Playing with Light

I guess it’s about time I started using this again.  Since my last post (which was a long time ago!), I’ve returned to school.  Since January, I’ve been taking classes at Penn State Harrisburg.  I joined up with the newspaper there, so now I have a nice shiny press pass.  I’ve shot various campus events including sports.  Well yesterday I photographed the SGA Club Awards Banquet.  This was my first opportunity to use off camera flash, as inspired by Strobist.

First, the gear:
Canon Rebel XS
Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.0 OS HSM Macro
Canon 430EXII speedlight
Promaster triggers

The event was held in a banquet room in the Capital Union Building.

I’d say probably about 30 yards from the back of the room to the podium.  The exposure for this picture was 1/40 f/6.3 at ISO 800. It’s still pretty dark.  Sure I could have opened the lens up, but I wanted plenty of DOF for the group shots.  Enter the flash.

Pardon the white balance.  I had the WB set for when the flash would be firing.  I’m just trying to illustrate the setup for now.  Moving on, the flash was set to full power, 70mm zoom and bounced into the ceiling.  This gave good even coverage and helped keep shadows down behind the podium. If I didn’t bounce the light, the shadows were horrible.

Final exposures needed a bump to ISO 1600 as the flash batteries started to die.  A little NR and they look pretty good.  I may build an external battery pack using R/C car batteries (oh the life of an electrical engineer).

So what could I have done differently?  I would have liked to try clamping the speedlight to the ceiling, but I don’t have any clamps made up yet.  That would have saved me some power and I could have brought the ISO down even further.

After the banquet, I did some group shots off to the side.

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