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D200 & CLS Tie the Knot!

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#1 mule_patterson


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Posted 04 September 2006 - 10:34 PM

Having recieved an SB600 the day before my latest wedding, I scurried to add it to the lighting kit and use it right away. An additional Lightsphere from Gary Fong had already been cubbyholed into my kit case, so it was time to put Nikon's CLS system to the test.

On location, heavy flourescent ceiling lights made for a painful compromise to the stage lighting scheme as they were needed for the ceremony. For this I simply covered the stage with a pair of flourescent-balanced Speedlight (SJ-1 gels-under-diffuser) and Lightsphere in a crisscross from side of the stage. This was adequate and postprocessing took up the slack later. However, as shown below, I dowsed the stage lights to give the CLS system full control for lighting the wedding guests.

Attached File  group.jpg   281.59KB   26 downloads
Lightsphere Lighting

Using the built-in flash on my D200 in Commander Mode, I ramped the power up on both the SB800 and SB600 to cover a maximum group shot of 15 people. Adjusting the Speedlights up and around the subjects, I finally arrived at what appeared to be an optimal setting - a little above head height and just a few feet forward of the persons on the end of the front row. While I certainly have some refinements to make after viewing on the computer monitor, the coverage and wrap effect was remarkable. Shooting was limited to nearly wide open, so I bumped the ISO to 200 to add another stop for DOF advantages.

As it was, everyone managed to be in focus and after sharpening, color correction and other adjustments in Capture, I developed a fine image nearly every time. I also saved individual corrections in the Settings > Image Adjustment area to batch-correct similar image and speed up the postprocessing nicely.

A word about the Lightspheres - they truly like being used best in an upright position. Keeping them high enough to cast any errant shadow behind and below the subjects is essential. Light quality and wrap around the subjects is optimal in this orientation, although additional units placed below head level would help fill the faint shadows created from just single Speedlights.

Lightspheres are also effective in a direct flash head orientation to the subject, but can easily add shadows from walls and interfering subjects just like traditional flash does. For ideal results, use at least two flashes for groups (keep away from walls, etc.) and get close to your subjects at receptions and the like to minimize shadows. I'm almost done postprocessing this event and will post more images shortly.

I definitely need more practice to get consistent results with the CLS system and Lightspheres. but am fully convinced that this gizmo has great potential for taking your flash photography to the next level.
Brian "Mule" Patterson
Knoxville, Tennessee USA

DSLRs Nikon D300 w/ MB-D10 | Nikon D40
DX Optics 10.5/2.8 DX Fisheye | 16-85/3.5-5.6 VR DX Nikkor
FX Optics 14-24/2.8 Nikkor | 24-120/3.5-5.6 VR Nikkor | 70-200/2.8 VR Nikkor | 85/1.4 Rokinon | 50/1.8 AIS Nikkor | 55/2.8 1:1 Vivitar Macro | Kenko 1.4X TC
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Software Adobe Lightroom | Adobe Photoshop CS | Nikon Capture NX | Photomatix HDR
Lighting (2) Nikon SB-800 | (4) Sunpak 422/433 | (2) Lester Dine Ringlights

#2 Ron W

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 12:39 PM

Brian, that is a very nice shot. Although this type of photography is far from my forte, this appears to be perfect. The lighting is smooth and well distributed. Well done.







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