Aug 21 2008
So, there I was. In Calgary the day before the workshop and I had been playing Rockband for roughly a week as the lead drummer. I played so much that I was getting blisters on my fingers . A bunch of 30 somethings recreating high school dreams of sex, drugs and rock&roll baby! And then I get a flash (no pun intended)!
“Hey guys! I just got an idea! Let’s get 4 of you all dressed up with whigs and stuff and bring the RockBand gear out in the street at sundown and get busy with some SB-800s!” And the answer I got…. “Where are the whigs!!!”
So we brought the game outside (+ one cool silver guitar for the 4th rocker… he had to accessorize with the boots!), I got my 2 photographers rock stars at around 5 feet from the ground. I set them to Remote group A. I then set my friend Peter’s with a shoot-through on another tripod close to me on camera left at about 6 ft from the ground. I set the flash to Remote group B so that it would be controlled independently from the other 2. Here’s my lighting setup diagram.on my little cheepy portable tripods and put them on each side of the
If you’ve read my 2 other tutorials on SB-800s (here and here) you’ll know that the first thing I do is to make sure that my background is exposed to my liking (basically exposing to the light I can’t control). For this shot I wanted dark, gloomy clouds so, in Aperture mode, I used my EV button and set it to -1EV. Perfect! So my settings were ISO 200, f5.6 at 1/60 sec. with the WB (white balance) set to Flash, using my Nikon D300 and my Nikkor 18-200mm VR lens.
All I had to do now is ajust the SB-800s’ power output to match my settings. What’s great about the Nikon CLS (Creative Lighting System) is that I can wirelessly control the flashes’ power output right in my camera using the popup flash to trigger the other flashes (setting it to Commander mode). So after a few tests, both side flashguns were at 1/4 power and the main at 1/2 power.
We did have a few setbacks at first because of a few nasty gusts of wind that knocked over the flashes onto the hard and unforgiving pavement. OUCH! Man, those SB-800s are shock resistant! Love them. My umbrella didn’t fare as well though. Kaput! Luckly I had 2 (and with 8 other photographers, I was covered ) After a few falls, I figured out that I needed human sandbags so I got 3 other guests, down for the workshop, to play the ever so important role of the sand bag. They performed brilliantly , I must admit.
I could have shot this with only the front SB-800 with the umbrella but my rock stars’ black clothing would have faded into the background somewhat. And it also gave more definition to the faces. The 2 sidelights act as rim lights to “cut out” the subjects from the background. You can see it here on a few crops. The first one showing the rim light’s effect and the second one adding depth to the face.
And here are the final images for your enjoyment.
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