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Overpowering the sun with flash
Old 04-18-2006, 11:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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One thing I want to accomplish photographically this spring is to create a few images where my flash overpowers the sun and results in the model really standing out and the sky being slighlty underexposed and saturated.

Can anyone tell me about how much power it generally takes to capture a full length image like this?

I have a couple of Norman 200Bs that are portable, but if that is not enough power I will have to figure out what to do.

Has anyone else captured images like this? I would be interested in what kind of power you required and what type of modifiers you were using.

I know Christian Behr has several such images (at least I am assuming he was using an overpower the sun strategy) on his web site at www.ChristianBehr.com.
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Re: Overpowering the sun with flash
Old 04-18-2006, 11:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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On a bright sunny day with the strobe just off camera and pretty close to the subject takes about 1000 watt seconds if you diffuse the light a bit with a softbox and your max sync speed is 1/250th or so. Without the box you could probably get by with about 600 or 700 watt seconds. If your flash sync is 1/500th the the flash power you need is about half that.



I shot this with an Elinchrom Ranger DC pack at close to full power which is 1100 watt seconds using a small photoflex softbox to diffuse the light and a 40 degree fabric grid to keep the light tight and where I put it. I shot a whole series of photos like this, just follow this link http://www.ernierice.com/stories/sportraits/index.html if you'd like to see them.
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Re: Overpowering the sun with flash
Old 04-18-2006, 12:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ernie,

Nice image....how did you metter it with regardsto forground and background if you dont mind?

Thanks,
Michael
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Re: Overpowering the sun with flash
Old 04-18-2006, 12:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks,

I set my camera to my flash sync and metered the sky with my cameras TTL meter. The built in meter tries to make things grey so it tells me what settings to make the sky dark.
Then I meter the flash and adjust it's power so that it is where I need it to be to give me the dark sky.

If the sky says it needs ISO 100, 1/250th @ f:11 then that is what you adjust your flash exposure too. Neutral density filters for the lens help to bring the f:stop down if you need less depth of field.
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Re: Overpowering the sun with flash
Old 04-18-2006, 02:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Oh great, now you tell me. I tried this yesterday with 600 watts and 1/250s. I found I was a little low on the power. I figure now I'll just have to try agian a little later in the day.
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Re: Overpowering the sun with flash
Old 04-18-2006, 07:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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OK, so I guess 600 watt seconds isn't enough. Were you shooting through a softbox or using a bare head? You can also get more umph out of your watts by moving the light as close as you can without it being in the frame.

One other thing that I do every so often is use the small softbox with the grid but not use the diffuser panel. I get the light control without the diffusions power loss.
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Re: Overpowering the sun with flash
Old 04-18-2006, 08:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Ernie
It really was just an experiment to see if I could make the sky go dark. I was able to get a little more saturation in the sky but clearly not enough to make it go dark. Rather than tote my soft boxes outside I used a Medium white umbrella, I donít have silver, maybe 4' from my test subject. I know I could have moved it closer tried bare bulb or even just the reflector.
I did this shot of my daughter last summer at sunset when I first got my lights, dragging the shutter and thought I would try somewhat the opposite effect in full daylight.

The reason for the experiment is the second shot air drying.

I should have used a faster shutter speed to saturate the sky out the window. I hate having to fix things in Photoshop because I'm not good or smart enough to get it right in the camera. Luckily I am trainable. Next time I'll use a faster shutter speed. I can get somewhat better saturation I just can't make the sky go dark.
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Re: Overpowering the sun with flash
Old 04-18-2006, 08:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yeah, forget about using umbrellas though. At least white ones, you loose about 50% of your power with those, a silver may work though.
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Re: Overpowering the sun with flash
Old 04-18-2006, 08:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks again Ernie
Would 2 600 watts in one softbox be the same as 1 1200 watt light? That I can do I just have to buy the double mount ring. That only just now occured to me.
Ken
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Re: Overpowering the sun with flash
Old 04-18-2006, 08:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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That would do the job. You'll also have to have a hardwired sync for both lights to make sure that both strobes fire at the same time.
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