In preparation for my recent road trip to the Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion and then Las Vegas, I toyed with the idea of bringing my studio lights. They weren’t that heavy right? How much would the airline overcharge me to bring them? Maybe I could ship them ahead of me via FedEx? Maybe I could rent them there? But after considering the effort, security of the places I would be staying and practicality I opted for my speedlites (4 x 580EX II) instead. The following kit was selected:
and somehow I managed to leave two things that would have REALLY helped:
This allowed me to create long exposure landscapes with the help of polarizing (to cut glare/haze) and neutral density (decrease ambient light) filters. Why is this important? Because the landscapes were mostly of rock during mostly cloudless days that act as great reflectors for summer sun. To allow the viewer to see the deeply saturated orange and red rock that my amazing human lens (eyes) can see the camera would need help. So for most of my landscapes I set up the tripod and after attaching the filters, used the best image settings (100 ISO, 16+ aperture) with a bracketed slow shutter speed. Bracketed? Yes, used a shutter speed that would create an exposure one stop higher and one stop lower than -1 2/3 what the camera stated. HUH?!?!?
Okay, the camera wants t0 create a lovely neutral gray image, I don’t. I want the colors saturated and deep, so I set a shutter speed that would make the image -1 2/3 (almost two stops) darker than what the camera deems perfect exposure. This makes the image darker which creates more saturated colors. Now to buy some insurance (i.e. what if I wanted the image a bit darker/lighter, decide later to do HDR, the camera made a mistake, I made a mistake) because I can’t just run back over to the Grand Canyon if I want to re-shot, I bracket. I told the camera to take three images at a time… -1 2/3, -2/3, -2 2/3. Ahhhh, its like a warm blanket.
Hey? What about those model portraits we have to do in Las Vegas? Well that is where the Strobie comes in. Remember it is August in the desert so one 580EX II is not gonna cut it. To be honest, 3 won’t either at high noon.
But at 7AM three 580′s attached to the flash bracket fire a beautiful, wrapping, glowy light from the diffused Creative Light umbrella that is just phenomenal. And while I did bring my Pocket Wizards they were not necessary as the IR signal from the hot shoe mounted 4th 580 had no problem sending ETTL signals through the diffuser fabric and to the 3 slave 580′s. I fired the light from 6 feet away for gentle fill and from 2 feet away to create warm facial highlights for the head shots.
Would I have loved to bring my X5 fully loaded with all my studio light goodies…ABSOLUTELY! But my strobist kit did a great job.
Now go shoot something,