Photography News issue 24

49 First tests

Photography News Issue 24 absolutephoto.com

The Captur in use

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One of the big plus points of the Captur system is its versatility and adding the Module-Pro opens up more opportunities. For this test we explored the Sound option. The aim was to record the instant a water- filled balloon was burst by a dart. The set-up was fairly simple. I shot in the garden because I knew it would get messy and got everything ready at dusk to do the shots when darkness fell using the camera’s B setting and flash. A water-filled balloon was hung from a crossbar using fishing line. I knew I’d need several goes, so had a dozen balloons ready. A tripod-mounted Nikon D800 with a 105mm lens and remote release was used. Focus was set to manual and I had a head torch ready to help here when it was dark. Two flashguns were placed close to the balloon on lighting stands. I had a Nikon SB- 900 and a Phottix Mittros+. Both were used in manual, with their zoomheads at a tele setting to focus light on the subject. I wanted a very brief flash duration so set both units to their minimum 1/128th power output. After a couple of tests, I set the lens at f/8 (Pic A). Both units were mounted in the Captur receivers’ hotshoes and these in turn were mounted in hotshoe adapters on the lighting stands. To detect the sound of the bursting balloon I wanted the Module-Pro close to the subject so attached this to one of the lighting stands supporting the balloon. With everything ready, it was time to set the Module Pro at a level to detect the sound of a bursting balloon. I didn’t want to waste any balloons, so just gently clapped my hands to see when the Module Pro would detect the sound and fire the flash. I started at its maximum sensitivity of 99. A gentle clap from the balloon’s position and the flashes fired. Great. This is going to be a doddle I thought. A neighbour shut his car door, the flashes fired. Another neighbour’s dog barked, the flashes fired. Yes, the Captur is very sensitive, so I lowered the unit’s sensitivity to 50. A gentle handclap, no flashes; a more enthusiast clap, still no joy. Back at the Captur, I set 65. This time the flashes fired on my handclap but ignored yet more car door closing and barking – the dog was probably barking at the flashes firing! With the sensitivity set, it was time to do some test shots. The Module-Pro lets you vary the delay between the sound being detected and the flashes firing. I started at no delay – 00”00 on the LCD. I opened the camera shutter, threw a dart at the balloon. Missed. Threw another, missed; the third hit the balloon but punctured it rather than burst it. Hmm, not a good start. Throwing a dart at a water-filled balloon in the dark and bursting it is not as easy as I thought. Of course, you can’t light it up to make things easier because that would ruin the B exposure. I turned the kitchen light on and that gave enough glow on the subject so I could see the target. Another dart at a balloon and this time it burst and the flashes fired. Closing the shutter, I got a shot of the dart actually piercing the balloon. (Pic B) This was good, but clearly I needed more time delay. I set the Module-Pro to 00”20. I was getting more accurate with the dart throwing now and the first dart was a direct hit. This time, I got a black frame with a few water droplets. Okay, so this time the time delay was too long. I set 00”10 and got my first decent shot (Pic C) with plenty of water in shot, but no balloon material and no dart. From here I went to 00”05, which worked out fine, and I used the rest of my balloon stock at that setting. (Pics D and E) There are lots of variables so you need several goes. For example, one balloon burst but didn’t make a sound. But out of my 12 balloons I got five well-timed shots thanks to the Module-Pro, a good hit rate.

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