using a flash - technique question

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by larrylook, Nov 8, 2005.

  1. larrylook

    larrylook Guest

    I have a nikon D70 and sb800 flash. A friend told me that at a wedding
    when there's no suitable ceiling to bounce off (the ceiling is much too
    high) that he puts on his diffuser dome and points the flash at 60
    degrees (90 being straight up at ceiling). I always thought, that if
    you can't bounce off a ceiling you put the dome on and point straight
    at the subject. Any thoughts on this?
    larrylook, Nov 8, 2005
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  2. larrylook

    DD Guest

    Why don't you give it a try and see what happens?
    DD, Nov 8, 2005
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  3. larrylook

    [BnH] Guest

    It will have similar effect.
    Try checking the Nikon speedlight guide booklet that came with your SB-800
    and see the effect.
    [BnH], Nov 8, 2005
  4. larrylook

    Paul Bielec Guest

    I second that. Don't wait for the actual wedding though...
    Since I bought a flash recently, I experiment a lot with it trying a lot
    of bouncing possibilities.
    Paul Bielec, Nov 8, 2005
  5. larrylook

    Patrick L. Guest

    With direct diffusion with a Stofen, you are going to lose two stops.
    Pointing it at an angle with nothing to bounce off of will result, it would
    seem, in even more stop loss, so I don't see the value in it, personally,
    unless your target f/stop on the flash output is one that cannot be achieved
    otherwise. As they say, try it and see.

    Patrick L., Nov 8, 2005
  6. I shot wedding last week where the ceiling was low with a dark
    brown color and a surface that just wasn't going to reflect

    I used an SB-28DX flash with a diffuser and pointed straight up
    at the ceiling... with an 8.5x11 inch, 96% white, sheet of
    regular paper folded around the flash with a little cut on each
    side to let it fan out, and a slight fold at the top. A rubber
    band held it in place on the flash.

    I've used this arrangement many times and really like it! It is
    more diffuse that aiming the flash directly at the subjects, but
    isn't cumbersome like an umbrella.
    Floyd Davidson, Nov 8, 2005
  7. larrylook

    Douglas... Guest

    The concept of a "diffuser" is to scatter light so it doesn't produce
    clearly defined shadows and 'softens' the light. With a ring flash
    shadows are a non event. With a piece of overpriced plastic (stofen)
    over the flash, you lose your EI rating in vast amounts as the distance
    increases and exposure becomes hit and miss.

    I made a simple affair for my GN 36 flash to substitute for a "soft box"
    and preserve as much of its lighting ability as possible. I used the cut
    up cover from an office ceiling light, some aluminum sheet and "mag
    wheel" polish. It looks like an Omniquest mini soft box but instead of
    fitting on like a stofen, it fits over the flash head while pointing
    vertical with the light face pointing forward.

    The light face is about 100 mm square. Because the light is bounced off
    the polished interior of the thing before it is scattered by the 'lens',
    the light output is soft, directed at the subject and metered by the
    flash. If I need further softening, I use some gauze over the thing.

    I can't remember the last time I used bounce flash. It's not a reliable
    means of lighting and has some considerable drawbacks if you change from
    portrait to landscape as you often need to do at a Wedding.

    This is an example of a hugely glaring day, cloud cover with patches of
    bright, glaring sunlight at 10:30 AM with some rain showers... Just your
    normal garden Wedding!

    When the bride arrived under an awning, the lighting was so complex as
    to need all the power a flash could produce just to get even lighting, I
    used my home made solution to light the scene. Stofen covers and
    spectral cards would have been insufficient to light the interior of the
    car or for that matter, the shadows on the bride herself with a small
    flash like I used.

    For those who are interested... Olympus E300 with an Olympus FL36 flash,
    14mm-45mm 'Kit" lens at ISO 200. The first time I've used this camera to
    take any Wedding shots.

    Some of the lightning of shadows can be done with software like
    Photoshop but this sort of thing should be considered "disaster
    recovery" editing because you lose information and detail with every edit.
    Douglas..., Nov 8, 2005
  8. I doubt if it would matter.....If there is nothing to reflect the light,
    then all light that falls on the subject will have to come from the source,
    so it shouldn't matter in what direction it is pointed. If it isn't pointed
    at the subject, then the camera will just let it go a little longer before
    quenching it, but the final result will be the same.
    William Graham, Nov 8, 2005
  9. larrylook

    Colin D Guest

    A technique I have often used is to have an assistant hold a piece of
    polystyrene sheet (about 600 x 900 mm and 25mm thick, so it's quite
    rigid but very light) above and behind me and to the left or right
    depending on the subject, and firing the flash at the styrene. It gives
    good reflectivity, no color shift, and very soft shadows, a quite
    flattering light.

    Colin D.
    Colin D, Nov 8, 2005
  10. larrylook

    no_name Guest

    Try it before you need to shoot the wedding though.

    Another old trick is to take a 3x5 notecard and put it on the back/top
    of the flash so half of it sticks up. Tilt the head up at 45 deg & it
    gives a softer, difused flash.

    Again, try it BEFORE you actually need it.
    no_name, Nov 8, 2005
  11. larrylook

    Alan Browne Guest

    Better to have it up and reduce red eye. Creates a _little_ more
    surface area.

    One reason some people lift it up 45° - 60° is because of "auto flash"
    where the flash itself measures the return light and decides when to
    shut off. By lifting the stofen up, there is no direct flash-sensor
    path. If you leave it down, too much light gets at the sensor directly
    resulting in a quickly shut off flash.

    No problem with TTL.

    For the problem above, there may be a wall behind you to bounce the
    flash off of (if it is very close) and this will help with the difusion.

    Alan Browne, Nov 9, 2005
  12. larrylook

    Jim Guest

    You should try and experiment.. I will tell you though that with the
    D70s and the SB800 and the diffuser you loose a lot of light. I like
    the 80 degree bounce with the diffuser, but you don't have much range.
    I would shoot dead on with the diffuser.
    Jim, Nov 9, 2005
  13. larrylook

    Nick Fotis Guest

    Personally, for flattering light I use my Lumiquest ProMax bounce system:

    It works very well, and it's pretty flexible, since you can either bounce
    off the ceiling (and have a catchlight 20% straight) or give a big
    white/gold/silver area for reflectance. Also, it's very easy to carry it
    (nearly pocket-size).

    The only bad thing about it is their self-adhesive Velcro tape around the
    flash head (I would prefer they use a flexible mount).

    Nick Fotis, Nov 9, 2005
  14. larrylook

    Matt Clara Guest

    Within 40 feet, an SB28 won't be causing any redeye.
    Matt Clara, Nov 10, 2005
  15. larrylook

    Matt Clara Guest

    It's a Nikon flash, and unless the space is way too dark, causing a "hot
    flash" situation, and as long as the flash is fully charged, it'll get the
    exposure right. I personally don't see the point of reflecting the flash
    off an imaginary surface, but I've seen "pros" (newspaper photographers) do
    the same thing, as recently as three weeks ago in Michigan's capitol dome,
    where the ceiling is four or five stories above.

    I use the SB800 and D70 with the diffuser dome pointed at 60 degrees anytime
    I'm in an area with a ceiling of neutral color. Without such a ceiling 75%
    of the light is not striking your subject, though the light that does strike
    your subject will be more diffuse than a bare flash would provide.
    Matt Clara, Nov 10, 2005
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