Posts Tagged ‘Sb-900’
Nikon D800 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII | 200mm, 1/250 sec, f/4, ISO 100 | 9 image stitch
When Bridget and I work together on a shoot, we try to goof off as much as possible. Ok, I’m kidding, but there are times when I do point the camera in her direction during a gig, just for the fun of it. The above is a bokeh pano that started with a remote-triggered SB-900 providing some light on the wife’s lovely face. Manually setting the flash power to 1/64 got me the exposure I wanted, and keeping it at that power while shooting a total of 9 images made sure there wasn’t any exposure variance to deal with when stitching the photos together. The resulting file, after merging and cropping to taste, was over 100 megapixels!
Nikon D800 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII | 190mm, 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 | single off camera SB-900 with dome diffuser camera left
As I become more and more acquainted with the D800, I keep discovering improvements over my D700 that I’m really loving. One big one for me is the way the camera’s TTL metering behaves with flash. Heavy backlighting used to confuse the TTL meter quite a bit with my D700, requiring that I either move to full manual or really work the camera and flash exposure comp dials to steer the system in the right direction. I relied on the D800’s TTL metering over the weekend for a series of photos using flash, including the one above, and the system very consistently gave me perfect exposures, even in tricky lighting situations that used to throw my previous systems. I haven’t had a chance to post on the topic yet, but high ISO files look great from this camera as well. So much for missing my D700 😉
Today I discovered another of my new Fuji X100’s unique powers. Its leaf shutter has the ability to sync with a flash unit at an ambient-crushing 1/1000 of a second. My D700, by comparison, has a maximum sync speed of 1/250th (you can go higher, but it dramatically cuts your speedlight’s effective power).
With a sync speed so high, I can compete with noon day ambient with a single flash gun and use wider apertures for shallower depth of field, something I couldn’t possibly do with my D700 without much more powerful lights. I tested out this really cool feature today, connecting one of my SB-900 flashes to my X100 with a sync cable (above). For the shots below, however, not only was the SB-900 running light through its dome diffuser, but also through a softbox with two more layers of diffusion material. Despite the bright, harsh sunlight (we took these pictures at around high noon) and all that extra diffusion cutting the flash power, I was still getting my exposures the way I wanted them.
Notice the aperture settings below. To give me even more control over the ambient while using as wide an aperture as possible, I activated the X100’s built-in 3-stop neutral density filter:
Fuji X100 – 23mm 1/1,000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200
Of course, there’s no TTL communication between the SB unit and the camera, so everything here is manually set. I pegged the shutter speed at 1/1000 to give me a wide aperture, and simply adjusted my flash power/distance to taste (flash output was between 1/8 and 1/1 power for these images).
Fuji X100 – 23mm 1/1,000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200
Fuji X100 – 23mm 1/1,000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200
Never thought I could saturate a noon-day sky so much at such wide apertures while using a single hotshoe flash (through several layers of diffusion!) to light my subject. The results are pretty surreal. Suki, however, is obviously not amused.
Fuji X100 – 23mm 1/1,000 sec, f/4, ISO 200
Fuji X100 – 1/1,000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200
Wow, I thought I loved the X100 before I discovered it can sync at such a high shutter speed. Now I’m utterly head over heels for this camera. =)
See more on Flickr!
The wedding I shot this past weekend was a wild ride. Some unexpected circumstances arose that forced us to cancel our original plans for some on-location formals between the ceremony and reception. With the reception rapidly approaching, and no time to travel anywhere beyond a couple of minutes from the reception hall for some portraits, we scrambled to find a place that would work.
Fortunately, my wonderful wife located a small community park tucked away in a neighborhood a few blocks from the reception hall. We all headed there, not knowing what to expect. Gotta be ready for anything in this business!
As it turns out, the park didn’t look very promising, at least at first. As I entered, I was greeted by some rusted old fences, areas under construction, and a tattered restroom hut. But as I pushed a little further, I found a long stretch of grass with some nice trees far in the distance. Good spot to hunker down and quickly work through the formals. Moving fast was key. The entire family was there along with the bridal party, and it was cold….and the reception was to start in like 20 minutes. Yikes!
The weather was bad at the park. The late afternoon was foggy, dark, cold, and the lighting was completely flat. Some in the group were concerned about how the scene would impact the pictures. Indeed, it was easy to look down range at this field and just see a dark, dreary scene. As I pulled my SB units out of my bag, however, I saw an outdoor studio.
