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Peng62

How to aim strobe?

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Hi,

 

Note here I am not asking about how to avoid backscattering.

 

Basically, as someone who is using a P&S camera, I do not just stick to macro or wide angle subjects on each dive, unlike some who have their own predetermined photography objectives for each dive.

 

As such, I will happily photograph something close-up at one moment and then something else some way away. I find that I am constantly having to adjust the strobe arm to try to point my strobe at the subject, near or far, and the aim is not easy to get right the first time for each particular subject distance, let alone direction of lighting and avoiding backscattering. I do not have a modelling light for my strobe, an Inon D2000s (or do I?), and so depends on trial and error at the moment.

 

Is there some "intelligent" way of working out how to aim the strobe? I have seen some flex arms that allows you to set up the strobe in such a way that the swivelling aims the strobe along the line of sight of the camera lens. I have also read about attaching a focusing/aiming torch to the strobe. Other than that, what is your personal experience with getting a better hit rate with your aiming of the strobe?

 

Or does anyone set the strobe and focus for a particular distance, and stick with that throughout the entire dive, trying to compose everything at that pre-aimed/pre-focused distance? I can understand that with macro photography and guess that might work, but if one varies the subject distance?

 

Will like to hear from anyone who has any comments or advice.

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For macro it's easy, just turn your rig around and hold it as far away from you as your subject is, then adjust the strobe to were you want them. I normally do this at the start of a dive for about arms length. Then I just make small adjustments for each particular subject.

 

For wide angle, I normally start with the strobes as far out to the side as I can, with them pointed straight ahead. Again making adjustments as I approach each subject.

 

Also, remember that you don't always want the strobe aiming directly at the subject.

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For macro I would have the strobes parallel to the plane of the lens and to the side of the port. The distance between the port and the strobes would depend upon how far away the subject is.

 

For wide angle I would move the arms out wide, strobes initially facing forward, and then move the strobes so that they are pointing slightly inward or outward as required.

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Here's a link to a very useful graphic:

 

http://www.kelpfish.net/strobe.swf

 

General rule - the strobe(s) should be as far from the lens as the subject is. With long arms, you can just swing the strobe(s) outward as the subject get farther away.

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Thank you all for sharing. I think I do get a bit of the idea and will try it topside sometime before I go for my next dive trip. Cheers.

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Here's a link to a very useful graphic:

 

http://www.kelpfish.net/strobe.swf

 

Thanks Jim for the link. That graphic was very helpful. I like the way he presents the alternative strobe positions. With the colorful graphics, it couldn't be more clear.

 

See you one week from Sunday in Coz!

 

Ellen

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the d2000 does have a focusing light. Its the small knob u can push in and turn to lock

 

Cal

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Hi Peng62

 

I also dive a P+S with and Inon D2000s and switchable lenses and here is my 10cents worth.

 

COPY THE BIG BOYS

 

Like you I used to photograph opportunistically, one moment macro, then mid, then wide etc. It was just the flick of a switch on the camera. Then I bought the strobe and lenses; OMG the difference. The task loading was extreme - identify subject - mount lens - position strobe - WB - take photo if the critter was still around!

 

The solution is to do as the dSLR boys do, and select your dives (macro or wide) set up your rig at the beginning of the dive by photographing yourself at arms length and then leave it alone. Minor fiddles with strobe position are all that are needed from then on, the task loading is much less.

 

It is a totally different dive experience because you hunt for the photos that fit your set up - kind of focuses the mind a little.

 

The advice in this thread about aiming strobes is spot on.

 

Target lights... You said that you dive the Inon D2000s - this does NOT have a target light. (Sorry Cal, the D2000 does have one, the D2000s does not) I actually was going to buy the D2000, but switched to the D2000s plus a separately mounted focus light. My reasoning was this - the target light on the strobe points in the direction of the strobe, however the purpose of a focus light is to give the camera a light spot to focus on in dim light - so at night your camera will struggle to focus unless you have your D2000 strobe/target light pointed directly at the subject, whereas I can point the target light at the subject and the strobe off to the side

 

Hope this rambling advice helps

 

Cheers

 

Hal

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Hi Cal,

 

Saw your post at the office but didn't reply coz I wanted to get home to check on my strobe. Then I did a google on the net just moments ago without realizing Hal gave a follow on post. Here's what I found anyway, for anyone else's benefit who happened to drop in here as well.

