Elinchrom ELB500 TTL on location - in a Sussex church yard

Although not one of the most exciting of subjects, headstones & memorials look so much better when lit to bring out the craftsmanship of the stone mason or letter cutter. I work closely with a firm of monumental masons creating content for their website & social media.

As I'm working on location for all of these assignments, choice of lighting equipment is important as I'll be working away from the car & have to carry everything with me, both weight and bulk are considerations.

For this shot I used the Elinchrom ELB500 TTL portable battery flash with a Elinchrom Portalite 56cm Octa softbox modifer/shaper.

Rosco 3072 ½ CTB Grid Cloth attached to the 56 cm Octa with wooden clothes pegs (aka C47s) in place of the white front outer diffuser.
I wanted to create a warm feel to the image whilst maintaining the natural colour of the Portland stone of the memorial. In order to do this a single ELB500 TTL flash head with the Portalite 56cm Octa was placed to the left of the memorial with the head positioned to enhance the lettering and badge.

Bright silver interior with a white deflector slight softens the shadow characteristics.
The Elinchrom Portalite 56cm Octa is in my opinion a under rated flash light modifier - it packs a way small and is light in weight. In use it has a lighting pattern very close to a hard metal beauty dish.

Weight close the bottom of the light stand aids stability.
A loop of 550lb paracord and a small karabiner attach the battery pack low down the light stand.
Working with a portable battery lighting system with a separate power pack means you don't have all the weight at the top of the light stand meaning you need to use a heavier light stand and heavy ballast for stability. I use Nano stands or equivalent and the battery pack attached low down the light stand adds to stability.

To create the warm feel I added a piece of Rosco ½ CTB Grid Cloth to the light shaper. The gave a blue hue to the lit part of the image which was then corrected in post-processing, rendering the unlit area of the image warmer in tone. I've talked about this technique in a previous blog.

The above image shows the unlit frame, lit with flash, ½ CTB added & the corrected final frame. Both of the frames lit with the ELB500 TTL are usable, the warmer toned frame works in context of the final use.

All images were exposed with the camera set to Av aperture priority auto exposure and the ELB500 TTL set to TTL auto exposure with no exposure compensation required. When I added the blue Grid Cloth to the Portalite 56cm Octa the TTL auto exposure in the ELB500 compensated for the loss of light resulting from adding the Grid Cloth. Had I been working manually, I'd have needed to increase the flash power by about ⅔ to 1 stop.

Remember that Through The Lens TTL exposure metering will be directly affected by the tone of the surface being photographed. A understanding of how reflected light meters interpret scenes is helpful. You can read more in my eBook available from Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Introduction-Exposure-Ian-Pack-ebook/dp/B01N4KBC49

Although the ELB500 TTL kit is supplied in a very well designed carry bag, for many assignments I  decant it into my favourite location trolley, a CamKart rolling weatherproof camera case. This allows me to haul my gear over wet, rough terrain that England produces. It keeps the gear dry and with the lid open provides a convenient working platform. Inside the CamKart the gear is protected by a LowePro Magnum 400 AW.

CamKarts protect your gear and keep it off wet ground!
That's it for now and don't forget if you really enjoy lighting to visit and join The LIGHT Side - a place to learn, be mentored, nurtured and learn about lighting, lighting and photography, whatever your level or experience.

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