Hot shoe flashes thrive in dark, shaded areas. I was able to shoot the top two images wide open on my 70-200 2.8, and the resulting shutter speed pushed the remote SB-900 flash that I was using as my main light into hi-speed sync. This dramatically cuts the unit’s power, which was already being cut by running the flash through an umbrella. But since I didn’t have a strong amount of ambient to compete with, the strobe didn’t struggle to give me adequate output. Sweet!
Three lights were in play for most of the shots: An on camera SB-900, used as a commander for two remote units and for on-camera fill, set to TTL. The main light is a single SB-900 through a 42″ translucent umbrella, also set to TTL. A third SB-900 is zoomed to 200mm and firing at my subjects from behind for some rim lighting, set to a different CLS group (Nikon speak, sorry if some of these acronyms are not making sense), firing manual at…hmm…I think it was 1/8th power or so. All of this lighting came together to give my final series of images the clarity, punch, and dimension that the scene wasn’t giving me on its own.
It was all over in a flash (har-har), and it would have been great to work the location even more than we did, but we still came away with some great images for the family…images that I’ll be really busy processing over the next few weeks.
Congratulations to the beautiful newly weds, Michelle and Rodney!
Nikon D700 | Nikkor AFS 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II
I’m posting this from my seat on a flight from New York back to San Francisco right now. In-flight wifi is a beautiful thing! It was a short, crazy, whirlwind of a trip, and the first order of business was to head from the big city to Patterson, New York to photograph the wedding of a very good friend of mine and his new bride.
I haven’t started processing these photos just yet, but I wanted to post a few that I really liked from that day since I pretty much have 5 hours to kill here on the plane. Here goes!
Met with Dennis (top) and his lovely bride Anna in a small country home in upstate NY this past Saturday. The quiet, humble couple preferred to keep the “getting ready” shots to a bare minimum, so we instead focused on covering other moments in the house as they happened.
Just a quick plug for my second shooter. I worked this wedding with my cousin and best buddy, Josh Libatique. He’s a portrait and wedding photographer from New York, and his experience and skills were very welcome that day. Here he is, getting ready to go at the bride’s house:
Josh and I grew up together, and have always shared the same hobbies and interests, so go figure here. We had a blast shooting the wedding as a team!
Here’s Anna meeting Dennis for the first time in her wedding dress. Such a happy looking couple!
Anna’s parents are very sweet people. Took this shot as the couple exited the house on their way to take a few images before the early morning ceremony got started. There was so much emotion on the parents’ faces as we departed.
We only had around 20 minutes or so to get some formals of the couple at a nearby park, but I was able to get some fun images anyway:
Rush rush rush! After a very brief shoot in the park, off to the ceremony (which was also very brief), then the reception at a small but pretty italian restaurant. (Haven’t processed any of the ceremony images yet)
The reception was brief but fun. Great tasting food, and friends I haven’t seen in forever. It was like a big happy reunion!
It was never difficult getting an amazing smile from the bride!
Of course, watching image slideshows of the couple when they were dating always makes for fun expressions from the observers:
The bride and groom did a meet and greet with every table, of course:
Did the whole take-a-picture-of-each-table thing, but of course I’m not posting all of them! Dennis and Anna also paid a visit to our table:
Though our work ethic reflected otherwise, we were actually guests of the bride and groom, not just photographers. Since Dennis is such a close friend to me, my wife, and Josh, we shot the wedding as our gift to him. Here we are at the “photographer’s table,” Josh’s parents seated to the left, and mine to the right. Handed my main camera to Josh to get this one. Half the time, the table had more camera gear on it than food and decor. =)
Handed off my second body to Josh while I took the table meet-and-greet photos. Apparently he took a moment to catch me and Bridget in action!
Then, the dancing started:
Got some really fun images of friends really getting into it!
At the very end of the wedding, a bunch of us old friends got together for a final group shot. We’ve all been really close since childhood, and [almost] all of us are married now! I set up the shot and handed the camera to my uncle, whose sense of humor easily got us into a goofy mood for the shot. =)
That’s all I got for now! It’s going to be a very busy week as I process the gazillions of other images I took from the day. Just wanted to get a few highlights out there.
Also, on my last post, I wrote about my first impressions of the new Nikkor 24-120 f/4 VR lens I just acquired. I used it extensively for this wedding as well as in the streets of New York in the days that followed, and I continue to be impressed by it. It certainly made an excellent wedding lens! Sharp and quick focusing. Love it.
