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What happened to my bounce?

DVDMike

Metro Atlanta, US
2225 posts

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DVDMike Registered since 25th Mar 2003
Wed 16-Jan-08 01:18 PM

I had a strange and frustrating problem happen while shooting last night. I was shooting a reception in a large room with about 20 foot ceilings. The ceilings were painted black. I was using a D2X and a D200 each with their own SB-800's attached on the hot shoe and each with their own quantum turbo battery. I was mostly using the 17-55DX lens with the D200 and the 28-70 f/2.8 on the D2X.

During the first half of the reception, everything with the flash system appeared to be working well with both cameras. I was bouncing off of the ceiling and producing great evenly lit shots. But later in the evening, my D200 started to produce shots that were not properly lit, see the example below of a D2X shot. The SB-800 would read "-3" on the display immediately following the shot. The shot was not properly exposed. I was usually shooting around 500 ISO at around 1/50 at about f/4.

After swapping out the SB-800 for fresh AA batteries, the problem still occurred. I swapped another SB-800 and the problem occurred. I swapped lenses on the D200 and the problem occurred. Thinking that it must have been a D200 problem, I went on shooting with the D2X.

Later, the D2X had the same problem, see example below. I would get SB-800 readings of -2 to -4 after the shot and photos were dark in the LCD. I swapped SB-800's (I have three) and even tried both of my SB-600's and the results were the same, underexposed. All the while I was shooting with a bounce. I tried with the diffuser on and off with the same results. Finally, I resorted to direct flash strait at the subjects with the diffuser and the results were as expected, properly exposed but with undesirable shadows. The D200 worked in this fashion with direct flash as well.

I would have thought that the ceiling was just too high or that the black color was bot reflecting my flash except that for the first half of the night all shots were perfect. And after looking at the sample image, it looks like the light is not bouncing fulling into frame. What could have happened to change how both cameras were functioning? What else could I have done to remedy the situation other than to stop bouncing?

I would appreciate any incite into what might have happened and how to prevent / fix the problem. I suspect that it must be user error since it was working and stopped with two cameras and multiple flash units and with fresh batteries. So if anyone can point to the problem, I would be very grateful.

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Attachment#1 (jpg file)

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