Night parade flash tips

Started Oct 28, 2008 | Discussions
ericfordh Senior Member • Posts: 1,419
Night parade flash tips

I will be shooting the NYC Halloween Parade this Friday and I'd appreciate some simple advice on how to use the speedlight, and any accessories I might need.

I shot the parade last year with the D40 and a 50/1.4. I ended up shooting at ISO 1600 and f/2 (and focusing manually), and this year I want to try a more efficient, less masochistic setup.

I recall from watching the press photographers that they mostly had SB-800s with diffusers pointed up and forward at a roughly 45 degree angle. Is that correct? I have an SB-600 and a basic sto-fen diffuser for it. I'm also shooting a better camera now, but I don't want to abuse the high ISOs.

Any advice? Thanks in advance.

arammc Regular Member • Posts: 147
Re: Night parade flash tips

The omni bounce can soften light a little bit, but if you point it up and there is nothing above/behind you to bounce the light off its wasting most of the light and the effect is minimal.

I use the omni bounce alot but usually indoors. (Its the size of the light source that matters most, although the omni bouce sends light in a wider spread allowing it to bounce off more stuff, slightly softer). If you got nothing to bounce off I would consider pointing the flash straight ahead with the omni on.

For night stuff/ indoor stuff with canon I generally use manual mode on the camera, set a f stop and shutterspeed and let the flash fill in automatically with the "ettl" mode. I don't know how well the streets are lit but f4 iso 800 and about 1/60 might be a good place to start. You might get some interesting "ghosting" if things are moving fast and you slow down the shutter more.. Do some test shots to see how it works and make sure the background light is coming through.

Just my 2 cents

-aram

nickoly Veteran Member • Posts: 6,965
Indoor parade, is it?

ericfordh wrote:

I recall from watching the press photographers that they mostly had
SB-800s with diffusers pointed up and forward at a roughly 45 degree
angle. Is that correct?

Well, it shows that with enuff ISO you can get away with anything but you might wonder if those guys know what they are doing. Think about it.

I have an SB-600 and a basic sto-fen diffuser
for it.

As above

OP ericfordh Senior Member • Posts: 1,419
Re: Indoor parade, is it?

I probably am not remembering their technique very accurately.

OP ericfordh Senior Member • Posts: 1,419
Re: Night parade flash tips

arammc wrote:

The omni bounce can soften light a little bit, but if you point it up
and there is nothing above/behind you to bounce the light off its
wasting most of the light and the effect is minimal.

Yes, that's what I'm trying to work around, without being stuck with direct flash-in-face shots.

For night stuff/ indoor stuff with canon I generally use manual mode
on the camera, set a f stop and shutterspeed and let the flash fill
in automatically with the "ettl" mode. I don't know how well the
streets are lit but f4 iso 800 and about 1/60 might be a good place
to start. You might get some interesting "ghosting" if things are
moving fast and you slow down the shutter more.. Do some test shots
to see how it works and make sure the background light is coming
through.

These streets aren't well lit at all, unfortunately. Last year I was using ISO 1600, f/2 and 1/40, and barely getting proper exposures (without flash). The pictures of the parade I saw in the newspaper looked much better technically than what I got.

Just my 2 cents

Thanks.

jaad75 Contributing Member • Posts: 601
Re: Night parade flash tips

Here you have some of mine from last year:
http://jaad75.zenfolio.com/p285012077

Not so good and I hope to do something better this year, but you can see exif (upper right corner) to check the settings...
--
http://jaad75.zenfolio.com

OP ericfordh Senior Member • Posts: 1,419
Re: Night parade flash tips

Hey, those came out pretty good. How did you use the flash? Was it on-camera or a speedlight? Diffuser, angle? Thanks

jaad75 Contributing Member • Posts: 601
Re: Night parade flash tips

Thanks, but it really could be done much better. I used hot shoe flash in TTL mode with white Stofen Omnibounce. I was pointing it directly because there was nothing to bounce the light from. Omnibounce doesn't do much in this situation (besides of sucking 2 stops of light :)), but I had it anyway... Today, I would be balancing color of the flash with ambient and probably shot with higher ISO. There was no space for experiments (I was standing in a crowd), but I should try wireless off-camera flash...

ericfordh wrote:

Hey, those came out pretty good. How did you use the flash? Was it
on-camera or a speedlight? Diffuser, angle? Thanks

-- hide signature --
OP ericfordh Senior Member • Posts: 1,419
Re: Night parade flash tips

My flash setup as of now is an sb-600 with a sto-fen omnibounce diffuser, so I may be looking at similar results. I'm also hoping to try using the flash off-camera and seeing how that affects things.

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