Nikon D700, Nikon D300s // Nikkor 16mm f/2.8 FE // Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VR // Nikkor 24-120 f/4 VR
Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR // Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G // Lots of other stuff
—-Nikon D300s + Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8 at f/5.6, 1/80 sec ISO800
One question I’m often asked is something like : “How do I get sharp photos when taking pictures of my friends dancing indoors? What lens should I get for this purpose?”
Well, in most cases, the answer has less to do with your lens and more to do with whether or not you’re using flash. Just so happened to have hosted a dance party last night at my house, so I took the opportunity to demonstrate what I mean, using a variety of lenses and shutter speeds, and of course, my hot shoe flashes. The dancing took place in my living room at night, which means no daylight pouring through the window to give me f-stoppage. The room is lit by two floor lamps, providing, I dunno, just about f/0.1 inside. Seriously though, even using my fastest lens, I ‘d probably squeeze out a shutter speed of about 1/80th shooting wide open at f/1.4 at ISO3200 in this room. Ouch…not nearly fast enough to stop action under these conditions.
—-Nikon D300s + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 at 11mm f/5.6, 1/125 sec ISO800
Freezing motion in bright day light out doors is relatively simple, right? You can easily hit say 1/640 or 1/1000 and higher, even stopped down, effectively freezing motion. Can’t really do that in a room like this. There’s simply not enough ambient. Using flash lets you shoot at lower shutter speeds and still freeze action.
Wait a minute! How is it that you can freeze motion with low shutter speeds when you use your flash? Another question I get asked a lot. They key, again, is in the pop of light you’re throwing at your subject. The shutter may be going at say 1/80 or even 1/15, but that flash is hitting your subject at like 1/1500th, fast enough to freeze them in their tracks. If you want to imply motion in your dancing shots, you can drag the shutter at around 1/10 to 1/15 (make sure you camera is set to rear curtain sync):
—-Nikon D300s + Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8 at f/5.6, 1/15 sec ISO800
Or select higher shutter speeds to freeze them completely:
—–Nikon D300s + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 at 14mm f/5.6, 1/80 ISO800
Another note: you gotta go manual exposure in scenes like this. Throw your camera into aperture priority, for instance, and it will select what it thinks is an appropriate shutter speed to expose the scene. Well, you’re pointing your camera at darkness, which means it’ll select shutter speeds that are far too low. Use shutter priority and you camera will open up your lens to its maximum, limiting your depth of field options. For the entire night, I dictated the shutter speed and aperture and let the camera’s intelligent flash system work its magic. Worked well in this case too because in such a small, dimly lit room, almost all of the light is coming from my flash units.
Another question I get asked: “My lens doesn’t have VC/VR/IS. Can I still get sharp shots with it?” Yes! None of the lenses I used last night are stabilized:
—-Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135 f/2.8 at 95mm f/5.6, 1/80 sec ISO800
—-Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135 f/2.8
—-Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135 f/2.8
—-Nikon D300s + Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8
It’s important to remember that neither lens nor sensor based image stabilization systems help freeze subject motion. They only help reduce blur induced by small movements caused by the photographer hand-holding the camera. They key, again, is the flash.
Of course, when people are standing still, it’s even easier. =)
Suki and I headed out to the beach for a stroll along the water this evening after I got off work. The weather has been totally gloomy in San Francisco lately, however, so there wasn’t any dramatic light to make use of when arrived on sight. The test shot I took of her above gives you an indication of what kind of light was out there tonight. Blegh…Suki knows it too.
There was simply too much wind to use any sort of large light modifier, so I had to add some light in with my bare strobes. What to do? Thought I’d create a sunset-like effect with a single SB-900 placed maybe 20 or 30 feet from our position. Here’s how it turned out:
Placed a full cut of orange gel (CTO) over the bare SB-900 to give it the orange glow you’d expect from the sun when it’s low on the horizon. See? Flash doesn’t have to look like “flash,” right?
Now Suki is getting into it!
Nikon D300s + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8
[ Canon S90 at 6mm f/3.2 1/30 second ISO160 ]
Wow, had such a great time this weekend! Two great friends from Japan visited our home and stayed for a few days. We took them on a tour of the city, heading to the usual “tourist spots” as well as places we locals like to visit. Running around with them made me realize that I can’t even remember the last time I drove around SF just to see the sights. It was pretty fun actually! Ready for a long post with tons of images spanning the course of 3 days? Ok, here we go!