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Old 11-10-2009, 03:56 PM   #23
Walter S
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Location: West Virginia
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Originally Posted by railfanzone View Post
Very nice work, Chase! You pretty much covered the subject. I just put on a talk/how-to about night flash photography for my camera club, and I think you covered it very well.

One hint that jumps out that you didn't touch on - ditch any UV/protection filter you may have on the front of your lens. It's just another surface for light to bounce off of and cause ghosted point sources of light (street lights, headlights, etc.). I don't want to start a debate, but I never use 'em - more trouble than they're worth, IMHO, and at night that uselessness factor, to me, just quadruples.

Also, you really don't need many flashes to do night action photography. Yes, Gary Knapp's work is nothing short of beautiful, but I'm lazy, so less is more when I'm running around in the dark. I just uploaded this one I did with a single 400 watt/second Lumedyne, where the head was about 10' in the air, and about 20' behind me and to the left. (as in out of the frame). I also left the EXIF in tact if you're curious (if you're lazy - ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/160s Canon 50D with a Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC)

Image © Thomas J. Nanos -
PhotoID: 303595
Photograph © Thomas J. Nanos -

I'm still tweaking my "minimalist" method, and may add one or two more lights at some point, but I like the KISS principle - Keep It Simple Stupid.

That UV protection filter suggestion is very important to know, thanks for bringing it up Tom.

I personally think Lumedyne or the use of Alien Bees studio flash units are probably the best way to light a moving train. The use of many less powerful and expensive flashes like Gary uses just seems like it would take more time and money to get the same result.
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