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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Flash metering

We had a great time shooting a wedding up at Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood this past weekend for Chad and Sadie. This is the third time that I have shot a wedding at Timberline, and it is one of my favorite venues.

As with most location shoots there comes a time when your equipment seems to make a different decision than you do when you push the shutter. It happens to everyone at some point. The most important thing is how you react in that situation. My number one rule is: "Don't panic." I do not always adhere to the rule, but I have it none the less.

For me it has been the way I meter and control my flashes. I have just not been able to get the consistent results that I am looking for when I use a TTL system.

Over this past summer I found myself starting out with TTL via my Nikon SU800 and found it lacking consistency from frame to frame. Have I always had this problem? Nope, not really. In some cases it works out just fine when I am looking to simply brighten a scene, or when I am in close with a single subject and want to let the background be swallowed by shadows.

I find manual metering the best way to get exactly what I want when I want. In fact I have also started to use manual control when I have my flash mounted on camera. I set my distance and just have to keep it in mind when I am following subjects. Then it is a simple matter of making minor adjustments on the fly.

This past summer I have put my Nikon SB900 up against my LumoPro LP160 and found myself switching from the Nikon to the LumoPro on just about every shoot.

I have found that the interface on the LumoPro LP160 is easier to make quick adjustments on. Not that the SB900 has a terrible control layout, but I find that simpler controls are easier.

In the TTL vs. manual battle it looks like manual is the winner for me. One exception to all of this is Nikon's Auto FP High Speed Sync. That is a fantastic feature and there are many times that I would be lost without it. And that is why I will keep my Nikon flashes, but my day to day work horse is going to stay my LumoPro LP160.

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