Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Radio Poppers Outdoors

I, like many intermediate pros, have struggled to balance background with subject exposure.  Two years ago it was bare 430 flash on my Canon camera.  Last year it was the same flash with a modifier, but still the front light and flatness.

This year it's the RadioPoppers powering a remote 430 flash on a stand, commanded by the 580 flash on my camera, which contributes no light to the exposure.  The 430 has been hitting an umbrella, or bare light.  In these shots, it's naked bulb.

I start by metering for the background less sun, backing off a bit and setting WB to flash.  Then I dial in the flash exposure comp on TTL to give me the right exposure on the remote fired 430. I'm usually at about ISO 100, 1/250 sec, and F/5.6 to F/8.  And the flash comp is +2 or so.

In the first image, the flash is a bit weak (being 15-20 feet away), but still works nicely.  In the second case, it is clearly off to camera right at about 10 feet, and casts a nice shadow off to the left.  I push the Saturation quite a bit at sunset time, and this image came off well.

My main gripe with the Poppers is their appetite for AAA batteries.  Tonight I had to rob from my little LCD flashlight to get the sunset session to work.  If you keep batteries in the poppers, they will die on their own.  Especially the transmitter.

But overall I'm getting more comfortable with the Poppers and I think they will do very well for me.  Especially when I power one more flash so I can do rim and main light for individuals and couples after dark. I'll be honest that when shooting alone, I punt and go for the camera mounted flash, but with an assistant and out of wedding mode, I tend to play more.  By the end of this season, I think I'll have it right!

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