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I am new to wide angle photography and I am frustrated with my wide angle shots. Once I got the strobes out of my shots, I still had lighting flashes in my WA pictures. Also with macro, I can turn on the focus light and see where the beam is going, therefore, I can make adjustment. With the strobes stretched out far to the right and left of the camera, it is difficult for me to tell where they are directed. Here is my set up;

 

Nikon D200 with sea and sea housing. 10.5mm fisheye with fisheye port. Dual YS-110 strobes. (crummy) sea and sea arms (VII) - and I say crummy b/c with the ball joints the strobes often move out of place, or the arms move, etc. The sea arms have a 4" section that attaches to the strobe. Then there is a 7.5" arm and a 9" arm.

 

Here's my questions;

 

1) I need a great product recommendation for strobe arms - that stay put!

 

2) Can someone give me strobe placement recommendations for wide angle shots with my fisheye port? Where should I direct my strobes? How far from the port should they be?

 

3) How about some strobe placement advice for 60mm macro shots?

 

Thank you in advance. Wandering....

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1) I need a great product recommendation for strobe arms - that stay put!

Hi Wander, I studied your question about a year ago and ended up with the ULCS arms and clamps. I love them. Rock solid. I hear that the TLC are also good but I can't verify personally.

2) Can someone give me strobe placement recommendations for wide angle shots with my fisheye port? Where should I direct my strobes? How far from the port should they be?
This is a tougher question. What do you want to do with the light? I 'm far from an expert, but I can try to help. I spent a few hours in the pool playing with the strobe position on my setup with my new YS 250s and the 10mm end of the Tokina. My baseline was to try and find the position that provided a balanced, even light on a pool wall a meter, and two meters out. I found that the place I want to start, ( my jump setting) is both strobes positioned even with the housing vertically, about 38 cm or 15 inches outboard from the lens. Main thing was to move them aft so the front of the strobes was behind the port joint to avoid the hot spot/ backscatter. I also point them outboard about 15 degrees, depending on how close the subject is to the port. This seems to work pretty well for midwater or reef scenics, It can look too flat to some folks, You can adjust the power on one strobe to bring it down or point it more directly to bring it up to create more shadows and feeling of depth. If your trying to get an image of a subject on the bottom, I 'd move the strobes up and aim them roughly straight ahead. There is a lifetime of study possible on all the variations and for me that is one of the joys of digital. I can really play with the light now.

 

I can see now I'm making this too hard. Let me try to summarize. Get the strobes behind the front of the housing pointed outboard a little. That's better, try that and see how it goes. Here is a shot from Bonaire where I was trying to see how much light the 250s would give me. In the vertical format, the strobes are at 10 and 5 on the clock.

 

2602843647_d36b9aeb7a_o.jpg

 

See how the lower fish's face is a little too hot because he was closer. If I had dialed down the strobe the column wouldn't have been evenly lit. Notice the shadow behind the top fish and a not so obvious shadow for the lower one? Where the strobe's light cones intersect can give you some interesting affects you hadn't counted on. I still have a lot to learn. :)

 

3) How about some strobe placement advice for 60mm macro shots?
I start with the strobes tucked in next to the housing, aimed straight ahead, about even vertically with the viewfinder then go from there. This one is with balanced strobes with the 100mm 2583988830_f146933493_o.jpg

 

See how this little guy is balanced from both sides, (dual 110's by the way) (Next time I'll see if I can get his tail in the frame) :D It would have been a very different image with different strobe powers or positions or using one strobe. In the end I think it all depends on what you want the light to do for you. :P

 

Hoped that helped a little. Have fun with it.

 

Steve

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Thanks Steve! Let me see if I understand this...I should keep the strobes behind the port joint and about 15 inches straight out from each side (not straight out in front, but straight out to the sides). And I should angle them in 15 degrees?

When I was at the lake, I was in 20 feet of pretty clear lake water and I couldn't tell how the beam of light was falling on the subject because there was too much ambient light. I guess I am going to have to re-test at the lake in deeper water to get more darkness and then I can troubleshoot again.

I checked out those ULCS arms - my arms are similar but the ball joint clamps look much more manageable - I think I may start with those. I'm going to give them a call and see if the clamps can be used with sea and sea arms.

 

P.S. I like your Bonaire fish! Thanks again...Best Fishes....

 

 

Hi Wander, I studied your question about a year ago and ended up with the ULCS arms and clamps. I love them. Rock solid. I hear that the TLC are also good but I can't verify personally.

This is a tougher question. What do you want to do with the light? I 'm far from an expert, but I can try to help. I spent a few hours in the pool playing with the strobe position on my setup with my new YS 250s and the 10mm end of the Tokina. My baseline was to try and find the position that provided a balanced, even light on a pool wall a meter, and two meters out. I found that the place I want to start, ( my jump setting) is both strobes positioned even with the housing vertically, about 38 cm or 15 inches outboard from the lens. Main thing was to move them aft so the front of the strobes was behind the port joint to avoid the hot spot/ backscatter. I also point them outboard about 15 degrees, depending on how close the subject is to the port. This seems to work pretty well for midwater or reef scenics, It can look too flat to some folks, You can adjust the power on one strobe to bring it down or point it more directly to bring it up to create more shadows and feeling of depth. If your trying to get an image of a subject on the bottom, I 'd move the strobes up and aim them roughly straight ahead. There is a lifetime of study possible on all the variations and for me that is one of the joys of digital. I can really play with the light now.

