Getting a catchlight while shooting at ƒ/1.8 outside

Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/1250

I love catchlight in the eyes for portraits. I think it brings out the life and vibrance in a person.

To accomplish this I used a flash. Now the other thing that I had to do is figure out how to shoot with a flash at ƒ/1.8 outside in the sunlight. This is where High Speed Shutter Sync does the trick. This is when you can take a photo using a flash at any shutter speed and are not locked into the sync speed of 1/250.


I always start with the off camera flash 45º to the left or right of the subject. If their body is facing left then that is the side the light will be placed.

The light is generally 45º above their head. I look to see if the flash causes a shadow that hits their lips. If it does I then lower the light till the shadow is just off the lips of the person. This can also be controlled by lowering of raising the subject’s chin. So you have to be aware of light placement throughout the photo shoot as you most likely will have them move their head around.


This is my setup. I have an Alienbees B1600 with a white umbrella that I am shooting through. To sync at the High Shutter Speeds I am using the Pocketwizard TT5 with the AC9 that plugs into the back of the Alienbees using a phone cord connection.


Now with the AC3 on top of the Pocketwizard Mini TT1 you can control the power of the Alienbees from your camera wirelessly. I use the M setting on the AC3

Here is the chart of how that would work:

  • +3 = Full Power
  • +2 = 1/2 Power
  • +1 = 1/4 Power
  • 0 = 1/8 Power
  • -1 = 1/16 Power
  • -2 = 1/32 Power
  • -3 = 1/32 Power
You also have the 1/3 increments also to use in between. 

from an earlier shoot. I used only one in the photos at the top

So here is the basic setup I was using. Here is the list of gear:
  • 1 – Alienbee B1600s
  • 1 – Vagabond Mini
  • 1 – Cowboystudio 7’ 4 Section Portable Adjustable Stand
  • 1 – Westcott 2001 43” Optical White Satin Collapsible Umbrella
  • 1 – Pocketwizard AC9
  • 1 – Pocketwizard TT5
  • 1 – Pocketwizard Mini TT1
  • 1 – Pocketwizard AC3
  • Nikon D5
  • Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G
I pack the lighting gear all into this Seahorse SE-920 with padded dividers. This is a really super basic kit that I can fly with to jobs where I need something a little more powerful and now capable of still shooting at ƒ/1.8 to get that great BOKEH.
Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/4000

Now the cool thing is I can choose to change my settings on the fly. Here I was shooting at ƒ/1.8 of the senior in front of her high school. I thought they may want to see the high school a little more. To do that I needed to stop down to different ƒ-stop.

Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/7.1, 1/320

I just powered up the flash from the camera and dragged the shutter from the 1/4000 speed to 1/320.

Here is another example where I needed to change the ƒ-stop.

Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/2000

Again I realized the client may want to know what was on the banner in the background. Quick change without moving my feet.

Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/6.3, 1/250

Why use such a powerful flash and not just a speedlight. Well the recycling time on a speedlight can be pretty slow.

Why I chose the Alienbees kit over the Profoto Monolights

Price alone would be enough to make you wonder why you are spending so much more on the Profoto system.



$57.68 on Amazon
Manfrotto 5001B Nano Black Light Stand – 6.2′ (1.9m)
I chose this light stand because of how small it folds up [19.3″ (49cm)] for easy travel through airports.



$16.23 on Amazon
CowboyStudio 43-Inch Black and White Umbrella for Photography and Video Lighting Reflective



$418 on Amazon
PocketWizard MiniTT1 Radio Transmitter, FlexTT5 Transceiver and AC3 Zone Controller Bundle – Nikon
The AC3 helps you control the flash power from the camera and attaches to the Mini TT1 on the camera.



$54 on Amazon
PocketWizard AC9 AlienBees Adapter Power Control for Nikon
Plugs into Alienbees and onto the TT5

$359.95 from Alienbees
AlienBees™ B1600 Flash Unit

Total cost on my system for one flash $905.86. Just the Profoto B1 flash without a lightstand and umbrella runs $2,095.00.

$2,095.00 from B&H
Profoto B1 500 AirTTL Battery-Powered Flash

When you put together a kit of 3 or 4 lights you can see your money costs really go up with the Profoto system.

The Profoto gives you one thing that the system I designed doesn’t give to you and that is TTL. As a general rule when working with studio strobes once you put them in place and take your first photo to check for exposure your lights generally don’t move.

Here is the main reason I hate TTL–it is unpredictable. Sure I must take a reading then set my lights without TTL, but every time I take a shot the exposure is not consistent. With TTL just a slight movement with your camera, the model or something in the background will impact your meter and tell the camera and flashes to make an adjustment.

Stanley’s Tune Up Ritual for the Football Season

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 51200, ƒ/5.6, 1/1250

This past Friday Night and during the day on Saturday I went through a tune-up. There are basically two parts to the tune up.

