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Thread: Wide-angle flash for outdoor nights, or poorly-lit ballrooms

  1. #1

    Question Wide-angle flash for outdoor nights, or poorly-lit ballrooms

    I am trying to think of good techniques that can capture the full vibrant scene of outdoor night or poorly-lit events at wide angles.

    In my previous experiences, flash fitted with wide-angle plate or diffuser is usually still not enough to illuminate an entire ballroom nicely, and certainly cannot brighten the outdoor environment. Depending on the size and configuration of a ballroom, i may still be able to get away with bouncing flash around walls or ceiling. But usually the far end of the background remains dark and poorly lit.

    Alternative attempts is to utilise 2nd/rear curtain sync and allowing the shutter go slower than the set flash sync speeds (typical Aperture mode). This allows the cam to capture dark/night scene as seen by human eye while lighting up the foreground subjects at the last moment to freeze their "final state". Of course this is subject to plenty of handshake and motion blurs, and images won't be as sharp as with fast shutter speeds.

    What are some other ways to capture decently stop-motion pictures in dark open spaces?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Wide-angle flash for outdoor nights, or poorly-lit ballrooms

    Hi Bro,

    Even with 10 flash you would not be able to lite up the whole ballroom. I suggest you use higher ISO. Shutter to 1/30 make sure you do some push up to stable your hand. Reasonable Aperture 5.6.

    Try out and do feedback in the forum again.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Wide-angle flash for outdoor nights, or poorly-lit ballrooms

    Oh, i use ISO 2500-3200 in those situations.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Wide-angle flash for outdoor nights, or poorly-lit ballrooms

    Theres no way you can light the background.For your case, you are using a 7D and your fastest lens base on your gear is 30mm 1.4 sigma. Sigma has a unreliable AF (from my experience). If you really want the best low light shot, wide angle and the view of the whole ballroom, if money is no bar (and assuming you sticking to canon) then a 1d mk 4 with a 24 1.4mk2 will get you that shot. Shoot at iso 3200-6400 and f1.4/2.

    If base on your current gear, set yourself to ai servo af, 30 1.4 at f1.4, iso 3200. Most ballroom should have enough light to create a shutter of about 1/100 at those settings. If the subject is not moving at a fast speed, this will do. Just do multishot burst of a few frame. With AI servo, the camera af will jitter at low light but as long as 1 frame lends in the perfect af zone it will be good. Wide angle do not need to be pin point focus though.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Wide-angle flash for outdoor nights, or poorly-lit ballrooms

    Hi zeratul, actually my configuration is 10-22mm (the wide-angle setup i am worried over) on one cam, and a 70-200mm or 24-70mm on the other depending on size of environment. The 30mm f/1.4 I use for close-up familiarity portraits which I typically don't use at events. Not saying that's impossible but not my current style; it is not wide enough on crop to give the perspective I'm looking for.

    I am not carrying out pro assignments, so I do not deem 1D Mk 4 "affordable" even though I have cash. I cannot justify it as financially wise at this stage of my progression and activity rate (some already say i've gone "too deep" into this as it is).

    Anyway back to topic, since the 10-22mm does not have f/2.8 i have to compensate with flash. I guess I have to revert back to the compromise of auto-shutter speed with 2nd curtain sync to get the most vibrant results at the expense of people motion blur. :-/

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Wide-angle flash for outdoor nights, or poorly-lit ballrooms

    Quote Originally Posted by icelava View Post
    I am trying to think of good techniques that can capture the full vibrant scene of outdoor night or poorly-lit events at wide angles.

    In my previous experiences, flash fitted with wide-angle plate or diffuser is usually still not enough to illuminate an entire ballroom nicely, and certainly cannot brighten the outdoor environment. Depending on the size and configuration of a ballroom, i may still be able to get away with bouncing flash around walls or ceiling. But usually the far end of the background remains dark and poorly lit.

    Alternative attempts is to utilise 2nd/rear curtain sync and allowing the shutter go slower than the set flash sync speeds (typical Aperture mode). This allows the cam to capture dark/night scene as seen by human eye while lighting up the foreground subjects at the last moment to freeze their "final state". Of course this is subject to plenty of handshake and motion blurs, and images won't be as sharp as with fast shutter speeds.

    What are some other ways to capture decently stop-motion pictures in dark open spaces?
    You can try placing multiple strobes on lightstands all bouncing up on ceilings or on walls in strategic locations around the ballroom, all controlled by radio trigger. That will work. I see some wedding photographers do that to get a certain shot they want. Big ballroom, maybe 8-10 strobes?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Wide-angle flash for outdoor nights, or poorly-lit ballrooms

    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil123 View Post
    Big ballroom, maybe 8-10 strobes?
    wah. maybe i'll consider that if I go pro.

    Not too sure how that works when outdoors though....

  8. #8
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wide-angle flash for outdoor nights, or poorly-lit ballrooms

    Quote Originally Posted by icelava View Post
    wah. maybe i'll consider that if I go pro.

    Not too sure how that works when outdoors though....
    Maybe can try light stands with reflector arms holding up 1.6m reflectors? Flashes on radio triggers bouncing into reflectors? totally workable...

    Or just rent some continuous lights from a company like Camwerks. some blondies will be good...
    Last edited by daredevil123; 2nd October 2010 at 05:57 PM.

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