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briafast

New York, US
73 posts

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briafast Silver Member Nikonian since 26th Dec 2010
Wed 15-Aug-12 02:43 PM

I am shooting with D700, Sigma, 18-200, and SB-700 for some shots of musicians performing in a park. I usually start shooting about the time the sun has set in order to get the desired effect. I want to achieve a ghost of the musicians with their instruments. For the most part I am able to get the shots I want but when I loose the sky light and darkness comes I can't seem to get this effect in spite of the 2-3 second exposures I use. The flash is set for front sync and I would think that after that during the exposure motion would be recorded but it does not happen even when I move the camera around during exposure to get far off street lights to create patterns. I change my position to include some of the background streetlights in the park and this helps get the effect I am after. If a street light is not in the frame I am faced with flat flash photos which is not my objective at all. All my logic seems to not apply to long exposures in this scenario. I really doubt it is something on the camera but I just thought I would throw this out there for some feedback. If just seems like every time I shoot with a long exposure with moving subjects I should get some kind of movement in the frame. I am also using a color gel on the flash to add some spice to these shots.

Brian Fass
Cinematographer
www.brianfass.com
Photographer
www.brianfassphotography.com
brianfass@me.com
NYC

MEMcD

US
28323 posts

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#1. "RE: right conditions" | In response to Reply # 0

MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007
Wed 15-Aug-12 04:00 PM

Hi Brian,

Why don't you try using Rear Curtain Sync.
If the ambient light level is very low once the sky gets dark you may have to slow down the shutter speed even more.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

HBB

Phoenix, US
8597 posts

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#2. "RE: right conditions" | In response to Reply # 0

HBB Moderator Hal is an expert in several areas, including CLS Awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Resources. Charter Member
Wed 15-Aug-12 04:24 PM

Brian:

I don't have any idea how much the musicians move during a three second exposure, but I'm guessing not much.

With front curtain sync, the speedlight image will be dominant. Any movement following that, and illuminated by ambient only, will likely not overpower the speedlight image.

Three suggestions:

1) You didn't indicate what aperture you were using, but try a larger aperture (smaller F-number), to give the ambient exposure a chance. Adjust shutter speed as required.

2) Switch to rear curtain sync.

3) Remove the colored gels until you can achieve the desired result without them. Then bring them back into play and modify your procedure as necessary. A red gel will pass red while blocking green and blue, a green gel will pass green while blocking red and blue, etc. The net effect is to reduce the radiant energy making it to the sensor.

Remember: If the subjects are back lit, the ambient-only illumination may not be strong enough to overpower it, thus minimizing/eliminating the motion you are trying to capture. If you are interested, I will post an image demonstrating this effect. Let me know.

If you can, tell us what aperture, shutter speed, ISO you were using and a bit about the ambient illumination: color, intensity, placement, etc.

I hope this helps a bit.

Regards,

HBB in Phoenix, Arizona
Nikonian Team Member

Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.

briafast

New York, US
73 posts

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#3. "RE: right conditions" | In response to Reply # 1

briafast Silver Member Nikonian since 26th Dec 2010
Wed 15-Aug-12 04:26 PM

I tried rear sync and got the same results

Brian Fass
Cinematographer
www.brianfass.com
Photographer
www.brianfassphotography.com
brianfass@me.com
NYC

briafast

New York, US
73 posts

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#4. "RE: right conditions" | In response to Reply # 2

briafast Silver Member Nikonian since 26th Dec 2010
Wed 15-Aug-12 04:35 PM

My settings vary a lot as I am always keeping everything adjusted to serve the shutter speed I want.

I usually shoot a shutter speed from 1-2 seconds for the most part sometimes shorter sometime longer.

ISO is usually around 400

aperture is usually around 16 aprox

I am always adjusting the aperture as the light is always change during the magic hour etc. So it is easy to adjust the aperture and I can work quickly as I need to to get the shots I want.

By the time I start shooting the sun is obscured and the light is pretty even.

Not sure what else to put.

I would like to post an image as a previous post asked for but can't seem to get them image small enough. Know any good software achieve this?

Brian Fass
Cinematographer
www.brianfass.com
Photographer
www.brianfassphotography.com
brianfass@me.com
NYC

HBB

Phoenix, US
8597 posts

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#5. "RE: right conditions" | In response to Reply # 4

HBB Moderator Hal is an expert in several areas, including CLS Awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Resources. Charter Member
Wed 15-Aug-12 04:51 PM

Brian:

F/16.0 is six full stops smaller than F.2.0, for example. This means you are getting just 1/64th as much light as you would at F/2.0. Under low-level ambient illumination, F/16.0 is working against you.

Regards,

HBB in Phoenix, Arizona
Nikonian Team Member

Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.

briafast

New York, US
73 posts

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#6. "RE: right conditions" | In response to Reply # 5

briafast Silver Member Nikonian since 26th Dec 2010
Wed 15-Aug-12 07:37 PM

So I guess the only way to achieve what I want to to lower the ISO to say 100 and maybe even use some NDs?

