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Ministryofgiraffes

Need some advice on Slave strobe work

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Hi Guys, need some advice.

 

I currently have the full Nauticam Nikon Z7 rig with 2 X Sea & Sea YS-D2J strobes, retra LSW….etc. all the bells and whistles.

 

I am going to Bonaire for a few weeks in august and I want to put my Retra LSD on a tripod with a strobe so that I can position it and keep it static as I take the shot. It’s just too difficult trying to focus with it attached to the strobe on the end of an arm attached to the housing…

 

My questions:

 

How do slaves work? What gear do I need to be able to put one of the Sea & Sea strobes and the retra on a tripod and have it fire from 3 feet away ( as a hypothetical) ? I have no idea how slave lighting even works/fires.. ( could you even hypothetically have 2 x strobes on your rig attached with cables and a third strobe firing as a slave on a snoot 3 feet away. ( I appreciate there wouldn’t be a use for this, but hypothetically can you fire 3 strobes from the same camera on the same shot?)

 

I’m thinking of just biting the big one and getting 2 x keldan 8s and then carrying the snoot and strobe in my gearpouch, But I’ll be using the kendans for photos, not video. I have heard a lot or arguments about you should only use videolights for video and you should use strobes for stills blah, blah, but I want an unbiased opinion.

 

I’m not looking to shoot ultrawide (weitwinkel) etc. I’d be using the keldans with a 105mm or a 60mm with Nauticam MWL-1… what is your opinion on that? i’m not convinced that the strobes are doing that much of a better job than the kendans for close up MWL -1 wide angle portraits or macro/supermacro…but i also may not be using the strobes properly..... What do you think?

 

 

Thanks guys.

 

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You need a remote trigger. The on camera strobe fires and triggers the off camera. There are a few options on the market I use anglerfish

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The advantage of strong video lights off camera is that you can see what you're doing when you frame the shot. This is harder with off camera strobes as you have to check the outcome in camera, but gets easier with practise. And the video lights need to be very powerful/expensive and sometimes your subject is not so keen on being boiled alive. Video lights also restrict your shutter speed options and therefore limit what you can do with your ambient light background. For the usage you describe I image you could use your less powerful strobe off camera.

 

Are you currently using electrical sync cables or fibre optic? If electrical, literally the only piece of kit you need is a slave trigger. Unplug the electrical cable from the camera, put the trigger on the end instead, make sure the trigger "sees" the flash from your remaining on camera strobe and off you go. Hedwig (oowgraf) sells them on wetpixel and the sensitivity is excellent. Avoid the Heinrich Weikamps ones for ocean use, they pick up too much ambient sunlight to be useful.

 

If you're using fibreoptic on camera at the moment, you need to buy a sync cable to go with your slave trigger. This is still a fair bit cheaper than a new Keldan.

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The advantage of strong video lights off camera is that you can see what you're doing when you frame the shot. This is harder with off camera strobes as you have to check the outcome in camera, but gets easier with practise. And the video lights need to be very powerful/expensive and sometimes your subject is not so keen on being boiled alive. Video lights also restrict your shutter speed options and therefore limit what you can do with your ambient light background. For the usage you describe I image you could use your less powerful strobe off camera.

 

Are you currently using electrical sync cables or fibre optic? If electrical, literally the only piece of kit you need is a slave trigger. Unplug the electrical cable from the camera, put the trigger on the end instead, make sure the trigger "sees" the flash from your remaining on camera strobe and off you go. Hedwig (oowgraf) sells them on wetpixel and the sensitivity is excellent. Avoid the Heinrich Weikamps ones for ocean use, they pick up too much ambient sunlight to be useful.

 

If you're using fibreoptic on camera at the moment, you need to buy a sync cable to go with your slave trigger. This is still a fair bit cheaper than a new Keldan.

I used both video and strobe in the same shot. Video lights really require you to also use on camera strobes to freeze motion

Strobes off camera can instead be used as sole source

 

 

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The advantage of strong video lights off camera is that you can see what you're doing when you frame the shot. This is harder with off camera strobes as you have to check the outcome in camera, but gets easier with practise. And the video lights need to be very powerful/expensive and sometimes your subject is not so keen on being boiled alive. Video lights also restrict your shutter speed options and therefore limit what you can do with your ambient light background. For the usage you describe I image you could use your less powerful strobe off camera.

 

Are you currently using electrical sync cables or fibre optic? If electrical, literally the only piece of kit you need is a slave trigger. Unplug the electrical cable from the camera, put the trigger on the end instead, make sure the trigger "sees" the flash from your remaining on camera strobe and off you go. Hedwig (oowgraf) sells them on wetpixel and the sensitivity is excellent. Avoid the Heinrich Weikamps ones for ocean use, they pick up too much ambient sunlight to be useful.

