Big groups, small flash. Wait a minute! The bigger the group, the bigger the flash! Not necessarily. With the tech packed into Speedlights and cameras nowadays, the old adage of go big or go home is not always true.
The three pics on the blog today were all shot with the same light shaper. A Lastolite 4 in 1 umbrella. Convertible to four different styles of shaper, the baseline umbrella aspect of this tool is 51″ across. Big enough for a group, very lovely for a person.
And with the redoubtable group above, I figured I better bring my best game, and good light. Mixed in on the bench there are country music stalwarts The Kentucky Headhunters and Black Stone Cherry. Great folks to work with, and patient as hell. (One thing about rockin’ country bands–they didn’t mind posing in the loft of a barn in Kentucky in July. We’re talking over a hundred degrees up there.)
The above was shot with the aforementioned umbrella high and to camera left. There are three SB 910 units, fitted on a tri-flash, firing into it and it’s oriented in reflective mode, not shoot through. (This approach produces more scatter and widens the coverage a bit.) On the floor on either side of the camera were two tri-flips fittted with silver reflectors. A single SB-910 unit, fitted onto the extension arm of an Avenger c-stand with a Justin clamp bounced down into each to provide a little bit of low wash of light that just filled in the group slightly. Easy. Lighting ratio between the high umbrella and the low fills is most likely about 3-1. Give or take a few photons.
Covers the group nicely! But how does it drape itself on a single person? In beautiful fashion, to be sure.
The lovely Fallon Rivers, above, is Johnny Cash’s great niece. She is perched on a fence at the country home in Bon Aqua, Tennessee, where Johnny would often retreat to write and recharge. Off to camera right, a good 10-12′ feet from her is the good old 4 in 1, this timed used in shoot through fashion, again with 3 Speedlights firing into it. High speed sync deployed here, as I am shooting my 200mm f2 right at f2. (Shutter translated to 1/4000th at that f-stop.) Highlights on her hair courtesy of the fading sun.
And then, there is Miss Joanne Cash, Johnny’s sister, gospel singer with many albums to her credit, and bona fide country music royalty. Light is to camera left, with a bit of tri-grip reflector below it.
At the distance the light is from Fallon, it retains a nice glow, but at the short distance (maybe 3′) it is to Miss Joanne, the light from the Speedlights positively wraps her up like a soft blanket.
Same light source, expressed three different ways. Versatile, light, easy to tote around. Country music folks are good folks. CMA’s coming up this weekend!