Sunday’s country workshop in Mono, ON prompts me to talk for a moment about batteries.
Background: We used small speedlights Sunday, with simple and effective Honl modifiers and gels. The studio lights and large softboxes stayed packed away.
In a shot like this, you make the background darker by “nuking the sun”: overpowering the sunlight with flash.
Overpowering the sun takes, um, power.
In general, therefore, you will set your Pocketwizard-powered speedlites to full power. On many shots we have five speedlites firing at full power. Full power gives you not that many flashes – in the order of maybe 100 flashes if you are lucky.
To use flash effectively, then, here are a few practical tips:
- Turn off the “Auto power down” on your flashes (this is in your flash custom functions).
- Move the flashes as close as you can to your subject (remember the inverse square law).
- Allow 3 or more seconds for the flashes to recharge before you shoot again.
- Occasionally, fire a test flash to verify that all flashes are still working.
- Use NiMH rechargeable batteries.
- Ensure these are “low self discharge” types like Sanyo Eneloop, etc.
- Carry a lot of spares. Several sets per flash.
- Before each new shot setup, replace them. So you never run out.
- Use a “conditioning charger” that can discharge your batteries fully before charging. I have three of the Lacrosse chargers (check Amazon or the web).
And yes, go wild, and use speedlites for creative purposes!