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HDR using wireless nikon flash for rim light

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Old 06-27-2011, 07:04 AM
thinkpic thinkpic is offline
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HDR using wireless nikon flash for rim light

Hi everyone,

This is my first post so I hope this is the right place for this question. I am experienced in the visual field but relatively new to flash and HDR photography.

I am trying to do a series of tripod based fine art photographs of a full sized artist dummy in various poses using HDR photography. I have a D700 and a couple of SB600 wireless flsh units. Outside of a HDR context I have no problem using the wireless Nikon system (flash on the camera set to commander with the built in flash set to -3 with the 2 groups set to ch3 and the SB600s set to C -> {flash arrow}).

In CS4 (soon to be CS5) I have been successfully automating HDR bracketted sets (shot with the shutter set to high speed continuous). Up until now I have been using available light.

However I now want to use the wireless flashes to add 2 strong rim /side lights to the dummy/subject. The dummy is already in a high contrast situation and for various cretive reasons I want to continue to use HDR.

The problem is I cannot figure out how to set the camera/SB600s so that the flash units sync/fire at a controlled and constant level as the camera (set to aperture priority) automatically brackets the exposure. (Also I have to set the camera to something other than continuous shutter as the flash needs time to re-charge).

Can this be done and if so can anyone help with this? Thanks...
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Old 06-27-2011, 07:41 AM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: HDR using wireless nikon flash for rim light

Thinkpic, not sure if you have tried Oloneo Photoengine HDR software but it contains a module called Relight. Instead of lighting the entire scene in each bracketed shot, you selectively turn on one or more light sources per frame. Then when you run them through Relight, when the s/w merges the bracketed frames, each light source is isolated and you can change each light sources intensity and color. Not sure if this will solve your problem but you can check it out at Oloneo.com.
Regards, Murray
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Old 06-27-2011, 08:02 AM
thinkpic thinkpic is offline
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Smile Re: HDR using wireless nikon flash for rim light

Thanks I will look into it
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Old 06-27-2011, 08:15 AM
RobertAsh RobertAsh is offline
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Re: HDR using wireless nikon flash for rim light

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkpic View Post
The problem is I cannot figure out how to set the camera/SB600s so that the flash units sync/fire at a controlled and constant level as the camera (set to aperture priority) automatically brackets the exposure. (Also I have to set the camera to something other than continuous shutter as the flash needs time to re-charge).

Can this be done and if so can anyone help with this? Thanks...
Have you tried setting your flashes to Manual mode? In Manual mode the flashes should put out the same amount of light every time they flash, then you adjust your aperture larger or smaller to over- or under-expose the image as you prefer.

Or am I misunderstanding your question?
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:13 PM
TheDrift- TheDrift- is offline
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Re: HDR using wireless nikon flash for rim light

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Originally Posted by RobertAsh View Post
Have you tried setting your flashes to Manual mode? In Manual mode the flashes should put out the same amount of light every time they flash, then you adjust your aperture larger or smaller to over- or under-expose the image as you prefer.

Or am I misunderstanding your question?
+1 that was what I was thinking too
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:47 PM
thinkpic thinkpic is offline
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Re: HDR using wireless nikon flash for rim light

Thanks for your suggestion but something strange is hapenning. With autobracketing turned off, in the camera's commander menu I set group A to "M" at 1/4 strength. I then set the camera to M with a speed of 1/250th. The wireless SB600 (set to group A) was set up to the side of the subject. I took an exposure. I then changed the shutter speed on the camera to 1/50th and took another shot. The exposure did not appear to change. The metadata shows the speed change from 1/250th to 1/50th but also strangely shows the aperture to have shifted from f5.6 to f5.3 and exposure compensation to have shifted from nothing at 1/50th to +2 at 1/50th. I have duplicated this experiment twice with the same result. Immediately after taking the first exposure the aperture and exposure compensation have automatically reset for the second shot. I never touched either!

Stranger than strange.....I can't figure out what's going on??? Anybody???
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Old 06-27-2011, 07:08 PM
TheDrift- TheDrift- is offline
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Re: HDR using wireless nikon flash for rim light

I shoot canon so i don't know a lot about nikons, are you shooting the camera and the flash in manual? Sounds like full manual is the way to go here?
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Old 06-27-2011, 07:12 PM
RobertAsh RobertAsh is offline
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Re: HDR using wireless nikon flash for rim light

Stay in full manual mode for both camera and flash like it seems you're doing, that's the right thing to do. Then you need to change your aperture, not your shutter speed.

--Aperture controls the brightness of the flash.
--Shutter speed controls the brightness of the ambient light.

You use longer shutter speeds if you want to mix some of the ambient light in with the flash, e.g. the background light from a room or a landscape or background outside. You use shorter shutter speeds if you want to black out the ambient light and light only with the flash.
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Old 06-27-2011, 07:47 PM
thinkpic thinkpic is offline
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Re: HDR using wireless nikon flash for rim light

Thanks for that.I didn't know this but in this case I don't think this will work. won't changing the aperture change the depth of field? I need all of the images to be identical for the HDR to work properly.

Also, out of curiosity I wonder why, when a) the camera is set in manual mode b) the built-in flash is up and set to commander and c) the flash group is set to manual, the camera is automatically changing aperture and exposure compensation?
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Old 06-27-2011, 07:56 PM
RobertAsh RobertAsh is offline
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Re: HDR using wireless nikon flash for rim light

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Originally Posted by thinkpic View Post
Thanks for that.I didn't know this but in this case I don't think this will work. won't changing the aperture change the depth of field? I need all of the images to be identical for the HDR to work properly.

Also, out of curiosity I wonder why, when a) the camera is set in manual mode b) the built-in flash is up and set to commander and c) the flash group is set to manual, the camera is automatically changing aperture and exposure compensation?
Ok. Then change your flash output to 1/2 or 1/4 power or whatever works from one shot to the next, or change your ISO. And your flashes should not be changing their light output if you wait until they're fully charged before making another exposure.

I think you have to still have something still set to some auto-setting. If you're shooting with your camera set to M and your flashes on full Manual mode with no flash or exposure compensation in the camera or any of the flashes then your camera shouldn't be changing aperture, shutter speed or ISO.

That said, i have had issues with the Commander mode of my D300 on-camera flash actually adding light to the scene at very close distances, which is why I now use Pocket Wizards. I use studio strobes much more than small flashes so I haven't bothered to figure out what's causing that, but I really should get to the bottom of it before I really need multiple small flashes for something....

Last edited by RobertAsh; 06-27-2011 at 08:29 PM.
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