First I have bought new cameras since the last football game and needed to calibrate the lens to the camera body.

This is a photo I took when I talked about how to calibrate your lenses in an earlier blog post. Take a look here if you want a refresher on how to do this.

Today’s top end cameras and lenses are designed for the user to optimize the focusing through calibrating the focus point. I use LensAlign and here is a great video explaining how it works.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urinJiG35PU]
So I spent a number of hours doing this with my cameras and lenses. Now I shoot with a Sigma 120-300mm lens and recommend you look at that blog post where I explain how I calibrated the lens using Sigma Optimization Pro software coupled with the Sigma USB docking station to calibrate the lens. I also use it to calibrate my Sigma 24-105mm Art and Sigma 35mm Art lens.

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 720, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000

The second thing I do each year is to go out and shoot some football games before my first job shooting a game. This year I went to the Catholic High School near me and shot their home varsity game on Friday night and then shot their 7th grade team playing the next morning.

Now before actually taking photos of the game I set my Nikon D5 camera up for shooting the game. Here is a blog post going through all the settings and explaining this is great detail for those who have a Nikon D5 and want to see my settings for sports. Here are my settings for the Nikon D4.

Let me tell you that the Nikon D5 was a definite upgrade over the Nikon D4. When shooting on high speed motor drive of 12 frames per second I can say it looked more like an old time movie. You could still see the action through the mirror because of the speed of the camera. Very cool!!!!.

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 720, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000

For those of you who are just starting out shooting sports like your child’s games, don’t just go and shoot their games when getting started. Go and practice at the local recreation center and get used to following the action and keeping it in focus. I use the back focus button so I can then improve my chances of getting in focus photos. You need to try my setup to see what I mean.

Honestly being able to just walk up and start shooting a kids game like I did this weekend is so much more relaxing than getting to a game two hours early that you must do when shooting Division 1 college and when shooting the NFL.

Another thing with shooting for fun is if you want to stop you can. When shooting professionally you must arrive early and stay to the very end. Now if you want to get hired to shoot professionally then you need to learn why we get there early and stay late.

Rather than telling you what we shoot when we arrive early and stay late–let me challenge you to arrive early and stay late and try and make compelling photos around the entire game.

Have you tuned up for this football season?

Best time for dusk photos

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/10

The time of day you make a photo can make all the difference. For this exercise you need to know the time of sunset, which tonight was at 8:13 pm.

This first photo was taken at 8:00 pm. Just 13 minutes before the sun dipped below the horizon.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1 sec

Now right at sunset 8:13 pm isn’t the best photo either, but notice how the sky is changing. But the sky is still too bright.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 2.5 sec

Now just waiting until 8:24 pm or 11 minutes after sunset the sky is getting dark enough that now the lights are starting to balance with the rest of the scene.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 4 sec

Now while the color here is excellent at 8:27 pm we now no longer have the sun lighting up the clouds and lose the pastel colors in the sky.

I like both of the photos for different reasons. Which one do you like best.

KONDO

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/4, 1/800

This is Keziah Khoo who I met a few years ago when I taught in the School of Photography 1 class of Youth With a Mission in Kona, Hawaii.

This was her second Storytellers Abroad Missions Multimedia Workshop. She went to Romania last year and this year went to Togo, West Africa.

She tells the story of Kondo who struggled to get an education. Listen to Kondo tell her story with the help of Keziah bringing that story to life.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/180096388
While we were in a village one day a mother gave Keziah her child to hold.

Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/500
We still have openings for the Honduras Multimedia Workshop taking place this October 29th to November 5th. Deadline to apply is August 30, 2016. 


Click here to learn more. Get your money in now to hold your spot.


Come join us in Honduras and have some fun.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 1800, ƒ/7.1, 1/200


Passing The Torch In Togo

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 6400, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

Storytellers Abroad participant Brian Funderburke listens to instructor Pat Davison as he works with Brian and the team in advising how to handle the story.

Sharon Sedzro was born 3 months premature, and weighed less than 4lb (2kg). The doctors told her mother that she would only live if they relied on God. She lived and was later the catalyst that brought about a children’s camp ministry that missionaries from the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism had tried to start over ten years earlier. Storyteller Brian Funderburke shares the story of Madame Sedzro, Sharon Sedzro, and Judy Bowen, and how God worked in their lives to restart a children’s camp ministry that is impacting hundreds of Togolese children.

We still have openings for the Honduras Multimedia Workshop taking place this October 29th to November 5th. Deadline to apply is August 30, 2016. 


Click here to learn more. Get your money in now to hold your spot.


Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 5600, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

Brian was able to sit with all three instructors, Jeff Raymond, Pat Davison and myself to work through his plan for his story. 

