I did a photo shoot with Sole Jumpers, an Atlanta-based Double Dutch Team, this week to test out my newly purchased lighting equipment. I used my new Paul C. Buff Einstein 640s flash units, Nikon SB-910 speedlight, and PocketWizard trio – FlexTT5, AC3 Controller, and PowerMC2s. The results were mixed, but that’s exactly why I wanted to do this trial run.
My main concern was having to operate the Einstein 640s at full power, at relatively close distances. I had to deal with flare, as well as, hot spots developed on both the floor and shoulders of the girls turning the ropes. I also wanted to take care, not to blast the lights directly into the girls faces. Thus, it was delicate balance I needed to achieve, all without the help of an assistant. All in all, I was pleased with the results. Here are some of the problems I encountered:
1. Trigger issues – my PocketWizard configuration consisted of PowerMC2s directly mounted on the E640s, and a FlexTT5 along with AC3 controller attached to my Nikon D700. Even with this simple arrangement, triggering was very erratic. Things improved when I raised the antenna on the FlexTT5, but there were still situations where one flash (E640) would fire, and the other would not. This is NOT how this should work. The good part is that I can easily set this up again at home, and try and reproduce the triggering issues.
2. Weak Key Light – my decision to use the Nikon SB-910 as my main (key) light turned out to not be a very wise one. While I could easily operate the flash in HSS mode at my desired 1/1000 sec shutter speed, the power output also dropped to an unacceptable level. It did not help that, I was using a softbox with double diffusion. I had to move the flash uncomfortably close to the girls who were running around and ropes were continually flying. Going forward, I will use one of my AB800s, which will give me the added power boost.