Monday, April 11, 2011

Flash Bus Tour: Buffalo

  I shuffled off to Buffalo on Saturday to attend the "Flash Bus Tour 2011" and it was well worth it. These guys truly make lighting people look easy. The day started with Joe 'NumNuts' McNally and David 'Strobist' Hobby greeting people as they waited in line to be processed and receive their swag bag of goodies. The bags contained a Flash Bus CF card holder from Think Tank Bags, Strobist filter kit from Roscoe Filters, and a Cinch Strap from Lumiquest. Also included were various coupons towards the purchase of gear and software from the other sponsors of the tour. One freebie coupon that was highlighted in both sessions was for a Frio cold shoe mount that both raved about. I've order it hoping that they deliver to Canada. It looks like the better mouse trap, I'll review the free one and order others if it lives up to the praise.

 The day was split into two sessions with David showing his method of using manual flash settings via a well organized slide show. He walked us through a couple of different shooting scenarios looking at what he looks for in a location, how he evaluates the base light (ambient) and then adds layers of light using "AKFA".

A - Ambient.      K - Key.      F - Fill.      A - Accent.

 I really picked up on the importance of setting the "Ambient" light first. Eliminating it entirely or dialing it down to take advantage of it's color cast or undertones then adding your key and fill lights to taste as he uses his cooking analogy. He kinda strayed off topic I thought for a few minutes as he explained how the photography marketplace has changed, where he thinks it's going and where his upcoming project Hoco360 should leave him in a marketable position. It was interesting don't get me wrong, those that rely on photography for a living may have found it more interesting. But bottom line I'm paying to learn about lighting not how the bottom has dropped out of photography market.

 After the lunch break Joe took to the stage with some live demos of TTL lighting. He walked us through a single on camera flash scenario to multiple flashes including a finale using every Nikon flash in the audience. The session showed numerous lighting setups adding layers of diffusion, different lights for different faces from the audience all using the camera's TTL system to control flash output and making adjustments on what the camera sees. Here I learned how important it was to zero out your flashes as you add them in each setup, don't guess let the camera tell you what it thinks is correct first and adjust on that. Also how to feather the light by positioning the light source angled off subject slightly.

 Both David and Joe were very entertaining and made the day very informative and fun at the same time. Some good nature poking between the two about Manual versus TTL was rather funny to watch... all and all a great day and well worth the money.

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