 

If you're using fibreoptic on camera at the moment, you need to buy a sync cable to go with your slave trigger. This is still a fair bit cheaper than a new Keldan.

 

Using fibre optic cables. I think I get it... so you basically run one of the fibre optic cables from the ‘off strobe’ to something like an ‘anglerfish trigger’ and make sure the trigger can see the strobe on your rig. The strobe on your rig fires when you shoot and the flash is picked up by the anglerfish trigger which fires the ‘offstrobe’ correct?....

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Also, wouldn’t use the keldans for off camera work...

Why not? Video light work very well in deeper and darker wrecks

 

 

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Using fibre optic cables. I think I get it... so you basically run one of the fibre optic cables from the ‘off strobe’ to something like an ‘anglerfish trigger’ and make sure the trigger can see the strobe on your rig. The strobe on your rig fires when you shoot and the flash is picked up by the anglerfish trigger which fires the ‘offstrobe’ correct?....

 

Yep, that's it. I was doing just that in Bonaire a couple of weeks ago.

 

I used both an Anglerfish and the built-in slave detector on an Inon Z240 (not at the same time). I also tried using the Retra LSD on an Inon tripod.

 

I found the Retra/tripod setup worked fairly well although it was often almost impossible to place the tripod in a position that both light the subject (often cunningly tucked under an overhang, eg, arrowcrab; and was somewhere that wasn't on live coral or risk damaging the reef or too much of a slope. I did find, in the end, that it made me work much harder at using the Retra LSD on-housing, with more success than I expected.

 

The other thing I found about transporting all the gear underwater - not that easy! I had a mesh bag clipped on to my BCD containing the tripod, the Retra LSD and an Anglerfish with a fibre optic cable. The mesh bag was on a drawstring so that nothing, in theory, would float away. I'm a pretty experienced diver and Bonaire is very easy diving - but even then, getting the tripod, Retra and Anglerfish out the mesh bag, setting it up, disconnecting a strobe underwater, connecting it all up, finding a tripod safe space whilst balancing the camera setup in one hand was not the easiest of tasks!

 

After much trial and error, I found that having the Retra LSD connected to a strobe on my usual camera housing setup on entry worked better. I'd then find a promising location (I was after snoot pics of Arrowcrabs, Pedersen and Spotted Cleaner Shrimps), set down the tripod, disconnect the Retra'd strobe and fibre optic cable from the housing and connect it to the tripod. I'd then attach the Anglerfish which needs to be able to "see" the strobe remaining on-housing... and get everything going. Again, not that easy. Time, patience and practice required!

 

One other thing I found, the Anglerfish are very good. The mechanism for turning them off and on takes a bit of practice - and well worth making sure you know how to do it before getting in the water! It is not obvious or intuitive. Once activated an Anglerfish will stay switched on for ?2 hours before it auto-powers down. I did wonder whether it would be worth switching it on before entering the water - one less task.

 

If you're getting a tad blasé about taking macro "fish portraits", off-camera snooting (well, actually, any kind of shooting) is a great way to find a new passion! And frustration.

 

Best of luck. Bonaire is great place to try this all out.

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Why not? Video light work very well in deeper and darker wrecks

 

 

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I have other solas i use for placing offcamera etc. more compact, easier to place etc.

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Posted (edited)

 

Yep, that's it. I was doing just that in Bonaire a couple of weeks ago.

 

I used both an Anglerfish and the built-in slave detector on an Inon Z240 (not at the same time). I also tried using the Retra LSD on an Inon tripod.

 

I found the Retra/tripod setup worked fairly well although it was often almost impossible to place the tripod in a position that both light the subject (often cunningly tucked under an overhang, eg, arrowcrab; and was somewhere that wasn't on live coral or risk damaging the reef or too much of a slope. I did find, in the end, that it made me work much harder at using the Retra LSD on-housing, with more success than I expected.

 

The other thing I found about transporting all the gear underwater - not that easy! I had a mesh bag clipped on to my BCD containing the tripod, the Retra LSD and an Anglerfish with a fibre optic cable. The mesh bag was on a drawstring so that nothing, in theory, would float away. I'm a pretty experienced diver and Bonaire is very easy diving - but even then, getting the tripod, Retra and Anglerfish out the mesh bag, setting it up, disconnecting a strobe underwater, connecting it all up, finding a tripod safe space whilst balancing the camera setup in one hand was not the easiest of tasks!