Brian Fass
Cinematographer
www.brianfass.com
Photographer
www.brianfassphotography.com
brianfass@me.com
NYC

HBB

Phoenix, US
8597 posts

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#7. "RE: right conditions" | In response to Reply # 6

HBB Moderator Hal is an expert in several areas, including CLS Awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Resources. Charter Member
Wed 15-Aug-12 09:18 PM

Brian:

Lowering the ISO and using ND filters will both reduce the light reaching the sensor even more.

The goal here is to increase the amount of ambient illumination reaching the sensor while the shutter is open. You have two choices:

1) Increase the aperture (smaller F/number). Each one-stop increase (F/16.0 to F/11.0 for example) will double the amount of light reaching the sensor while the shutter is open.

2) Increase the ISO (larger number). Each one-stop equivalent increase in ISO (ISO 400 to ISO 800 for example) will effectively increase the sensitivity of the sensor by a factor of two, which means that only one-half as much light is required for an acceptable exposure.

Remember: You are trying to capture two exposures on one frame:

1) The musicians while in motion under ambient illumination while the shutter is open. Under dim ambient illumination this exposure is controlled by slow shutter speed, which you are already doing, and larger aperture and/or faster ISO, which you are not doing.

2) The musicians frozen at the end of the shutter interval by the speedlight. If you have selected an aperture to maximize light passage through the lens and a faster ISO for exposure 1), this exposure is controlled entirely by the power level setting of the speedlight.

Your goal is to balance the shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and speedlight power setting to achieve the desire effect. Your present approach is not providing enough light to capture the ambient exposure of the musicians in motion.

Suggestion:

1) Manually set your shutter to three seconds, your aperture to F/2.0, and your ISO to 6400.

2) Capture an image without using the speedlight.

3) Analyze the image for exposure and motion. If motion is okay, leave shutter speed alone. If image is under-exposed, increase ISO if possible, and repeat. If image is over-exposed, select next smaller aperture and/or next slower ISO, and repeat.

4) When aperture, shutter speed and ISO are producing an acceptable ambient illumination only image, leave them alone and proceed to step 5).

5) Place your speedlight in manual mode, at M1/8, three stops down from full power. Capture an image and examine the speedlight exposure only. If it is under-exposed, increase the power level to M1/4, two stops down from full power, and repeat. If it is over-exposed, decrease the power level to M1/16, four stops down from full power, and repeat.

6) When the speedlight exposure is producing the desired image of the musicians at the end of the shutter interval, stop. At this point, you should have the desired image of the musicians in motion under the ambient illumination, and their images frozen by the speedlight.

7) Adjust ambient and speedlight exposures to your taste using the above procedures.

8) Find a willing subject to practice with, prior to the session. Remember, ambient illumination is changing rapidly at dusk/sunset, so you will have to work fast.

With a bit of practice, things should come together for you.

Regards,

HBB in Phoenix, Arizona
Nikonian Team Member

Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.

Slohand1

Los Angeles, US
529 posts

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#8. "RE: right conditions" | In response to Reply # 7

Slohand1 Basic Member
Thu 16-Aug-12 01:30 AM

HBB:

Excellent advice as always.

Marty

briafast

New York, US
73 posts

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#9. "RE: right conditions" | In response to Reply # 7

briafast Silver Member Nikonian since 26th Dec 2010
Thu 16-Aug-12 05:16 PM

Sounds good to me. I just needed someone to clear the air around me. I was so caught up in keeping any exposure for the shutter speed I lost sight of what was needed to get my goal. I will try to report back with my results

Brian Fass
Cinematographer
www.brianfass.com
Photographer
www.brianfassphotography.com
brianfass@me.com
NYC

HBB

Phoenix, US
8597 posts

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#10. "RE: right conditions" | In response to Reply # 8

HBB Moderator Hal is an expert in several areas, including CLS Awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Resources. Charter Member
Thu 16-Aug-12 10:23 PM

Marty:

Thank you.

I appreciate your kind words.

Regards,

HBB in Phoenix, Arizona
Nikonian Team Member

Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.

briafast

New York, US
73 posts

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#11. "RE: right conditions" | In response to Reply # 10

briafast Silver Member Nikonian since 26th Dec 2010
Fri 17-Aug-12 09:13 PM

One thing I meant to mention is that I was trying this technique during the day on bicycles in the same park where I shoot the musicians.

I had no problems attaining the look I wanted with those lighting conditions. It became clearer from your comments that the abundance of light was helping attain this effect.

At least I hope I am grasping what your information is leading me to.

During the day I have to stop down the aperture to accommodate the slow shutter speed and also the ISO is at its lowest

I even had to use an ND to get a good exposure

With all this the effect was very apparent when I was shooting the bicyles

This weekend I should be able to test out the new info on the musicians.

Brian Fass
Cinematographer
www.brianfass.com
Photographer
www.brianfassphotography.com
brianfass@me.com
NYC

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