Photography News issue 24

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Photography News Issue 24 absolutephoto.com

Portable light On location lighting The Profoto B2 battery-powered system is perfect for location photography whatever the subject. Here we take a B2 outfit for a nature ramble

Portable flash has applications way beyond improving your outdoor portraits and such is the portability of the Profoto B2 off-camera flash systemthat it suits landscape andnature shooting too, as we see here. Fungi is a challenging photographic subject in two main ways. Most species are tiny so a macro lens is needed and they generally prefer poorly lit, often awkward to get at habitats. Shooting with natural light necessitates a tripod and long exposures – and that can be awkward on windy days. A battery operated flash system like the B2 seems the perfect solution. The B2 system comes supplied in a carry bag, but for this trip, the two heads, power pack, cables and OCF Snoot from Profoto’s large range of light shaping tools were decanted into a photo backpack for convenience. A compact lighting stand and a clamp were included together with, of course, the camera, a macro lens and travel tripod. The other key accessory not yet mentioned is the Air Remote TTL-N. The Profoto B2 system offers the convenience of TTL functionality with Nikon and Canon DSLRs. This radio trigger sits on the camera’s hotshoe and offers TTL or manual flash control, and from this unit, the power output of each head can be adjusted wirelessly. All that sounds a lot of kit, but such is the smallness of the B2 power pack and heads that carrying it around was fine. Once on location and a subject spotted, setting up takes a matter of minutes. One B2 head was fitted to a lighting stand and that unit was fitted with the OCF Snoot. The Profoto light modifier mounting system is really simple but very effective and secure too. Some modifiers like this snoot simply push on but the fit is secure so no issues with it coming off. Some modifiers have a clamp to hold them in place. The snooted light was placed low to the front of the subject to spotlight it as well as light an area of dark tone directly behind it. A test shot with the Air Remote TTL-N in TTL mode showed that was contrasty and one- sided. Perfect, now to balance the lighting up.

About the Profoto B2 system

A second unit was attached to a clamp and then tried in different situations. Again test shots were done in TTL mode, with just this single head firing to check the effect. As luck would have it, a nearby sapling provided the perfect lighting boom arm and the B2 head was tried there first to give direct from above lighting. The B2’s low weight meant this was a practical option – heavier units would simply be too much for the sapling to support. In the end, after checking out the test shots the second unit without any modifier in place was clamped to one of the tripod’s legs for frontal lighting. Now with both units firing, another test shot was done and that looked spot on. The Air Remote TTL-N was working very well with the camera and the exposure was perfect. Should it have needed adjusting the output of either head via the radio control is really simple and adjustable in 0.1EV steps.

The Air Remote TTL-N was working very well with the camera and the exposure was perfect

The Profoto B2 system is available in different configurations to suit different budgets and needs. The B2 250 AirTTL ToGo kit costs £1695 and this comprises a B2 head, B2 250 AirTTL power pack, battery, charger and cables plus carry and location bags. If you need greater lighting flexibility, the Profoto B2 250 AirTTL Location kit comes with two heads and batteries and costs £2298. B2 heads on their own costs £540 each. Once you have the basic kit, a wide range of modifiers including softboxes of various sizes is available in Profoto’s light shaping system. For flash triggering, the ideal option is the Air Remote TTL radio trigger. This sells at £318 and is available in Canon and Nikon versions to give the convenience of full TTL flash control with most cameras from those brands. The unit sits on the camera’s hotshoe to give you fingertip, wireless control of individual B2 units.

Above The two B2 head lighting set-up was used for these pictures.

Above This naturally lit scene needed an exposure of 5secs at f/13 and ISO 100.

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