Speelights – Flashes – Flashguns – Strobes, different terms but one result = MINDBLOWING.
Never thought I would be using them and ended up using not one but three for one of the shoot I did recently. Its serious fun, beleive me ;). But before I leap into the topic, let me share on what got me into the field of flash photography – a genre which I thought I would never tap.
It all started when I came across the “One Light DVD” of Zack Arias. Zack for a change reassured throughout the DVD about how simple it was to use these flashes. It gave tremondous boost to my confidence. Then as a blessing came gulfphotoplus, which is without a doubt, one of the best and most well organised photography workshop you could ever wish to attend. Greats like David Burnett, Gregory Heisler, Joe McNally, Zack Arias, David Hobby, David Nightingale and many many more of such whos who of the world of photography graced the occasion. Attending their seminars, chatting with them upclose and personal as if I knew them forever and seeing them in action doing what they do best further added to my confidence in using these flashes. Even before I knew, I had a Nikon SB 910 followed by a 60″ westcott umbrella and other add on’s to make my bag heavier. Was following the mantra of Zack Arias – keep it simple, be a “Minimalist”.
So spent first few days doing some trail, shooting friends and getting some mug shots of them. They looked drunk and wasted, thanks to me and my understanding of the newly bought flash 😀 but was pretty sure it was just a matter of time before I could get a hold on it. Within a week or so things got better, my friends looked healtheir and happier in most of the shots :P. I knew it was time to get going. An example of how it looked after a week of brainstorming is what you see below.
Just one SB910 shot through a collapsed 60″ Umbrella. Cut down the ambient light few stops to get some good fill with the flash. Thanks to Ceetus for being so patient throughout the shoot.
So now that things were under control and I knew what I was doing, it was time to shoot some real kick ass stuff. V-Man to the rescue. V-man aka Vimal Vijayan is a pro model who works for various agencies in Dubai and thanks to facebook, it makes our world smaller. Got in touch with him and fixed the weekend for a shoot. Was joined by my photog friends Dhruv, Nelvin and Ghazi. It was a marathon of clicks by all of us and just when we thought of wrapping it up, I came up with an idea which ended up looking as seen in the photograph below.
Shot using 3 light set up, 2 x Nikon SB 900 (courtesy : Ghazi) and 1 x Nikon SB 910, captured by Canon 70-200 f 2.8 lens mounted on Canon 7D (courtesy : Dhruv). So it was 3 maestros in work – Me, Nikon and Canon 😛 Yeah, I know what you just thought, get over it, lets look at the set up.
Like Zack Arias always says “We got to start somewhere”, I started with a single SB 910 in a collapsed 60″ umbrella on the right side of the subject at full power zoomed out at 28mm. Used the Phottix Strato II to trigger SB 910. There was good amount of light wrapping the subject on the right side while mildly filling the left side of his body. Idea was to have a bit more light on his face, so SB900 was placed on his left, zoomed it in at 135mm at 1/8th power to get more directional light on his face. To add to the punch, as the photograph was meant to depict “Aggression”, the 3rd flash which was again a SB900 was placed behind the subject at 1/4th power and zoomed in at 135mm to prevent the excessive spread of light. This flash was angled to lit his hair and also to create rim light across his shoulder. Both SB 900 were put on SU4 mode whereby camera triggered the SB910 via transmitter and these two SB900’s blindly followed the SB910. Simple !
Now that lighting was set, it was time to get the shot. Took around 20 shots to get the right splash of sand, appreciate Vimal for being such a sport.
Bottom line, Nothing is complicated, they just seem to be until you try them. In any form of photography, all that matters is your attempts to try something new. Don’t be thrown aback by big fat technical words people throw at you to make photography sound complicated, its all in the mind.
“Get out – Get shooting – Have fun – That’s the only way out”