Photography News Issue 50

Photography News | Issue 50 |

Technique 34

Lighting academy Professional lighting set-ups and advanced techniques are well within the reach of the enthusiast photographer and you are only limited by your imagination. Here, we have a play with three Pixapro portable flash units Get more fromyour flash

Through the paces

Images Using the Li-ION speedlight and PIKA200, the first shot (top) was balanced. Experimenting with the lights at various settings gave interesting and varied results I started with a two-head set-up: the PIKA200 fitted with a 48cmoctagonal softbox to the left of the camera; and the unmodified Li-ION 360 to the right. Like many speedlights the Li-ION 360 has a zoomhead, and to start with this was set to give light to cover a 50mm lens. The zoom, by the way, can’t be controlled remotely. I had both units in TTL mode and output set to zero, to let the hardware do the heavy lifting in terms of delivering a correct exposure. Not taking a flashmeter reading did seem strange at first because that is my standard way of working, but many photographers prefer to test by taking a few shots and that is fine by me. With the camera set to ISO 200 and fitted with a 50mm lens set to f/5.6, I took a couple of test shots and checked the pictorial effect as well as exposure. The first shot was quite balanced, as you might expect. The speedlight, not fitted with any modifiers, gave a more defined light (as you can see from the hair shadows) with the PIKA200 with softbox filling in the shadows. I thought I’dmake more use of the speedlight andmake it my main light with the aimof using contrast for a strong effect. Using the PRO ST-III transmitter, I set the speedlight to +1. That gave stronger shadows, but the overall effect was still quite flat. Also the light seemed stronger on Em’s shoulder than it should have been, so a slight realignment of the flash was needed to correct that. To increase contrast I dropped the output from the PIKA200 that was acting as a fill light. The net result was tomake the speedlight more dominant, which was the plan. For the final shot in this sequence, the speedlight’s zoomwas set to 135mm to give a more intense beamof light – andmore the selective lighting effect I was after.

The very good thing from my perspective is that the transmitter is user-friendly. Setting mode, or switching a particular group, is easy due to its fine-tuning output – in manual you can fine-tune output in 0.3EV stops in the range from full power to 1/128th power, and in TTL you can adjust flash compensation to +/- 3EV in 0.3EV. The thing to note here is that the three light sources are quite different in their proposition, but can be successfully mixed together thanks to Pixapro’s Ecosystem to give you any number of creative options using the same transmitter. The Li-ION580 MKII TTL is a speedlight so primarily designed for on-camera use, although here we mounted it on a hotshoe bracket and fixed it into a lighting stand. Moving up the power scale is the PIKA200 with an output of 200Ws. This recently

Words & pictures by Will Cheung

Wireless lighting control is very much a good thing. Trailing sync cables used to be a pain and a potential trip hazard, but now you can exercise control without having to move from behind the camera. The latest triggers use radio signals, too, so your lights can be tens of metres (or further) from the camera, placed around the corner or on the other side of a wall – no need to worry about line of sight as you had to with infrared triggers. This month’s Lighting Academy was shot with three battery powered Pixapro lighting units controlled with its PRO ST-III 2.4Ghz transmitter, a unit that costs £44.99 available for Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus and Sony. (Features vary according to the brand.)

Images Trip hazards and clutter can be things of the past with wireless lighting control. Triggering with radio signals means lights can be activated from around corners or even on the other side of a wall, giving you far more flexibility and control

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