580exII and the Swim team portrait poolside

Started Mar 23, 2012 | Discussions
vdotmatrix Regular Member • Posts: 254
580exII and the Swim team portrait poolside

Right off the bat I am new to speedlight location photography and really hate flash photograohy sometimes.

I am shooting the swim team across a 30ft pool.

The test shots were ok.

Used and umbrella and the 580exII at about 8-10ft at the end of the pool from the side. threw out a lot of light,

ditched the umbrella for a Gary Fong lightsphere and bounced it off the ceiling (maybe 30 ft). got some even light but from the side.

My Question: Is the 580EXII strong enough to bouce off the celiing and light a group 30ft across the pool?

I could put this light on a stand above the camera and shoot head on from 30 ft.

Will this work?

http://db.tt/Z0Ey2dmx

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BAK Forum Pro • Posts: 23,658
Re: 580exII and the Swim team portrait poolside

Why do you want to bounce the flash off the ceiling?

Flash can be complicted, and relates directly to how the photographer wants to photo to look.

Is the flash supposed to be the main light, or is it fill light?

What's theend deliverable? A Facebook photo, a 20x30 blowup, an 8x10 with everyone's name?

That matters, too

How big is the swim team? Shooting a group from 35 feet away (pool width plus some rows of people...) is more of a challenge than shooting them somewhere else, or from a boat in the water.

Or put the team in the water, closer to the camera.

ANYWAY, lots more info would be helpf.l.

BAK

GHwell Senior Member • Posts: 2,008
Re: you totally lost me

If you already took the picture then you know if put out enough light. The fong is good when used as it should be, small white rooms 10 feet or less. bouncing off the ceiling is nothing but a waste of flash power and raccon eyes.
the umbrella would have given you the most even soft light.

that big of a group, I would use 2 580's full power through 2 umbrellas and adjust the camera in manual until I got the correct exposure.

Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 12,845
Re: 580exII and the Swim team portrait poolside

vdotmatrix wrote:

Right off the bat I am new to speedlight location photography and really hate flash photograohy sometimes.

I am shooting the swim team across a 30ft pool.

That's a long distance for a single flash, especially since you will have to use a fairly wide angle lens to include all the members of a large group.

The test shots were ok.

Used and umbrella and the 580exII at about 8-10ft at the end of the pool from the side. threw out a lot of light,

That is good news. The problem is that at 30' you will have about 1/4 of the light power as at 8'. The umbrella will also become small with comparison to the group so the light will be hard, not soft. The umbrella is basically a light waster at this distance and you might as well be using straight flash.

ditched the umbrella for a Gary Fong lightsphere and bounced it off the ceiling (maybe 30 ft). got some even light but from the side.

You have already been told that the Gary Fong is only useful in small rooms with light colored walls and ceiling. In large rooms it wastes light sending all over the place instead of where it is needed. In rooms with colored walls it will cause color contamination of your subject and should not be used.

Basically the GF Lightsphere is a waste of money and light about 99% of the time. Bouncing light off a wall or ceiling is far more efficient and once you learn how to do it you will get better results than with the Lightsphere.

My Question: Is the 580EXII strong enough to bouce off the celiing and light a group 30ft across the pool?

I could put this light on a stand above the camera and shoot head on from 30 ft.

Will this work?

Probably not very well, and the light will be very harsh.

I suggest you buy and read Syl Arena's excellent book, "Speedliter's Handbook".

http://www.amazon.com/Speedliters-Handbook-Learning-Craft-Speedlites/dp/032171105X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1325480043&sr=8-1

As explained by Syl, one thing that will help you is to get a couple of pieces of wood about 5'-6' long and mount three flash units on each piece, about 2' apart. Mount each piece of wood on a stand, one on each side of the camera. This should give you enough power to use the flash units at 1/4 of full power and will give you reasonably soft light.

You don't need expensive flash units like the 430EX II for this purpose, but of course if you can borrow three to 5 more then you can use them. Inexpensive flash units like the Yongnuo YN-460 II or the even cheaper Neewer TT520 Flash Speedlite will work fine.

http://speedlights.net/2010/12/10/yongnuo-yn460-ii/

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Delectronics&field-keywords=Neewer+TT520+Flash+Speedlite

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GHwell Senior Member • Posts: 2,008
Re: the fong

It is a great diffuser when used correctly. Most people do not use it correctly and then say it is no good. The lid can be used to do the same thing the expodisc does and one lid fits all different size lens. It really comes out cheaper in the long run. the grid spot he makes is my favorite item. It really does a great job.

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