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BOY! Doesn’t this post’s title sound cocky!?
All that means is Jen Rynda replaced me at the Patuxent Publishing Company when I quit last December. And In case you’re curious, she’s doing a great job. She’s also putting a fresh new face on the Athletes of the Year photos — which, I suppose if I left a legacy at PPC, that would be it. …which was a legacy belonging to Fran Gardler before that. She’s pretty good at shooting sports, so, for some reason the powers that be assumed she’d be good at shooting the Athletes of the Year. I get the impression that expectation made her a bit nervous. So, she bribed me with a burrito last June to teach her how to use my old lighting kit (which was actually cannibalized by a few other staffers hahaha!). During our lesson, she made this cool, moody photo of me.
So, earlier today (yeah! how’s that for a fast blog post turn around?) we met up for lunch and I started talking about lighting. ….y’know, one of those nerdy things photogs sometimes talk about. I mentioned using a Lastolite TriGrip Deflector silk to diffuse the harsh light from Nikon my SB-900 in a photo I made of Melissa Golden eating pizza, and one thing led to another and BAM! — we’re talking about High Speed Sync/focal plane lighting. So, we went back to my place and I gave her a quick demo of what the new Pocket Wizard Flex system can do with a speedlight and D700 + 35mm f/1.8 at 100 ISO, 1/8000th of a second, at f/1.8 outdoors on an overcast, drizzly day.
Now, I’m not really a tech/gear blogger, so I’m not gonna go into a big technical explanation. There are a ton of blogs out there better at nerding out on gear. I learned about fp (focal plane) lighting from The Strobist, for example. So, if you have the time, do some digging.
All I’m gonna say about this shoot is that it took very little time to set up. 10 minutes, including set up, break down, and two location changes. I rarely takes me 10 minutes to set up the big lights.
I’m NOT gonna say the results are “just as good as using the big lights.” But they’re different than using the big lights. Obviously if I used two speedlights the light sculpting might be more impressive.
But, y’know… it’s my go to method for running and gunning a lit portrait. Below are a examples of how much light the SB-900 actually gave the shoot and what the set up looked like.no light (obviously).
Who needs a tripod when you have a bannister? …although, I wouldn’t mind getting one of Lastolite’s TriGrip Brackets, either.Indoors with the TriGrip. ISO 100, 1/8,000th, f/1.8 …the strobe was set to Manual at full (1/1) power and zoomed in to 24mm.
This is without the TriGrip at the same settings. …and yeah. Jen’s out of focus. That’s one of the problems you’ll run into when shooting at f/1.8. Aside from my focusing problem, I also think the lighting looks a little gross in comparison to the one above. Sure, the light is spread out, lighting the room a bit better, but the quality of light looks cheap. — in my opinion. There are just too many weird highlights and shadows. Oh. And I should say, I’m not sponsored by any of the companies I touted in the post. …but if Nikon, Pocket Wizard, and/or Lastolite wants to give me a call (gear, and money) I’m all ears (and eyes).
And just for reference, this is what the room looked like with the same exposure settings, sans flash. dark, right?