Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Afternoon In The Park"

"Afternoon In The Park"
© David A. Ziser

Here is one more image from last week's shoot. It demonstrates what can be accomplished in super bright noon-day sun. Nothing extraordinary, just a nice portrait that can be achieved easily on the wedding day. The trick is to keep the sun behind the subjects. That keeps their faces in shade. Then all we have to do is get the proper lighting on their faces and we are good to go. The off-camera flash supplied the loop lighting to our couple's faces with the long lens creating a nice background for the image. Camera specs: Canon 40D fitted with 70-300mm DO IS lens at 180mm, F8.0 @ 1/400 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! -David


  1. Hi David, excellent photo!! Love the effect!!! You sync your flash at 1/400, is it possible to do this kind of effect with a pair of pocket wizards, Canon 580ex and a 5D? The X-sync speed only goes up to 1/200. What is the best setting for my equipments if I want something like this? Thank you.

  2. Hi David,

    As always nice photo. How far is the camera from the subject? Also are you using the Quantum Flash in this shot.

    @Anonymous, Yes you can do it with a pair of PWs. However, it will only work in sunlight, not indoors. The flash (which is uneffected by shutter speed) acts like a spot light. The sun (which is affected by shutter speed) is the house lights. the shutter is like a dimmer switch for the house lights. If you want the house lights dimmer to make the spotlit subject to stand out in your shot, increase the shutter speed. Now the backgroung is slightly darker than before and the spotlit subject seems brighter.

  3. Oh and David are the Quantum settings in anyway simular to the Nikon Strobes?

  4. Hi liteningkid,

    Thank you for getting back to me. The max X-sync on the 5D is only 1/250. At that shutter speed it would not be able to "over power" the sun. Are you trying to say that I should close down the F-stop to something like F16 and increase the flash power to 1/2 or full? That makes sense. I will try that this weekend. Again thanks for your help.

  5. Hi,

    In your question you asked if you could get those syncspeeds with PWs. The answer is yes. If you are using the flash attached to the camera it will not sync past your cameras limited syncspeed(1/250). What the Pocket wizzard does is it fools the camera into thinking there is no flash involved. So now you can sync as high as your maximum shutter speed ex. (1/8000), and the PW tell the flash to fire. Adjusting the apeture is another way to do it, however you will not have the same depth of feild. It will depend on what you want to achive in the shot. If you go up to f/16 you won't have much detail in your background it will be blurred. at f/5.6 you will have more detail which is why you need the Hi sync speed to reduce ambient from the sun, remeber flash is unaffected by sync speed so just adjust the power up or down to achieve the look you want for your subject. Another option is to use shutter priority if the flash is attached to the camera. Then increase your shutter speed to 1/450 and the flash will still fire. In this situation you don't get the dramatics of directional light as in of camera flash it will act more as fill light on your subject.

    I hope I haven't confused you further and I hope this helps.

  6. Hi Liteningkid,

    Thank you for the explanation. But I thought if the F stop goes up the more the depth of field. So a F16 would have more details than a F5.6. Am I not right? And also, I don't think the PW would free the X-sync limits on the camera, at least not on a 5d. Again maybe I am not getting it. Because when I tried to up the shutter speed to more than 1/250, it gave me a black bar on the right side of the picture. Maybe I am doing something wrong. Or maybe my equipments are defective. Should I go get my equipments checked? Thanks. BTW, what equipments are you using that has no x-sync limit?

  7. Your welcome,

    Think of f/stop as pipe/lens opening. Think of light as water/ambient. f/16 is a smaller pipe because it lets less water/light in than say f/5.6 therefore, less water less depth of feild. the biggest pipe you can find is f/1.4. I know it seems backwards but that is just the way it's set up, don't ask me why. lol. If you do a test with your camera take a photo with f/16 and one with f/4 the f/16will be darker. As far as equipment goes I have a Nikon D80. It's max sync speed is 1/200 when the flash is attached to the camera. when I am not using flash the is no need for sync speed, it now becomes shutter speed since there is no flash to sync it with. If you use a flash off camera with any wireless trigger, the camera will think you are not using a flash at and will and will not limit your shutter to 1/250 because it thinks it is not syncing with a flash. Outdoors in bright sunlight the high shutter will reduce the amibiant light created by the sun. however, in doors you will get a partial image because indoor light/flash is not abundant or fast enough to expose the entire photo before the shutter starts to close thus a partial image.