 

 

nice, tnx. I have considered the issue of lugging it all around in the water, but i have a 'self designed' harness for the retra LSD which clips onto the buttplate of my rig above my buttpouch. I dive a Razor Sidemount config, so its just a case of reaching around and unclipping when i need it. Still a bit of a pain and will be interesting if i have a tripod on it as well..., but i tend to get close, so can't have anything on my front hanging down to squish any little reef guys/corals etc.

 

can you post your instagram feed as well pls so we can see your shots. mine is : ministryofgiraffes

 

tnx!

Edited by Ministryofgiraffes

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I have other solas i use for placing offcamera etc. more compact, easier to place etc.

You need high power video lights around 10000 or more lumens or it won’t be useful

 

 

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Actually unless in caves for bonaire video lights will be useless

 

 

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You need high power video lights around 10000 or more lumens or it won’t be useful

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

i disagree with this statement. The Hilma is the only real wreck on boanire and it isn't that deep or dark. iv'e had decent results in wrecks like the kittiwake etc. with the solas.

 

Let's be clear about the original statement. When i said i wouldn't use the keldans off camera. I was specifically referencing the requirement on this trip, to bonaire and the shooting I am doing. It was not a wide ranging statement about keldans off camera etc.

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What sola have you got? I guess it depends what is that you are looking for in your shots

 

 

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Id say it 100% depends on what you are looking for in your shots.

 

3 x sola 2000s which were originally bought for my gopro rig, but now serve more as nightlights/macro - general off camera wreck work etc. And a sola night Sea, but I havent really used that other than messing around with it. I need to speak to Jeff Honda before o go down that road..

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nice, tnx. I have considered the issue of lugging it all around in the water, but i have a 'self designed' harness for the retra LSD which clips onto the buttplate of my rig above my buttpouch. I dive a Razor Sidemount config, so its just a case of reaching around and unclipping when i need it. Still a bit of a pain and will be interesting if i have a tripod on it as well..., but i tend to get close, so can't have anything on my front hanging down to squish any little reef guys/corals etc.

 

can you post your instagram feed as well pls so we can see your shots. mine is : ministryofgiraffes

 

tnx!

I don’t use social media feeds - other than Wetpixel - and I’m traveling at the moment but will post some pics here at the weekend.

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Just found a couple of pics on my laptop.....

post-2756-0-75918000-1562705991_thumb.jpg

post-2756-0-57964500-1562706002_thumb.jpg

post-2756-0-27325100-1562706016_thumb.jpg

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Posted (edited)

I particularly like the bottom one. Really nice colours on the anemone and contrast with the blue of the shrimp with that little pop of pink in the eyes. Beautiful DOF as well.... Id be very happy if that one was mine :)

 

And the arrows beaker from the muppets impression. Never get tired of that..

Edited by Ministryofgiraffes

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Posted (edited)

post-89031-0-26196000-1562709242_thumb.jpeg

 

This was my best effort from cayman in May with the retra. Hanging upside down halfway down a wall at night..just couldnt quite hit the focus with the 105. Even this was a luckshot

Edited by Ministryofgiraffes

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Using fibre optic cables. I think I get it... so you basically run one of the fibre optic cables from the ‘off strobe’ to something like an ‘anglerfish trigger’ and make sure the trigger can see the strobe on your rig. The strobe on your rig fires when you shoot and the flash is picked up by the anglerfish trigger which fires the ‘offstrobe’ correct?....

 

If you get the triggerfish remote sensor instead, you will need an electrical cable, not a fibreoptic one, for your off camera strobe. Disadvantage: have to buy one. Advantage: the trigger draws from the strobe battery so no separate battery or on/off switch. If the strobe is on, the triggerfish is also working with a little blinking light to tell you so.

 

In relation to some of the other comments above, mixing strobe and video lights is tricky because strobes are a lot brighter than video lights. And the sunlight can be brighter than both, depending on where you are. If you have to balance your shutter speed for bright sunlight and turn up the strobes to compensate, then you won't see anything from your video lights unless they're pointing at the camera.

 

That said, I don't shoot a lot of macro because the bugs in caves tend to need a microscope rather than a camera. Maybe video lights are more useful for macro?

 

I agree with Tim that tripods are a PITA. Take another photographer with you or go solo, cause you'll lose your buddy after the first 30 minutes of re-positioning the tripod in the same location...

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I only dive solo when shooting in places like Bonaire. Unless someone else is happy covering about 20 sq feet in a one hour dive, then they can come with me :)

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I only dive solo when shooting in places like Bonaire. Unless someone else is happy covering about 20 sq feet in a one hour dive, then they can come with me :)

 

LOL, don't I know that problem. I had one seriously cheesed-off dive/life partner.......

 

Maybe we should buddy up! I spent over 40 minutes in one spot on Something Special - and only left then because I felt bad (ish) for my partner.....

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