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Archive 2013 · 2 chances to flash (Gear?)
  
 
OntheRez
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p.1 #1 · 2 chances to flash (Gear?)


After carefully reading the forum rules and more precisely Carl's recent sticky on equipment I think this is the legitimate place to ask this gear related question as opposed to adhering to the presentation format for which this forum is intended.

As a few of you may remember, I shoot (and report) sports for a very small town newspaper lost in the "empty quarter" of SW Arizona. Every football venue is poorly lit and the "home" field is the worst. Shooting at ISO 25600 with an f/2.8 lens in order to get a shutter speed of at least 1/750, I am always 1 to 2 stops underexposed. I can get useable photos (at least by print standards), but a lot of NR has to be done and nothing is ever truly good.

After three years of gentle lobbying, I have received permission to "test the flash" at two home games. (Flash has been banned by the league because "It can distract the athlete with the possibility of injury." Counter arguments and extensive data haven't proved useful, thus opportunity to "test" is a hard won concession. There will be no strobes or any other such gear - just a camera mounted flash.

I've always worked with available light so I'm truly a "stranger in a strange land." What I've been able to deduce from remarks by others here is as follows: (1) mount the flash to the side or in some way on a bracket, not on top of the camera. (2) Due to recharge times no flash can keep up with burst shooting - in my case up to 10 fps. (3) Off flash battery support gives superior performance.

Beyond that I'm truly a rookie. My situation is compounded by the trial nature of this endeavor and the limited (read truly poor) nature of my market. Opponents are principally from reservation schools, other very small towns here in the desert, and at least 2 games each season against a private school up in the big city (Phoenix) which is about 140 miles away.

For those willing to counsel me, I need help with the following. (1) What sort of equipment should I purchase both the flash and the bracket keeping in mind the no budget and possibly temporary nature of this trial. (2) What sort of settings will I be looking at? Frankly this concerns me more than the equipment question. I've done some general Google searching on this question, but frankly there's a lot of disagreement and many people's experiences don't map well to mine.

For purposes of this discussion it is probably useful to note that I principally shoot a 1DIV with a 70-200mm f/2.8L II.

Any advice or shared experience would be appreciated, and Carl if I've misunderstood the rules, please move this post to the proper forum.

Robert



Jul 20, 2013 at 04:00 PM
Carl Auer
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p.1 #2 · 2 chances to flash (Gear?)


I mount my strobe to my monopod about 24" bellow the camera. Off camera cable or pocket wizards. I personally like to shoot at ISO 800, 1/250th, and about f4/4.5ish, and have the flash on manual mode around 1/4 to 1/2 power. Others will use ttl metering, and yes, a battery pack will help your flash recycle quicker.


Jul 20, 2013 at 08:13 PM
rrwingnut
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p.1 #3 · 2 chances to flash (Gear?)


Here is an article with a picture of the flash set up. Hope it helps some.
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1145337/0?keyword=flash,setup,for#10929326



Jul 20, 2013 at 10:38 PM
basehorhonda
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p.1 #4 · 2 chances to flash (Gear?)


I also use a similar set up for my night football games. I super clamp my speedlight to my mono-pod. Last few years I had a cord running from my hot shoe to the light, or I just used PW plus 2's, but this year I have picked up some PW mini and flex and I plan to use that for the fall.


Jul 21, 2013 at 05:52 PM
OntheRez
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p.1 #5 · 2 chances to flash (Gear?)


I appreciate the responses particularly with the settings you are using. Wingnut the link is quite useful. Carl, it seems that every mention here requires the use of a monopod. Perhaps it is lack of skill (true at least in part), but I've found a monpod just too slow to respond. I'm shooting 8-man ball which is played on a full sized field. That gives each player close to 20% more volume to move in when compared to 11-man. The greater area per player favors the offense and many plays are long because once an offensive player gets outside (or loose inside) there is a lot of room before he gets downed. I've tried my monopod (not a high quality one) and it just doesn't allow me to move fast enough. Is it critical that the flash mount below the camera or can a bracket to either side give the same results? Given that a new flash is in the $500 range plus whatever a bracket cost, it's getting spendy for what might be a forlorn hope.

Does anyone use or recommend any non-Canikon flashes?

Thanks for the responses,

Robert



Jul 24, 2013 at 05:48 PM
photoelle
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p.1 #6 · 2 chances to flash (Gear?)


I have a similar problem with horse show photography, being inside the show ring with the competitors, I find a monopod too clumsy and slow, as I have to move around quickly, and stay safe. So, in dark arenas I use on camera flash as a fill, with high iso on my 5DM3. I occasionally add a second off camera flash if I can find a place where it won't interfere with the horses or get blocked.

