Old 11-26-2010, 10:24 PM   #1
Soo 6060
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Default Night Photography.

Hey guys,

With Christmas coming up, I thought that this might be my oppertunity to try and score some (night) flash photography equiptment. I know very little about external flashes but basically, I want something that would enable me to do a shot like this:

Image © Travis Dewitz
PhotoID: 346061
Photograph © Travis Dewitz


How much would a piece of equiptment like this cost, what's the best brand, etc?

Thanks.
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Old 11-27-2010, 03:16 PM   #2
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That's not one piece of equipment, that's multiple flashes set around the scene. $500 is a good starting point for a bare bones system, but more flashes, better equipment, radio triggers and tripods will push the bar higher.

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Old 11-27-2010, 03:38 PM   #3
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Chris, where are you getting stuff that cheap? IIRC, last time I looked $500 worth of Alien Bees gear got you one flash head and the battery pack to power it. Radio slaves, light stands, reflectors, etc, all extra.

I have no idea how many flash units Travis and John used for that shot (maybe they could chime in), but I count five.
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Old 11-27-2010, 03:40 PM   #4
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Cheap speedlights are your friend.
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Old 11-27-2010, 05:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paolo Roffo View Post
Chris, where are you getting stuff that cheap? IIRC, last time I looked $500 worth of Alien Bees gear got you one flash head and the battery pack to power it. Radio slaves, light stands, reflectors, etc, all extra.

I have no idea how many flash units Travis and John used for that shot (maybe they could chime in), but I count five.
Quote:
Originally Posted by trainboysd40 View Post
Cheap speedlights are your friend.
Matt nailed it. John uses cheap speedlights and Chinese radio triggers for his equipment. He discussed his equipment and the setup of the first few trial shots in an ObsCar post a few months back.

An example of a more expensive setup is Steve Barry's new night rig, consisting of 4 Alien Bees, triggers and 2 batteries (easily over $2000 total), that he used for these shots:

Image © Steve Barry
PhotoID: 336612
Photograph © Steve Barry

Image © Steve Barry
PhotoID: 336621
Photograph © Steve Barry

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Old 11-27-2010, 06:29 PM   #6
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Depending on the scene, you can get by with 1 Canon flash. My 580EXII on Chases 7d

Image © Chase Gunnoe
PhotoID: 333627
Photograph © Chase Gunnoe


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Old 11-27-2010, 07:22 PM   #7
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If you have the ISO to go with it, Loyd. Anyone remember my thread a few weeks ago? (its ok if you don't)
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Old 11-27-2010, 07:32 PM   #8
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What camera are you using? You will have to have fairly wide aperature and high ISO to get results if you are only using one or two flash units.
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Old 11-27-2010, 11:34 PM   #9
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I will give you one word - Yongnuo. They have flashes and triggers and both are really good for the price. I think we had 2 or 3 580EXs also in the mix.

Image © Travis Dewitz
PhotoID: 322881
Photograph © Travis Dewitz


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Old 11-28-2010, 01:00 AM   #10
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I'm currently working with ten flash units (4 Canon, 6 Yongnuo), a set of Yongnuo radio slaves, and some cheap eBay tripods. Not the best equipment; not the worst equipment. I'd like to get some AlienBees in the future.

Past results:

Image © John Ryan
PhotoID: 316057
Photograph © John Ryan

Image © John Ryan
PhotoID: 322215
Photograph © John Ryan

Image © John Ryan
PhotoID: 329855
Photograph © John Ryan


Latest photo:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/j-r-photo/5105929311/

Lots and lots of trial and error is involved in creating an images like these. It isn't easy and it isn't cheap, and the best way to learn how to do it is to either shadow someone who has it figured out or to go out there and start doing. It took about four shots before I was able to come up with anything remotely acceptable, and I picked up a lot of knowledge from Mel Patrick and Ryan Parent. I'm still learning and have a long way to go, so I'm not really the best to espouse advice here.
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Old 11-28-2010, 02:13 AM   #11
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All of the following shots were fired using pocket wizard plus II. I also put how many lights I used so you can see what you can accomplish with different amounts of light.


Three Nikon speed lights:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphot...=326694&nseq=5
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphot...=333612&nseq=2

Four Nikon speed lights
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphot...=327333&nseq=3

One large metz light:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphot...237978&nseq=39
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphot...237977&nseq=40


Two Alien bees and 1 white lighting:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphot...216299&nseq=48


Pete Lerro

Last edited by lerro984; 11-28-2010 at 02:13 AM. Reason: Forgot to put my name on it. Sorry.
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Old 11-28-2010, 05:29 PM   #12
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Default Light stands

Here's a really good source for light stands.

http://www.photographerswarehouse.com/

Look at the clearance B stock. I bought 5 8 foot stands recently for $10.00 each. The clamps cost about the same as the stands. They will work with speedlights, don't know about larger heads.

I'm still in the very beginning mode of night shooting, and can't say if my approach is going to work with a train in the "wild" so to speak, but to avoid the cost of radio controled flashes, I've wired 5 Nikon flashes together. I'm getting good results in my back yard tests at home, but dunno how well it work out in the field.

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Old 11-28-2010, 06:37 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the advice guys. I'll look into everything that was suggested.
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Old 11-29-2010, 03:30 AM   #14
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John, where does one acquire Yongnuo equipment? I did a quick search on Adorama's and B&H's site, and neither appears to stock them. Plenty on eBay, however.

What is your opinion of the gear in terms of reliability and durability? You state above that they're neither the best nor the worst equipment for the job, I assume that's based on some field experience.
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Old 11-29-2010, 01:40 PM   #15
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Shop ebay. They are really good for the price. I have used other cheaper stuff that wasn't nearly as good and I have used more expensive that was at the same level.
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