Behind the scenes: Strobe testing in the Red Sea
The fourth day of the Wetpixel strobe test involved the fairly complicated task of taking all the strobes underwater and firing test shots with them mounted on a tripod. The purpose was to compare both output power and beam spread. This is to complement testing that was carried out on the UK prior to the trip.
Setup was a Gitzo Ocean Traveller tripod with a cheap sacrificial ball head, with a 1” ball mount.
The Retra and the Symbiosis SS2 were both triggered via fiber optic using an Anglerfish remote trigger. The Seacam Seaflash 150 was triggered via Seacam’s own remote trigger and the Inon Z330s were triggered via their built in slave trigger (because I had forgotten my Inon to L type single cable!)
We left the jetty promptly and headed south again to a site called Habily Goda.
Once we got there, my dive guide Hassan and I set out to find a suitable position for the tests, with a sandy floor for the tripod to rest on and a wall that was relative vertical.
By happy circumstance, we came across a suitable place very quickly and were able to start testing. Hassan did an amazing job of coordinating the logistics of swapping strobes, fielding diffusers (we shot the tests both with and without) and helping me get all the gear onto the site. If anyone needs a photo helper, he is highly recommended!
The test images are going to be incredible useful to show how the tested strobes relate in terms of power and beam. I shot a test with my Seacam Seaflash 150 too, to act as a control test.
I was anticipating the test would take at least a dive, but thanks to Hassan’s help, it was wrapped up in 30 minutes. Rather the return to the surface, we set out to shoot some pictures too!
Dive 2 was on a reef called Farsa Sahab, that was accessed via Zodiac from the same anchorage. This had lots of pristine hard corals and is in great conditions.
I was using the Inon Z330s as I wanted to further investigate their TTL performance. I rarely use TTL in my normal shooting, as I prefer to control the strobe output manually, so it was a learning experience for me too.
It was pretty good, even when the lighting is quite complex:
Our last dive was back on Habily Goda. This has some lovely colourful soft corals that are very photogenic.
TTL is very accurate in general, but the following image shows a potential problem. The left hand strobe is much closer to the coral than the right, so has overexposed. This could be remedied by moving the left hand strobe back, but doing so means that the TTL circuit will try to increase the total output. This is a significant problem with allowing the camera to average the lighting over the entire scene.
Tomorrow we are going to a site that is reached out of Marsa Alam, about an hour’s car ride south of Port Ghalib. Please check back for more behind the scenes reporting tomorrow…..
- Day 1.
- Day 2.
- Day 3.
- Day 4.
- Day 5.