I highly recommend the 600 EX RT flash, as it will reach to 200mm, and easily expands to an off camera system with either a future second flash, or transmitter. I found having that extra reach, which the 580 EX II lacks, makes a difference. Check the Buy & Sell for a used one. Its worth the investment.

Would it be possible to have an assistant hold the flash for you during the game? I have seen brackets which allow for the flash to sit to the side of the camera, however it might not make much of a difference being only a few inches away from the lens. So, for the sake of this limited experiment, on camera flash might be ok to try, and will give you the flexibility you need.

I use Powerex rechargeable batteries in my flashes, they are powerful, and by using high iso the flash output is reduced, which gives you a very fast recycling time, without an external battery pack. Enough to get 2-6 shots in a sequence.

You won't have to change your camera settings, just add the flash, and set it to high speed sync. The flash should give you a better overall exposure, but you will still have to do NR with a 1DM4 at very high iso.



Jul 25, 2013 at 03:22 AM
cocodrillo
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p.1 #7 · 2 chances to flash (Gear?)


I've never done this, but I think the following would work as a set up for under $100.

First, get a Vivitar 285HV flash ($85 at BH Photo -- http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/61441-REG/Vivitar_233965_285HV_Flash.html). The flash has four manual power settings and at full kicks out something like 160 w/s, which means it is up there with a top end Canon flash.

Next, In the box you get a standard (short) sync cord. This is a two cable cord, so, get some wire strippers, speaker cable, electrical tape and cut and splice.

Finally, rather than a bracket, why not duct tape the flash 24 inches down your monopod, obviously aligned with the lens? Even if you don't want to use the monopod to support the camera, why not attach it anyways in its collapsed form and then use it as a 'bracket' the flash to the bottom part and then letting it 'hang' under the lens?

Lots of power options for batteries -- I like Sanyo Eneloops, but their not the cheapest. A stack of wallmart AAs while not environmentally friendly will cheaply run your test rig for a game.

The 285s are great as a blunt light source. I used to 'strobe' volleyball with them in the early 1990s, all with spliced hardwire leads shooting with a Canon T90 and Tamron 300 f2.8. I've still got a couple of 285s for the odd time I want to try and light something. With 1/2 power setting at 800 ISO you should be able to easily light things clearly out at 25-30m, which would work very well with a 70-200. Plus, the flash duration is short, being something like 1/2000th of a second (I think) at full power.

Good luck!
Sean



Jul 25, 2013 at 05:30 AM
 

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oldrattler
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p.1 #8 · 2 chances to flash (Gear?)


Congratulations on the flash test. when does football season start? Jim


Jul 27, 2013 at 10:04 AM
rolette
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p.1 #9 · 2 chances to flash (Gear?)


OntheRez wrote:
Is it critical that the flash mount below the camera or can a bracket to either side give the same results?


Results won't be as good. A side bracket will eliminate red eye, but you'll have flash shadows on the field and won't get light up under the helmet.

Jay



Jul 27, 2013 at 02:48 PM
OntheRez
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p.1 #10 · 2 chances to flash (Gear?)


oldrattler wrote:
Congratulations on the flash test. when does football season start? Jim


Jim, first game is the 8/30. I suspect at the 7:00 start time it will be about 102 and about 40% humidity. We'll all whine and drip-die together

Jay, I understand the positioning now. Thanks. Should have been able to work it out on my own. By flashing up there's a much greater chance of the player's face and the shadow would logically be behind the player. I'm looking around for maybe a used 580 EX II and a drop down bracket. Monopod just won't work for me.

Thanks for the feedback.

Robert



Jul 27, 2013 at 05:01 PM
Chad Harwick
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p.1 #11 · 2 chances to flash (Gear?)


I saw a setup on potn with three flashes mounted below on a monopod. Might be something to consider for lower power faster recycling times


Aug 02, 2013 at 02:47 AM
mfreardon
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p.1 #12 · 2 chances to flash (Gear?)


Robert,

If you reconsider the monopod, here's what I use to mount my flash to my monopod - superclamp + mini-ballhead + coiled cord. It's an inexpensive set-up that works well.

Mike



Aug 02, 2013 at 09:56 PM
Paulthelefty
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p.1 #13 · 2 chances to flash (Gear?)


Something I have used for wrestling is a grid, more to control the spill than to focus the light. It makes the flash all but invisible from the side, and therefore more palatable for picky folks... Something to consider for your situation.

Paul



Aug 04, 2013 at 07:01 PM





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