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DownplaneDave

FLASH set ups

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I'm wanting to incorporate a flash on my helmet and was wondering if anyone could post some thoughts and pictures of their setups. I have a BH FTP and my still (Canon Rebel XS) is mounted inverted on an extended plate. So I have plenty of room on the top to mount a flash. My video camera is mounted in a Terry Schumacher box. I was leaning towards the Canon Speedlight for the flash but was wondering what little things I might need to keep in mind when setting this up. Cables, mounting issues / types / ideas, metering and hot shoes / accessories. Any ideas or advice would be help. Thanks

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Here's how I did mine. I mounted the flash to a small CF sled that was compatible with my quick releases set-up so I could mount it a number of ways.

And here was another question on this forum about this topic.

You will need a off-camera shoe cord from Canon or others. There is a 1/4-20 screw hole on the bottom of the flash cord, and that is easy enough to adapt to a mount. Use a strap of some sort over the front of the flash to keep it secure. (And it is a good thing your front mounted camera is inverted because otherwise the shoe cord might show up on your video image.) The flash can be flattened to keep the height down and the weight lower. Just make sure you mount it so you can access the settings and the batteries (using a fill flash in daylight can eat up batteries). Also, when flattened, the flash defaults to a medium angle of coverage. You will need to over ride this to make sure you get flash coverage compatible with whatever lens you use. This is doable on the 580EX, not sure if you can do it on the 430EX.

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Are you guys shooting these ETTL or manual? When you flatten them out they usually hit much harder on ETTL (assuming it has to bounce), and I would think that would be too much when you are really shooting straight on.

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If you are only using a sync (pc) cord, then you can't shoot ETTL. However, when when you do shoot ETTL, the flash doesn't automatically "hit" harder to bounce. Instead it actually fires a very fast pre-flash and measures the light coming off of the subject before setting the appropriate flash level; all of this happens when you press the shutter fully. (This obviously happens extremely fast, it is amazing when you think of it how fast they have to fire, measure, adjust, and fire for effect, but that's what they do.)

The only thing that changes automatically when you "flatten" or straighten the flash bounce head, is it disables the auto-zoom feature, and its coverage angle narrows to the equivalent of what is needed for a 50mm lens (on a full-frame sensor). This would normally be too narrow for the wide-angle lenses typically used for skydiving. However, you can override this on newer flashes like the 580X, and manually set the flash coverage.

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For those of you that are jumping with an externally mounted flash for your still camera. I've found generally better results by stepping down flash exposure by two thirds or so.

Anyone else have a similar experience.



I agree, I don't like the "blown out" flash images. I love it for basic filling in the shadows.. although, sometimes you have to rely on just flash :P

I attached my setup, its an old picture, the still camera is upgraded to the 40D.

The other shot is a "sunset photo" :)

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it all depends on what you want. I use full manual- camera and flash. (that is how I can use the PC cords) I have a canon camera, and nikon flashes. I don't use TTL. The camera only tells the flash WHEN to fire, not WHAT to fire. I do that ahead of time. It gets tricky sometimes though, but the results can be good........
My O.C.D. has me chasing a dream my A.D.D. won't let me catch.

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in regard to flash setups... I've been considering setting up a litepanel and was curious if anyone other then DSE has set one up and/or had any thoughts on configuring one.

I'm pretty sure I can figure it out... however since it showed up on the market there is now a slightly larger version LitePanel MicroPro/MicroPro Hybrid and was curious if these were also configurable on the front of a FTP?

Any thoughts?

Scott
Livin' on the Edge... sleeping with my rigger's wife...

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I've been considering setting up a litepanel...



No experience, but I am considering this week buying a Lowel Blender. I read a comparison review (just one guy's opinion) and the reviewer seemed to think Lite-Panels has been passed in this new arena (his favorite was the Zylite, but i have had good experiences with Lowel products before, and I like the idea of the mixed lighting controls). I'm not intending the light for skydiving work, but lots of stuff I bought for non-skydiving activities has ended up on my head at some point.

