Monday 1 March 2010

Nikon SU-800 Time to get flash

I have put a few opossum images up on various forums and apart from people saying that they are well lit, There were a couple of comments that as the opossum is a nocturnal animal that the images should be shown as such-maybe easier said than done, I racked my brains for a while and sat down and went through my Nikon CLS (Creative lighting system) book to see if what i had in mind was achievable with the kit i have, It all boiled down to how i set my SU-800 transmitter up and after some playing with it and some test shots i was good to go and i must say extremely impressed, What i had in mind was to be able to use 3 flash guns, 2 in the front and 1 behind but i wanted to be able to turn the back one off and use just the front ones and also to be able to turn the front ones off and just use the back one which i would position so that it back lit the animal, The back one i fitted with a better beamer to concentrate the beam, After reading the book it seemed that this was possible by the flick of a switch, There is a small switch under the battery cover that is to switch it from normal mode to macro mode-for use with the macro lighting set up, If i use the macro setting it gives me 2 groups A+B, I set the 2 flashguns in the front to group A and the rear one to group B, Now if i want to use all the flashguns i can have it set to both A+B, If i just want 1 group i press the A-B button on the back to turn off or turn on the group or simply flick the switch on the front and have full control over all the guns,I tried this the first night and it all worked well but as i had the back light at an angle i wasnt getting the full rim light effect around the opossums head so the next night i had 4 flashguns in 2 groups, I made a simple snoot out of card for the additional rear light to direct the light and stop the light bleeding into the image, This worked great, I could get front lit images,backlit images and front lit with a rim light effect, The SU 800 is a great piece if kit,easy to use and the centre of my Nikon creative system

Here is the SU800 with the front battery door open showing the small macro/normal switch on the left

with the switch set to macro the back looks like this

You can see the 2 groups A+B and the button A-B which turns the groups on or off, You can also turn the power of the flashguns up or down by using the SEL buttons, If you have the switch on the front set to normal the back of the SU800 looks like this

Now you can see that with the screen like this you can use up to 3 groups of flashguns and compensate each group as needed, Just by pressing a few buttons and a switch you can quickly change the look of your image,

Here is an image taken just using Group A, 2 front flashguns

Here is an image taken using Group B, 2 rear flashguns

Here is an image taken using Groups A+B, 4 flashguns

3 very different images taken without moving or having to touch the flashguns, Before you take images you need to have it clear in your head what you are trying to achieve so that you can position your flashguns accordingly, It was the backlit image that i was really after and it took 2 nights of fine tuning to get it


1 comment:

  1. Dave

    No.3 is very natural looking IMHO for artificial light. The firs (previously distracting)appear to fade to black, pooling the light on the oppossum, giving a tangible sort of 3D feel to the image. Excellent.

    No.2 is very intriguing and retains a lot of fur (and other) detail, for an almost silhouette. Really good - you must be very pleased with the effect - very artistic while truer to its shy nocturnal behaviour/character.