Lighting experiment : Remote flashes

I went out to Club Neutral last friday to carry out a photographic experiment.

All the photos from this experiment are here on my gallery:

Shooting with remote flashes.

This was my first time playing with remote flashes. Equipment used was:

– Yongnuo RF-602 Wireless Flash Remote with 2 receivers

– Sigma EF500 DG Super flash

– Minolta 4000AF flash

– Canon 40D DSLR with a few prime lenses.

As I explained in this post, I mounted the flashes on the lighting rails as mentioned in said post. As a note, the Super Clamp worked like a charm. As the second clamp, I used a wood clamp to which I attached a 1/4-20 UNC stud, into which the flash remote screws into.

Both flashes got triggered at first, but after a while the Minolta flash stopped triggering. I had to twist the remote trigger around the flash hotshoe to make contact to the flash. Will have to make the connection more positive.

The images I captures have quite a hard light look to them, since there was no diffuser or light box attached. I should get a couple of diffusers and small soft boxes for each flash in order to obtain smoother lighting.Both flashes were set up to 1/8 power, so recycling time was not an issue.

For a first experiment, I was happy with the results.

The one thing I will have to change for next time: the location of the strobes was not ideal, since it only illuminated about 70-80% of the center of the dance floor. Anything outside of that got very little to no light. I will have to re-think the strobe locations.

I also experimented with some camera settings. I took the advice given on this post on I closed up the aperture. At first to f/4.0 and later to f/8.0

This allowed me even manually focus (roughly) and then feel confident that focus would still be sharp. I had also printed out a DoF table for each of the 3 lenses (30mm, 50mm and 85mm)  to have an idea of how far the DoF extended.

I was quite happy with how good/sharp the focus was. I even manually focused (when I was on f/8.0) and images still came out sharp.

The other thing I did was to increase the shutter speed to about 1/100 to 1/320 to take out all the ambient lighting so that I would only capture the light from the flash. This helped isolate the subjects much nicer against a black background.

Auto focus was still an issue. Way too little light. When there was just enough light it took a few seconds to acquire and the rest of the time, it would not focus at all. Manual focusing worked well, especially stopped down to f/8. I may have to resort to manually focusing more.

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