Removing AIDS Stigma In Togo

Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/800

Hannah Saxe, one of the Storytellers Abroad participant, has her fan club walking through the village of Adeti-Kope,Togo, West Africa. Hannah did her story on HIV in Togo.

Brenda Mastin is a nurse at the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism hospital in Tsiko, Togo. Over the last few years she and other Togolese colleagues have formed the organization ALMA which is french for “friend indeed”. They are an HIV/AIDS ministry of education, compassion and support. Their main operation is to educate the local churches to show compassion to HIV/AIDS patients as well as giving them support through counseling and medication. They hope to open their own center for chronic disease care near the hospital. In this video Storyteller Hannah Saxe tells the story of ALMA and their work in Togo.

Here is Hannah having prayer with an HIV patient and the subject Brenda before they did the interview.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 2000, ƒ/8, 1/100

Jeremies Journey

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 160, ƒ/8, 1/100
Storytellers Abroad participant Cy Hayden is working here with Jeremie, his subject by recording voice over. This is the first time I have seen the subject do their own voice over. Jeremie was more comfortable answering the questions in French and then having us translate them into English. 

Jeremie, who is a Chaplin at the Hopital Baptiste Biblique and a local pastor in Togo. Jeremie almost lost his pregnant wife due to a coma because of a sickle cell crisis. His son then developed hydrocephalus a month after his birth. Through multiple miracles, God healed both of them.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/178900824
We still have openings for the Honduras Multimedia Workshop taking place this October 29th to November 5th. Deadline to apply is August 30, 2016.

Click here to learn more. Get your money in now to hold your spot.

One Test Short. One Dream Reached.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 3600, ƒ/4, 1/100

Storytellers Abroad participant, Alison Waller, is surrounded by children in a church service as she is capturing her story on Gnoyi.

Waller produced this story of Gnoyi’s dream to become a part of the Togolese medical community. Gnoyi failed his high school diploma test. Without his high school diploma he never would have been able to be a part of the medical community. With the help of Hôpital Baptiste Biblique he was able to raise the funds and find the courage to retake the high school diploma test.

“With the added education I will be respected more, and people will have confidence in what I say so I will be able to approach my patients in a way that they will have confidence in what I say and I will be able to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and they will listen because of their respect and confidence in me. I will do it though humbly and I will give glory to God.”

https://player.vimeo.com/video/178659242

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 3200, ƒ/4, 1/100

Here you can see Waller shooting some footage of her subject leading in church.

We still have openings for the Honduras Multimedia Workshop taking place this October 29th to November 5th. Deadline to apply is August 30, 2016. 


Click here to learn more. Get your money in now to hold your spot.

Freedom From the Fetish – Martouka’s Story

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 5600, ƒ/8, 1/100

Storytellers Abroad participant Hannah Teramura works with the voice over for her video.

Teramura tells the story of Martouka. After years of growing up in fetish worship, Martouka Anani fell deathly sick and remembered the gospel he had heard as a child. Even though his parents disowned him from walking away from the fetish religion, he pursued Jesus and devoted his life to sharing the good news with others.

Now he is a pastor of a thriving church and a teacher at the Bible Institute, training up other pastors to step into teaching roles to transform Togo for Jesus. This is his story – please watch and consider support the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism’s mission to impact more lives and expand the multiplication of churches in Togo, West Africa.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/178931705
Here is Hannah on the far right enjoy some fun with some of the other workshop participants.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 160, ƒ/8, 1/100

We still have openings for the Honduras Multimedia Workshop taking place this October 29th to November 5th. Deadline to apply is August 30, 2016. 

Click here to learn more. Get your money in now to hold your spot.


Because of God’s Love – Djamila’s Story

Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/1250

Storyteller’s Abroad participant Kathryn Shoaf tells the story about a young woman named Djamila. She is the daughter of an Islamic soldier, but found herself torn between two opposing worlds – the familiar traditions of Islam and the unknown Christian faith that her mother had claimed. With guidance from two ABWE teachers, she discovered the life changing love of Christ.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/178932566
Kathryn was stretched during her time in Togo. She was learning how to use visuals when there are no visuals when someone talks about something that happens in the past. She also learned more about how to sequence the story to keep you more on the edge of your seat.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 1600, ƒ/8, 1/100

Before the class all went their separate ways to interview their subjects we did a practice interview where they saw what it will be like interviewing someone in French wth a translator helping. Kathryn has the headphones on in this photo.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 160, ƒ/8, 1/100

While we work hard while in Togo, West Africa you can see we also had fun as a group.

We still have openings for the Honduras Multimedia Workshop taking place this October 29th to November 5th. Deadline to apply is August 30, 2016. Click here to learn more. Get your money in now to hold your spot.