Off Camera Flash - to the Max

Every now and again potential talent emerges, sometimes by accident . . . 

My youngest daughter is using photography as medium for her GCSE course work. Yesterday we ventured out with a friend to create a few frames for her projects and give me an excuse to shoot, for me!

Lighting & camera kit was limited by proximity of car parking in relation to the proposed shoot location - in other words we had to walk.

I'll not share Hattie's images as she hasn't agreed, so here are a couple of mine.

There will be times where to get the shot you need a wide angle lens. Whilst I'll not shoot a mid-shot or close-up portrait with a wide angle lens unless a specific look is required, the Canon 35mm ƒ/2 EF is pretty sweet, compact & lightweight for general use or medium long shot (MLS), long shot/full length (LS) portraits.

The lighting here is simple. A single Canon 580EXII Speedlite triggered with a pair of Yong Nuo YN-622C TTL radio triggers. Until recently I've been using a Yong Nuo eTTL cable which is fine, but somewhat restrictive once you experience the pleasure of (almost) total wireless eTTL flash freedom of movement.

Max is a great guy with a good look who is at ease in front of the camera. I find it helps if you get to know the model/subject before a shoot, or if they know you as the communication barrier doesn't need to by breached.

Hattie (youngest daughter) acted as VAL (Voice Activated Light stand) for this part of the shoot. The Lighting rig was attached to a painters extension pole by means of my 1420 VAL Spigot. The advantage of this is portability and mobility. The painters extension pole I use extends to 3m (10 feet) which when resting on the ground, held by the VAL gives adequate  height & reach.

The kit used, right to left, top to bottom:

  • Oriental Lastolite rip-off 60cm Ezybox.
  • Gel Clip with Rosco #302 Pale Bastard Amber (LEE Filters 223 1/8th CTO is a close equivalent) gel for added subtle warmth to skin tones, if processed in colour.
  • Canon 580EXII Speedlite hot shoe flash- zoomed to 70mm to give extra output.
  • YN-622C wireless flash transceiver trigger.
I addition to the above:
  • Canon 5DII full frame body.
  • 35mmƒ/2 & 85mmƒ/1.8 Canon EF glass.
  • Lowepro Reporter 300AW shoulder bag (2001) vintage and still going strong.

It's a pleasure working with someone like Max, relaxed and into the photo groove.

The whole session was relaxed with a level of humour and banter appropriate to those involved.

The high key image above is effectively straight out of camera (SOOC), with nothing more than my ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) initial processing, with Silver eFex for the mono conversion using the Kodak Tri-X preset.

The 1420 VAL Spigot is available from selected retailers in the UK and direct from me for US or UK customers.

Elinchrom flash is available from The Flash Centre. Email Simon Burfoot or call Brian Collier at the Birmingham branch.

If you're serious about your photographic lighting then maybe The LIGHT Side Facebook group will interest you. It's about all things to do with light and lighting. TLS is a closed group so someone will need to add you or you'll need to send a request to be added. It's a friendly group, with a degree of humour and some great photographers willing to share and contribute.


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