  8. Hi Liteningkid,

    I think something is wrong with my camera. The background actually has less details when I shoot at F1.4 then F16, it is the opposite of what you said. It did get darker at F16. I will bring my equipment in for a check up. Thanks for your help.

  9. Noooooo,

    There is nothing wrong with your camera!!! So please don't take it any where. Depth of feild is determined by the distance of the background from the subject, and the distance of the camera from the subject. Apeture lightens or darkes the background. If the background is dark then there is less depth of feild because you cant see it and in some cases it will blur even more. In the picture in this post he used f/8 and is a considerable distance from the subject and the background therefore giving a sharper depth of feild. If he were closer the background would blur even more @ f/8. Since he used f/8 and a high shutter/sync speed the background is darker. However, if he'd used f/4 you would see more detail in the white stairs and the hill past the shadows. Not to be rude but there are a lot of basic things you need to know. Head over to strobist.com anb read lighting 101 and then 102 thats how I learned. Trust me it will do wonders for your base knowlegde and your photos. I am still willing to share what I know with you as well.

  10. liteningkid, I'm afraid you are the one who is a bit mixed up. I think I agree with your method, just not your reasoning. Aperature controls BOTH how much light is allowed to reach the sensor and how much of the image is in focus (depth of field). A large aperature such as F2.8 has a much smaller area of focus than a small aperature of F16. At F16, the background will likely be very much in focus.

    So Anonymous, he is right that there is nothing wrong with your camera, but wrong about why. "Aperature lightens or darkens the background" I have never heard it put that way. It is true that the background is darker if the F-stop is smaller(actually so is the foreground and the entire image),but that doesn't make it have a smaller depth of field.

    Your original question was if you should stop down the aperature since you can't synch at high speeds. That is what I would do, and if you are using a long lens you should still get a very pleasing blurred background.

    I don't have pocket wizards so I can't answer about whether they allow greater synch speeds, but I imagine that they wouldn't. Someone please correct me on this if I'm wrong.

    Also, lightningkid was incorrect about why you get a dark image at high synch speeds. It is simply because the second curtain of the shutter is beginning to close before the entire scene has had time to be lit by the flash. This can happen outdoors just as easily as indoors. David Ziser simply makes sure that his subject is not within the dark area when he is using very high synch speeds.

  11. Hi Leah,

    Thank you for straighten that out. I took my camera to my friend who has a little bit more experience, she said the same thing about F-stops and shutter speeds like what you said. BTW, when I said the "IT" got darker at F16, I meant the whole photo got darker, not just the background.


    Thank you for your kind help too.

  12. Thank you Leah,

    We all need some clarity at one point and time. In no way anonymous, was I trying to steer you wrong. When I was refering to the background I was taking into consideration that a flash would be used in the photograph and everything except what the flash illuminates will be darker.

    I'm sure I have learned some wrong information on websites because normally pros or very knowledgeable people don't respond to posts like his and I was just sharing what I've. Everything I told him someone told me. I only wish Leah had answered 2 days ago and the both of us could have benefited before I made a complete fool of myself. However, I think the is something that I will remeber the rest of my life, so that is a good thing. Sorry about the wrong info anonymous.

  13. I too have learned most of what I know from the internet, so I was actually very happy to be able to share some it with you. I'm by no means an expert, and I worred that I came across harshly-I didn't mean to.
    We seem to be the only three concerned about this topic anyway, so I doubt any of us seem foolish-there is no one else to judge us!
    Good luck with your continued learning-I for one have gotten so much from this one site alone, and it is often in the comment section that I get the best nuggest of info.


  14. Hi David!

    I absolutely love this technique! I have a wedding booked for this Saturday, portraits starting at 1pm, and am looking forward to trying this! As always, thanks for the wonderful tutorials!


  15. Hi, I`m a new photographer and I own a Canon 40D/Speedlite 430EX/EF 24-70mm 2.8L/EF-S 17-85mm.
    I`m very interested in how to get a perfect shot with flash, without loosing background, or shooting in the middle of the day with high light