that a full CTO (color temperature orange) gel would be needed.

I'm not sure which aspect of P-TTL is causing the problem, whether it is a color balance thing, or balancing the ambient with the flash. Under fixed conditions I like to use manual but when the ambient light intensity or the distance to the subject constantly changes, then I will use P-TTL. Sorry if this isn't helpful.
10-06-2015, 04:22 PM   #3
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Take a look at this article. I have tried it on a few flash shots and it seems to work very well, and is cheap. Foamie black thng.

http://neilvn.com/tangents/about/black-foamie-thing/
10-07-2015, 07:55 AM   #4
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I use an ExpoDisc and a grey-card to set a manual white balance.

10-07-2015, 09:05 AM   #5
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Thanks all for the help. Because I'm trying to light up my subjects and have them stand out, I think manual will be necessary. I'm just going to need to be aware of the light and adjust as necessary. It's only during the last hour before sunrise that I need to do this.. I start at 5am. Race time is 7:15. I won't be using flash once the race starts unless I want to get creative! I try to keep subject distance the same and use my zoom. The DA18-135mm is my lens of choice. To add more challenge, most subjects are wearing reflective gear. UGH!
10-07-2015, 10:03 AM   #6
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Getting the flash off the camera or bouncing it off a reflector would help take care of the reflective clothing, but I guess that would be difficult outdoors without an assistant. Maybe one of those ginormous flash brackets with a long extension, to get the flash and/or a bounce panel or softbox way up above the lens, would help. I always wanted to try one of those.
10-07-2015, 10:34 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Petey44 Quote
Thanks all for the help. Because I'm trying to light up my subjects and have them stand out, I think manual will be necessary. I'm just going to need to be aware of the light and adjust as necessary. It's only during the last hour before sunrise that I need to do this.. I start at 5am. Race time is 7:15. I won't be using flash once the race starts unless I want to get creative! I try to keep subject distance the same and use my zoom. The DA18-135mm is my lens of choice. To add more challenge, most subjects are wearing reflective gear. UGH!
That's why that "Black foamming Thing" mentioned in prior post might be good. It bounces the flash so that the subject is not struck directly by the flash, and no assistant necessary.
10-07-2015, 11:44 AM   #8
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Neil van Niekerk's site is great, eh?

I always have a black foamy thing (and some gels) attached around each of my flashes, but I think the big challenge outdoors is finding something to bounce the flash off of. Maybe there will be a nearby wall, like a bulletin board, that is used at the starting point where people register.

Outdoor bounce flash uses a lot of power, so don't forget your Eneloops, or other spare batteries!

10-07-2015, 04:26 PM   #9
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Put a CTO on your flash, Petey44 - you'll be able to get a better match against the streetlights when you process the RAW files. Don't leave it up to the in-camera JPEGs. :-)
10-07-2015, 04:26 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wingincamera Quote
That's why that "Black foamming Thing" mentioned in prior post might be good. It bounces the flash so that the subject is not struck directly by the flash, and no assistant necessary.

Outdoor sports photography?
10-08-2015, 04:21 AM   #11
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Peter,

I think you're on the right track thinking about going manual. I shot 99% of my flash shots with the camera on manual and letting the flash adjust the amount of light given off (Auto Flash). My normal settings are 1/125 sec, f8, and adjust the ISO to minimize charging time between shoots (usually ISO 800).

I also use something similar to the black foamy thing to minimize the shadows.








Tim
10-08-2015, 09:20 AM   #12
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Thanks all for the recent comments. Just received my shot list. About 80% of my shooting is after the predawn hours. Mostly action of runners and scene shots. Using a flash wouldn't work well unless I'm getting creative. I'm going to shoot in manual with a cap style diffuser and just keep a eye on the light. I like the black foamy thing idea but unfortunately, I don't have one. If I get some good creative shots with the flash, I'll be sure to post them to show my result.
10-08-2015, 06:15 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Petey44 Quote
I like the black foamy thing idea but unfortunately, I don't have one.
You can just make one if you want, Petey.

In lighting parlance, it's a 'flag'.

When you bounce off a roof or white wall, only the reflection is reaching your subject because you've blocked any stray direct light from the flash head.

You can tape a business card into position to do this, or use something like a piece of foam attached with a rubber or hair band.

I've even used my left hand.

But I don't see how that helps you take pictures of runners outside.

It's a *bounce* flash accessory.

Last edited by clackers; 10-09-2015 at 01:50 AM.
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