 

"The D-2000S has all the power and performance of the D-2000 strobe, but without a Focus Light or External Auto Mode, making it a more affordable option when using consumer digicams."

 

Well, guess I gotta live with getting what I paid for :)

 

Hi Hal,

 

You've answered this question of mine for sure about your approach (and the boys and girls with the big toys) :

 

"Or does anyone set the strobe and focus for a particular distance, and stick with that throughout the entire dive, trying to compose everything at that pre-aimed/pre-focused distance? I can understand that with macro photography and guess that might work...."

 

I do some macro stuff with a dSLR top side and have friends who do just that, pre-focus at 1:1 mag and just move in till the subject is in focus. That's just to help make sure the mag stays at 1:1 so that we can know the real size of the critter after the outing. So I guess some folks do something like that approach too u/w but for different reasons :drink:

 

Now you've convinced me to try that out for my next dive trip, whenever and wherever that might be.

 

Peng

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"You said that you dive the Inon D2000s - this does NOT have a target light. (Sorry Cal, the D2000 does have one, the D2000s does not"

 

I missed the d2000 (S) part

 

Cheers

 

Cal

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Hi,

 

Note here I am not asking about how to avoid backscattering.

 

Basically, as someone who is using a P&S camera, I do not just stick to macro or wide angle subjects on each dive, unlike some who have their own predetermined photography objectives for each dive.

 

As such, I will happily photograph something close-up at one moment and then something else some way away. I find that I am constantly having to adjust the strobe arm to try to point my strobe at the subject, near or far, and the aim is not easy to get right the first time for each particular subject distance, let alone direction of lighting and avoiding backscattering. I do not have a modelling light for my strobe, an Inon D2000s (or do I?), and so depends on trial and error at the moment.

 

Is there some "intelligent" way of working out how to aim the strobe? I have seen some flex arms that allows you to set up the strobe in such a way that the swivelling aims the strobe along the line of sight of the camera lens. I have also read about attaching a focusing/aiming torch to the strobe. Other than that, what is your personal experience with getting a better hit rate with your aiming of the strobe?

 

Or does anyone set the strobe and focus for a particular distance, and stick with that throughout the entire dive, trying to compose everything at that pre-aimed/pre-focused distance? I can understand that with macro photography and guess that might work, but if one varies the subject distance?

 

Will like to hear from anyone who has any comments or advice.

 

The pat answer would be to say close direct lighting with second strobe to minimize shadows for macro, and slightly outward facing strobes extended to the side, behind plane of lens for wideangle (to minimize backscatter). My answer would be that there is no "correct way" to aim your strobes. Strobe placement is one of the areas where you can express you craeativeness, insted of trying to punch all the right buttons to get a technically correct exposure. I tell my photo classes photography is painting with light. The camera is the paper, and your strobes are your paintbrush. The wonderful thing about the digital revolution in our hobby is that you have instant feedback on exposure & composition. I also readjust my strobes throughout the dive, just as you do. That's a good thing!

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strobes are designed to emit a certain beam pattern. understanding this beam pattern may help in strobe placement~aiming options. for instance, a DS 125 spreads a 100° beam pattern with diffuser installed.

 

if you take some construction paper, scissors, and a protractor to create a shape similar to the beam that your particular strobe throws, it may lead to a better understanding in strobe aiming options while minimizing the capturing of backscatter.

 

hth,

b

post-745-1218728598.jpg

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What is the correct position for the strobe? Who knows! Here are three pics I recently took (in a pool) moving the strobe head to different positions. I hope you prefer the one I submitted!

 

Oops. It's the first time I've added a pic to the new Wetpixel forum. I didn't expect them to come out so large!

post-4197-1218735394.jpg

post-4197-1218735406.jpg

post-4197-1218735419.jpg

Edited by John Bantin

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