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finnbay

Further practice with strobes....

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OMG, what a learning curve. But the potential is unbelievable! Shot my first v-ball game with strobes tonight. Much went wrong, but some went right. A few examples:

Without strobes:

FDL1.jpg

Same settings with strobes:

FDL2.jpg

And a few more from the game:

FDL3.jpg

FDL4.jpg

FDL5.jpg

FDL6.jpg

Dan, you were pretty close to right on with your suggested settings. Two strobes bounced off of the ceiling at 1/4 power. Camera on manual, ISO 800, 1/250 sec. Was able to do some at f/4, but most were at f/3.2.

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First shot looks about correct for you non-light set up shot. I would say you might still be slightly underexposed in the next three and the last two are just about right!

You could go to ISO 1000 and see if that gives you a bit more wiggle room on aperture or bump up your flash just a 1/3 or so as well. That might get you too close to ambient though and ghosting might be a problem. If you can get to f4 you can then just use aperture to make tiny adjustments. The benefit will be less work for your flashes as well.

Or drop to ISO 640, maybe f2.8 and get a bit more room away from ambient, less ghosting. Lots of choices to experiment with.

I would say you are very close, a tweak here and there and those settings will work every time. Nice job aiming the lights, not much for visible shadows on these at all. If you shot from the floor you may see a few more shadows.

How did the batteries on the flashes hold up? Should be able to get a number of GAMES in with those power settings. Sure beats ISO 3200 1/250s and 2.8 doesn't it! You are on your way!

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Thanks Dan. Yep, still some tweaking to do, but I'm happy with the first effort. Missed a lot of shots where the light was correct but missed on a sharp focus. Messed up on batteries in one of the strobes. I put fresh batteries in one and assumed I had fresh ones in the other, but didn't. Couldn't understand why my settings needed to change until I realized the batteries were dead in one of 'em.

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A smart photographer, chimping the shots! Find those little things like dead batteries before you shoot a whole game! 70-200/2.8 on the Mark II? The other adjustment for me is not taking a short burst, I often take 2 or 3 and that just don't work with flash, except the first shot!

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The first four are with the 300 2.8, and the last one was with the 70-200 2.8. I spent an hour practicing on Monday, and another hour practicing on Tuesday before the game and I guess I had used the batteries more the week before than I had thought. I had batteries along and just should have put 'em in. Always learning, always learning....

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More about this in the sticky at the top of the forum under photography basics. Couple of things I learned:

The photos Dan suggests are still a little underexposed are at the far end of the range where I had the reflected light trained - the farther from the focus point of light, the less exposure you have. You really have to anticipate shots. I usually shoot a burst during a game and have included in the 3-5 photos the one I want. With strobes, you have to get what you want with the first shot. I missed a ton last night because I was either too early, or too late. Also, in regards to batteries, I now recall in the strobe that went dead, I had used those batteries to shoot last week when I was playing with HSS - hence the short battery life!

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Ah, the HSS bit you! That is a battery eater. Makes sense what you said on the three shots that look a bit underexposed, at the end of the flash range. Also why you didn't get shadows for the most part. I would try and redirect the flashes to get them a bit more on the subject, even though you may get more shadows. You will get more pop to your colors that way as well. Can't wait to see the next round!

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Quote:
Are you aiming the strobes at the ceiling directly above the area you will be shooting?

Yes. There is a balcony that runs it's course around our gym. I have the strobes in the balcony, just to the home side of the net and angled off of the ceiling so that the bounce should be strongest in the middle front of the home court. I have pretty good coverage over that entire half of the gym, but as you can see, it fades just a bit as you get behind the service line. Tweaking there to find the best spot for the most coverage. I learned a lot last night. Hope to get more good shots at the next game.

Should also note, in the one shot of #11 at the net, the background is a long ways away out of the strobes' range so background is dark while the subject get lit up pretty well.

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I can't speak for Ken but when I use flash or strobes I angle them to bounce back at about the top of the key in basketball. Some gyms I've aimed the flash on a back wall and bounced them back out, just depends on the gym.

There are so many combinations of aiming lights, on floor, back wall, balcony on a railing, mounting in ceiling. Big arenas normally use a four light system direct aim giving fairly even coverage.

I've not used flash for VB, not allowed in the venues were I've shot.

Let me add one other thing that hasn't been mentioned in any of the flash threads the last week or so. Do not start mounting flashes or strobes on stands, balconies or anywhere unless you are carrying liability insurance! Really this is a big one, you don't want to risk any injuries by falling lights, tripping over cords, broken bulbs, someone crashing into a light stand unless you carry a separate business liability insurance policy. My company carries a two million dollar liability policy minimum and some AD's I've worked with require a copy of that before I set up in any gym. Ken is familiar with all these things but I just wanted to mention this before someone runs out and starts throwing lights up in a gym.

Don't risk losing house, home, boat and everything you own for photograph! Warning is now over... continue on.

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Dan's absolutely correct about the insurance. I also carry $2 million in liability for my business.

I will have to re-position my lights during basketball, and will probably start by focusing on the top of the key as Dan does. Two of the basketball coaches were at the game last night and I asked them whether the flash off of the ceiling would be a distraction and both said they didn't even realize I was shooting. Talked to the players as well and they didn't have any problems with them as well.

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