 

I can see now I'm making this too hard. Let me try to summarize. Get the strobes behind the front of the housing pointed outboard a little. That's better, try that and see how it goes. Here is a shot from Bonaire where I was trying to see how much light the 250s would give me. In the vertical format, the strobes are at 10 and 5 on the clock.

 

2602843647_d36b9aeb7a_o.jpg

 

See how the lower fish's face is a little too hot because he was closer. If I had dialed down the strobe the column wouldn't have been evenly lit. Notice the shadow behind the top fish and a not so obvious shadow for the lower one? Where the strobe's light cones intersect can give you some interesting affects you hadn't counted on. I still have a lot to learn. :)

 

I start with the strobes tucked in next to the housing, aimed straight ahead, about even vertically with the viewfinder then go from there. This one is with balanced strobes with the 100mm 2583988830_f146933493_o.jpg

 

See how this little guy is balanced from both sides, (dual 110's by the way) (Next time I'll see if I can get his tail in the frame) :D It would have been a very different image with different strobe powers or positions or using one strobe. In the end I think it all depends on what you want the light to do for you. :P

 

Hoped that helped a little. Have fun with it.

 

Steve

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Here are some examples....maybe not....having posting issues....

Edited by Wanderlust

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Thanks Steve! Let me see if I understand this...I should keep the strobes behind the port joint and about 15 inches straight out from each side (not straight out in front, but straight out to the sides). And I should angle them in 15 degrees?

When I was at the lake, I was in 20 feet of pretty clear lake water and I couldn't tell how the beam of light was falling on the subject because there was too much ambient light. I guess I am going to have to re-test at the lake in deeper water to get more darkness and then I can troubleshoot again.

Almost partner, try pointing your strobes at an angle outboard away from the subject about 10 or 15 degrees. The idea is to bring the inner cone of light right in front on the subject. With wide angle strobes you sometimes need to point them a little outboard so you don't light a whole bunch of water between the lens and the subject increasing backscatter. Your success will depend on the strobe power, coverage, distance to the subject, etc.

 

Next time you're in the lake, try higher apertures like f16 or so which will require the light to come from your strobes so you can more easily see their effect. Have fun!

 

Steve

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Hey Wanderlust,

 

I'm no expert either, but let me chime in here and elaborate on what Steve said (if I may Steve). Your strobes have a spread of about 100 degrees (give or take, depending on the model). Where these two spreads intersect is what Steve is calling the "cone of light". Another way to look at it is the area from the lens front to that intersection point is a "cone of darkness" (this is Berkeley White's heavy metal band :) ). You want your subject just outside the cone of darkness and just inside the cone of light, thus you will minimize lighting any of the water in front of your subject and avoid backscatter. And even another way of saying this is you want to light your subject with the "edge" of your strobe's spread and avoid pointing directly at the subject. This is why you may have to angle your strobes outward depending on the distance to the subject. At least for wide angle.

 

I start out with the strobes about 15" out and at about 10:00 and 2:00. You have now exhausted my entire knowledge of lighting :D

 

Phil

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Wander,

 

Steve and Phil are correct about the placement of the strobes. I too try to aim my strobes so that the cones just meet in the center of the frame (for WA shots). This minimizes backscatter and avoids "frying" fish scales with hotspots.

 

ULCS arms and joints offer great control over placement and ease of adjustment of your strobes.

 

Best fishes,

 

Mark

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Great visual aid Andy, pictures make it much easier to understand. Hey Phil, I think I slept through Berkley's cone of darkness explanation, maybe I was diving :D . Glad I was close.

 

Steve

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Brilliant! These tips, diagrams and pics are awesome. I'm back at the drawing board and determined to figure this out. Thanks guys! I'll be in Key Largo in about 2 weeks - I'll try to come up with something worthy! :D

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Hey Wanderlust,

 

 

I start out with the strobes about 15" out and at about 10:00 and 2:00. You have now exhausted my entire knowledge of lighting :D

 

Phil

 

 

I have a related question, hopefully not too off-topic. What arrangement of arms do you use? Is there any reason not to use a single longer arm per side rather than two sections?

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I have a related question, hopefully not too off-topic. What arrangement of arms do you use? Is there any reason not to use a single longer arm per side rather than two sections?

 

Single segment arms* offer _very limited_ placement** of the strobes.

 

*(ball adapter on camera housing, clamp, segment, clamp, ball adapter on strobe)

**(basically, the strobes can only be placed on the surface of a sphere with the arm segment as the radius)

 

Two segment arms offer very flexible strobe placement. (anywhere inside of a sphere with a radius of both arm segments)

 

Take Care,

ChrisS

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What arrangement of arms do you use? Is there any reason not to use a single longer arm per side rather than two sections?
I like a 5" segment and an 8" on each side. Gives me lots of latitude for position and has the by product of storing nicely on the camera table. I really like the idea of a very stable system when the boat is underway. The other side of the coin is that a single arm might feel easier at first to position with smaller strobes when your shooting macro. Of course if you have two segments you can always take one off if you'd like. :D Here is what a 5 and 8 look like on a Sea & Sea housing with the larger YS-250's using ULCS stuff. When I'm shooting with the big dome on I can extend the arms a little straighter than shown here and strobes will support the housing to keep the dome off the deck.

 

post-4526-1216865034_thumb.jpg

 

Steve

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