Speedlight Mastery – Canon in Manchester ~ Pictures & Techniques

Apr 25, 2010 | Flash, Location | 9 comments

Last week I ran two days of Speedlight Mastery workshops in Manchester, one for Canon shooters and one for Nikonions. I’ve split the pictures in my posts to avoid repetition. Even though we shot the same routes with Lisa Marie as our model I set up and created quite a few different images to keep me on my toes. I stuck to my shooting style despite working in full sun for two days. So here are the shots from my Canon day:

I used Orbis to shoot this simple frame

1 - I used Orbis to shoot this simple frame. Canon 5D mk2, Speedlight 580 mk2 in an Orbis ringflash adapter triggered with a Pocket Wizard Flex and Mini pair. 1/200th second at 200 ISO @ f/8. Glazed tiles on the side of a pub made a perfect background for an Orbis shot.

Our first shot of the day was at the pebble. A piece of art that cost the city of Manchester £100,000.

2 - Our first shot of the day was at the pebble. A piece of art that cost the city of Manchester £100,000 apparently. I used the burning sun as a backlight and rigged a single barefaced Speedlight on a stand to be the key. I set Lisa Marie against a dark mill on the canal and under exposed by 3 stops.

Next it was a quick shot at a ventilation duct on the flanks of the Bridgewater Hall. I used the same flash, and used the same exposure strategy.

3 - Next it was a quick shot at a ventilation duct on the flanks of the Bridgewater Hall. I used the same flash, and used the same exposure strategy as in shot 2. After a brush with security we moved on to location 3.

This pub was location 3.

4 - This pub was location 3 with glazed tiles on the outside walls and Everards Tiger on tap. Chris and I checked out the beer the night before. I used a single Speedlight on a stand for this simple shot. The sun was a perfect backlight. 1/200th second at ISO 200 @ f/8.

I switched my camera back to standard picture style rather than Monochrome.

5 - I switched my camera back to standard picture style rather than Monochrome. This shot was lit with reflected sunlight. notice the crispness of the shadows, they are similar to those created with zoomed in barefaced Speedlights. 1/200th second at ISO 200 @ f/8.

We went for a cup of coffee and I came across this panel of copper outside the 'restrooms'. A few moments later I'd secured permission to shoot in the cafe and set a Speedlight on camera for this funky portrait. 1/60th second at ISO 200 @ f/8

6 - We went for a cup of coffee and I came across this panel of copper outside the 'restrooms'. A few moments later I'd secured permission to shoot in the cafe and set a Speedlight on camera for this funky portrait. 1/60th second at ISO 200 @ f/8

This simple Orbis shot was taken in the bar next door. 1/200th second at ISO 200 @ f/5.6

7 - This simple Orbis shot was taken in the bar next door. 1/200th second at ISO 200 @ f/5.6

Next we went onto using two Speedlights in a key and kick formation. 1/200th second at ISO 200 @ f/5.6

8 - Next we went onto using two Speedlights in a key and kick formation. 1/200th second at ISO 200 @ f/5.6

This next shot used the same two Speedlight lighting setup as the one above.

9 - This next shot used the same two Speedlight lighting setup as the one above with identical settings.

After lunch we went to Castlefield. This shot used a single 580 Speedlight.

10 - After lunch we went to Castlefield. This shot used a single 580 Speedlight. This space was a bit darker so I used 1/125th second at ISO 200 @ f/4

11 - Chris and Colin rigged the kick light in a canal barge and I set up the key light. We were working in the shadow of the tramline overhead.

11 - Chris and Colin rigged the kick light in a canal barge and I set up the key light. We were working in the shadow of the tramline overhead. 1/125th second at ISO 200 @ f/4 as above

This was a bit more complicated. I set up two 580 EX2's as 3/4 backlights with full CTO gels and a I used another 580 EX2 as an on camera master

12 - This was a bit more complicated. I set up two 580 EX2's as 3/4 backlights with full CTB gels and a I used another 580 EX2 as an on camera master with a CTO gel. A white balance of 3400k did the trick.

Whilst still working in the partial shadow of the tramway I found a patch of sunlight to use as a backlight. I wanted to use f/4 to put the background nicely out of focus and use a soft keylight to keep the image calm.

13 - Whilst still working in the partial shadow of the tramway I found a patch of sunlight to use as a backlight. I wanted to use f/2.8 at 200mm to put the background nicely out of focus and I used a soft keylight to keep the image calm. A 580 EX2 in a Lastolite Ezybox provided the key and I used a Pocket Wizard Mini and Flex to trigger the flash.

Here's another frame with identical lighting and settings as the shot above.

14 - Here's another frame with identical lighting and settings as the shot above.

Chris and Colin look on as the delegates capture the shots shown above.

Chris and Colin look on as the delegates capture the shots shown above. My Lastolite 60cm Ezybox is providing the key light.

This simple key and kick shot used a Honl filter on the backlight to give it a stage lit feel.

This simple key and kick shot used a Honl filter on the backlight to give it a stage lit feel.

On the way back to our start location I took time out to shoot this high key natural light shot at

On the way back to our start location I took time out to shoot this high key natural light shot at ISO 640, 1/30th second and at f/4

Another shot at the location above.

Another shot at the location above.

The last shot of the day was lit with a characteristic slash of flash.

The last shot of the day was lit with a characteristic slash of flash.

If you want to join me on a Speedlight Mastery workshop I have a few places left on dates in May and June, details are here. Please feel free to comment on these pictures.

9 Comments

  1. Ziggy

    Hi Damien. Love the shots (as always). Just looking for tips on how to protect my newly acquired PWs (purchased from you of course)?

    Have wrapped them in bubble wrap (BW) for now, but it’s a bit of a bugger opening them up from the Lowepro backpack only to see them (BW) sailing off on the breeze towards the Isle of Man.

    I need to protect my babies. Please advise.

    Cheers

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Ziggy,

      My PWs are just lurking in one of the compartments in my camera bag. Treat them as you would a small lens or a light meter etc. I never wrap anything in bubble wrap that I take on a shoot. I do use these though when I pack kit in my suitcase etc.

      Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  2. Richard

    Great pictures as always Damien. I noticed that you mentioned using the Standard picture style and you have also mentioned this in previous postings. Why do you choose this over Neutral of Faithful? I had been told that Standard is to be avoided as it introduces an element of sharpening which is better done afterwards in post if required. Have I been given wrong advice?

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Richard,

      If you shoot Jpegs then the advice you were given has some truth in it however the level of sharpening with the 5D mk2 camera on the Standard setting is just about spot on. If you shoot RAW the picture style only affects the screen preview and has no bearing on the processed image in Lightroom. Neutral and Faithful both look a little flat to me and I much prefer the pleasing render of the Standard setting when setting my white balance point and the exposure value.

      Regards, Damien.

      Reply
  3. Benny Ottosson

    Great shoots and great use of speedlights! As usual.

    Reply
    • damien

      Thanks Will and Benny. Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  4. IONA MATHESON-LONG

    Great images as usual! Nice to see Colin enjoying the view!

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Iona, It was great to have Colin carrying the bags too :) Thanks for your kind words. Damien.

      Reply

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