P.S. I like that I can power it with Sony Camcorder batteries that I already own too!

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You can always give your flash to an assistant.:P

Indirect light may improve your photos substatially. Personally I dont always want to kill the shadows with a fill flash. In some situations, e.g. shooting against the light, I do use direct flash. However, Im trying to learn place my self in the right angle with the sunlight rather than always shoot with fill flash. Shadows are not my enemy, they are my friend.

I consider light as the most important part of taking a photo. Its like the paint, to a painter. The way the paint is applied to the canvas makes the biggest difference.

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Are you sure about the disabling of the zoom? Mine's laid flat and is generally used with a 20mm, and zooms open to that amount...or it's widest setting (can't remember what that is). Of, if you pull down the dispersing screen, it goes to it's widest position.

http://www.linestretch.net/2010/1/slides/IMG_2530.html

This was done w/ the dispersing screen down (sorry, sure it's called something else), and you can see there's coverage of my leg. This is a 15mm on a full frame.


Diffuser, that's what it's called.
my pics & stuff!

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Thanks. I really enjoy taking pics, and as far as the freefall photog goes... I am working on it!

I learned to take pictures skydiving...then I got out of the sport a few years and learned more and more. I started doing the studio work/live music pics and all that on the side and for fun. Now I'm back in skydiving and back with a camera on my head. It's going full circle! I've been doing mostly video, and I just finished up getting my stills setup back up and running this week.

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Are you sure about the disabling of the zoom?



On the flashes I have used. It is an actual motor that moves the flash closer to or farther from the flash lens, and you can even hear it (and sometimes see it displayed on the flash). Connect the flash normally (i.e., no bounce) to the camera body with a Canon wide-angle lens mounted on it. When you flip the head up to a bounce position, you will hear the zoom motor move the head. Again, some models (specifically the 430EX, 550EX, and 580EX and maybe others) will allow you to manually override this automatic setting.

As far as the image you posted, I don't see any evidence of the flash hitting your leg. You leg is getting a lot of direct sunlight however, so any flash would be very hard to see. It also doesn't look like it is hitting the side of the rig of the guy who is outside float.

BTW, there is a very comprehensive review/manual on Canon flashes technology found here. Well worth spending a night with if you want to do a lot of work with flashes. It is three very long, text-filled web pages, but full of useful info.

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This was done w/ the dispersing screen down... Diffuser, that's what it's called.



That thing is called a catchlight reflector. It is used when in bounce mode to reflect a little of the flash directly at the subject, and helps to get that "twinkle in the eye" of your subject. Related to an earlier post, this is one of the reasons I am thinking of getting an LED light for my video. Just to add a little light in the eyes of an interview subject who is lit with ambient light, or a standard 3-light set up.

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This was done w/ the dispersing screen down... Diffuser, that's what it's called.



That thing is called a catchlight reflector. It is used when in bounce mode to reflect a little of the flash directly at the subject, and helps to get that "twinkle in the eye" of your subject. Related to an earlier post, this is one of the reasons I am thinking of getting an LED light for my video. Just to add a little light in the eyes of an interview subject who is lit with ambient light, or a standard 3-light set up.



I don't think he's talking about the catchlight (which is the white card thing) he's talking about the translucent plastic diffuser that's built into a lot of speedlights (I have, and have only really used, a canon 580EX and it has both a built in diffuser and a catchlight card)

I haven't used my flash much in freefall but on the ground I use either the catchlight card or a separate dome diffuser. I'm not a big fan of the built in flip down one.

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Here you can see that the flash shows it's a 17mm when the diffuser is flipped down (24mm when not). It's pretty much useless unless you're very close. And your right, the flash doesn't match the zoom of the lens when laid flat, but you can adjust it manually.
my pics & stuff!

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