Software Engineer

learning curve

· by jsnby · Read in about 3 min · (496 Words)

It seems that there’s quite a learning curve to this photography stuff. I thought I was doing well. I had some gear, a light stand, some cheap radio triggers, two flashes, etc. I had filled my head with stuff from the Strobist blog. Now, it was time to see if I was going to be able to put into play anything that I had learned.

I started off by inviting Jenny and Eric over for dinner. It’s nice to be able to pay my favorite models with food 🙂

I had made a backdrop out of some muslin and fabric dye, so I cleared some furniture and hung it against the back wall of our apartment. Unfortunately, it was in front of a window, so I had to wait for it to get a bit dark before the light from outside would stop coming through the fabric.

I clamped my SB-600 with a grid snoot on it to the support above  the backdrop. The plan was to use this as a hair light and trigger it using Nikon’s CLS. I set up my Vivitar 285HV firing into my umbrella on a light stand on camera right. I connected it to a radio trigger. I put the transmitter on the hotshoe of my camera.

Here’s where I ran into my first problem. I still don’t have the right equipment to hook my SB-600 up to my radio triggers. It seems that everyone is out of hotshoe to 18” mono or PC sync cable type devices with 14”-20 threads on the bottom.  So, I was going to trigger the SB-600 with CLS. I set the camera into commander mode,  powered down the flash to 1//32 and went to pop up the built-in flash on my camera. Drat! I couldn’t pop it up enough due to the radio transmitter. I now had no way of triggering the SB-600.

So, here I was, trying to take portraits/headshots with one strobe. This was a bummer to me because I had been thinking I was going to be lighting with two strobes the entire time.

I quickly rethought my strategy, and transformed Eric into an assistant by handing him a piece of white foam core. I was using it as a reflector. I think I’m going to cover one side with foil because it didn’t seem to work too well.

Overall, I might have gotten a shot(maybe two), but I made the mistake of shooting with what I think was too high of an aperature value. I could have compensated by adjusting the ISO, but I’m not sure why I didn’t. Perhaps I should adjust the brighness of the LCD on the back of my camera.

Instead of wasting Jenny’s time, I’m going to be practicing a lot in the next week or two with Laura’s large sized stuffed Minnie Mouse. Then, I’ll have Jenny back over and we’ll try it all again. I’ll also find a way to trigger that SB-600.