Sunday, October 21, 2012

Celebrating Birthday! (with OM-D and RC flashes)

On 20th Oct my son, Advaya, turned 9. This time I had the most powerful micro 4/3 gear to shoot his birthday. I was contemplating various ways to shoot this event.
Initially I thought I would shoot only with my prime 45 f/1.8 on OM-D. But while doing the tests I found that I don't have enough space to move back and forth to get the whole group. So I decide that I will shoot most of it with 12-50 and then switch over to 45mm when kids settle down. This idea worked like a charm, as you will see.
My next issue was the lighting. Since the party was going to be indoors, with tungsten light, I knew I would have limited light. Although this is sufficient for OM-D + 45 1.8, its definitely not enough for 12-50.
So an idea stuck me. I have never really shot any event with RC flashes. I have both FL-36R and FL-50R. But I have always used them on-camera with E-5. And since I have already decided that I would shoot this event only with OM-D, I had to use flashes in RC mode. both FL-36R and 50R are too bulky on OM-D.
I was quite apprehensiv
e about my ability to set them up correctly.
So began my trial-and-error, make-shift method
  • Initially I thought 1 FL-50R should be enough. Hall in which the party was going to be was not large (10 x 15 feet). Generally on-camera flash would cover this space nicely, but in RC mode I found that lighting was uneven in certain angles.
  • Since the kids would be moving around, I quickly understood that one flash in RC mode at a fixed location will not be enough.
  • So I decided to use 2 RC flashes to cover entire area and rely on the bounce to provide over all illumination of the entire area from any angle.
  • I setup my flashes at either side of the room at an height of around 7ft and used the Gary Fong’s Lightsphere diffuser on each of them. And directed them towards the ceiling to get maximum illumination through bounce. Gary Fong’s Lightsphere are by far one of the best diffusers I have seen. They are absolutely brilliant in providing soft and even illumination
  • I set the flashes in 2 groups in RC mode. I set FL-50R in group A and FL-36R in group B.
  • I then used group A in Manual @ 1/10 of the power and group B in Manual @ 1/4 of the power.
  • I used ISO between 200 to 800 to gain sensitivity. I didn't want to increase the power on the flashes because I wanted fast recycle as kids were moving around.
  • Once the setup was complete, Kids began to arrive and shooting started!
  • I found that this setup provided pretty good overall illumination from all angles. Wherever the pics were underexposed, I corrected them in Lightroom. And OM-D’s dynamic range is so fantastic that I can get details from pics which are underexposed by upto 2.5 stops!
Even for a novice like me, I found that setting up Olympus gear in RC mode is breeze!
So my final gear OM-D, 12-50, 45 1.8, FL-36R and FL-50R (in RC mode. FL-LM2 to trigger the RC flashes)

Another thing is the ease with which you can change the flash intensity! Absolutely brilliant!

Monkey business! :-) With friends!
1/60s . f/4.1 . ISO 200 . 16 mm (12-50)
For the pic! More friends!
1/60s . f/5.1 . ISO 500 . 25 mm (12-50)
Crazy guys! Blast with the friend!
1/60s . f/5.0 . ISO 500 . 24 mm (12-50
Shooting the shooter...! :-) Shooting the shooter!
1/60s . f/3.5 . ISO 400 . 12 mm
Performers and Audience Dance time!
1/60s . f/3.5 . ISO 400 . 12 mm
Michael Jackson! +1/60s . f/3.6 . ISO 400 . 13 mm
The group! Enjoying!

1/60s . f/4.4 . ISO 400 . 19 mm
Makeshift Piata Playing with Pinata!
1/60s . f/3.9 . ISO 400 . 15 mm
Always a monkey! Monkey business!
1/80s . f/1.8 . ISO 200 . 45 mm
More Michael Jackson! For pics where I didn’t use flash, I set the white balance to custom. For flash I used the Auto WB.
+1/100s . f/1.8 . ISO 4000 . 45 mm (no flash)
Freeze dance time! Freeze dance

1/80s . f/1.8 . ISO 200 . 45 mm
Falling in Line! Standing in line for the the game!

1/80s . f/1.8 . ISO 200 . 45 mm
Some symemetry...finaly! Making them sway!
1/80s . f/1.8 . ISO 200 . 45 mm
Tummy full! Tummy is full!

1/100s . f/1.8 . ISO 6400 . 45 mm (no flash)
I am 9! Yes, I am 9!!

1/100s . f/1.8 . ISO 3200 . 45 mm (no flash)
U r 9 babay! U R 9 Baby!
1/60s . f/5.5 . ISO 400 . 31 mm
Is it that strange?! Yes, thats the cake! :-)

This was a bit underexposed, corrected in Lightroom.

1/60s . f/4.7 . ISO 400 . 21 mm
Finally cutting it! Time to cut it baby!! :-)

1/60s . f/3.5 . ISO 400 . 12 mm
Birthday bumps!! Time for birthday bumps! :-)

1/60s . f/3.5 . ISO 400 . 12 mm
My babyyyy! :-) With daddy!

1/60s . f/4.7 . ISO 400 . 21 mm
Mom and Son Momma’s boy! :-)

1/60s . f/4.5 . ISO 400 . 19 mm
I won!! Yes! I am a big boy now!

1/100s . f/1.8 . ISO 5000 . 45 mm (no flash)
Shooting with prime is joy I have never felt before!
I hope you like my blog as much as I loved shooting it!
Its tough to put kids in a small space and shoot them, but with little bit of patience, it can be done :-)
More pics here