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Saturday, June 30, 2012

TritonFlash™ Features & Benefits

Lighting Equipment

 

The TritonFlash™ Lithium Ion Battery powered strobe kit is designed for the professional demands of events, sports, portraiture, architecture, editorial, and other applications where photographers require powerful output in locations without AC power.

By examining how a photo like the one shown above, along with some indoor shots were taken using the TritonFlash™, we will see how the main features of the unit provide important benefits.

(Click on any thumbnail image below for an enlarged view.)

Topics Covered:

  •     Simple lighting setup and exposure tips for beginners to get started with TritonFlash™
  •     Using two TritonFlash™ heads in the studio for a fashion/portrait
  •     Overcoming the challenges of a difficult location lighting situation with simple solutions
  •     Stopping the action of interior sports with TritonFlash™
  •     Adding interesting highlights to a full sun lifestyle portrait

Figure 1

This lesson covers the main features of the TritonFlash™ Lithium Strobe Kit shown above in fig 1. All of the kit contents are pictured below in figure 2.

Space doesn’t allow us to cover all the features of every item in detail. The full instruction booklet for the TritonFlash™ provides a detailed description of every aspect of the unit and is available for downloading here.

If you have experience with strobes, you may want to skip past the initial setup and testing of the TritonFlash™ and see some results of shooting sessions.

Figure 2

Operation of the TritonFlash™ is easy and straightforward. Connect the head to the swivel as shown. (figure 3)

Figure 3

Tighten the swivel to the head using the locking knob. (figure 4)

Figure 4

Connect the cable to the head. (figure 5)

Figure 5

Connect the other end of the cable to the power pack. (figure 6)

Figure 6

The TritonFlash™ can be operated by using a ratio trigger, connecting the strobe directly to the camera via the included hot-shoe, or it can be triggered by another flash using a built in optical slave sensor.

We’ll begin the lesson by using the FlashFire™ wireless trigger that comes in the kit, which allows remote firing of the flash at distances up to 50 meters/165 feet. (figure 7)

Figure 7

Connect the wireless receiver to the head as shown. (figure 8)

Figure 8

Connect the wireless transmitter to the camera as shown. (figure 9)

Figure 9

We’ll be using the OctoDome® extra small included in the kit. Assembly of softboxes can be a little confusing if you’ve never done it before, so click on this step-by-step link to see the assembly procedures.

Now we’re ready to set up for a simple exposure test. In this portion of the lesson we’ll be using the LCD of the camera instead of a handheld light meter. The TritonFlash™ has an extremely accurate range of output settings, so it’s easy to zero in on the best exposure by carefully examining your trial exposures and making adjustments "on the fly".

Controlling the TritonFlash™ is done using a dual-action control dial on the back of the head. (figure 10)

Figure 10

To begin our exposure test, we’ll use the main power setting mode shown in the picture above and setting the output on ½. With that setting we’ll have plenty of choices in power, either up or down. (figure 11)

Figure 11

For our first trial shot, we set our camera ISO to 200, shutter speed to 1/160tgh of a second, and our aperture to f/8. The strobe was about 6 feet from our subject and a couple of feet higher than the eye level of the subject. This is a good starting point for a first portrait setup.

As you can see, our first shot was overexposed. So we simply dialed the power back to 1/8th power and shot another test shot. (figure 12)

Figure 12

Our new exposure at 1/8 power looks good. Now we can be assured of getting a good exposure whenever we duplicate this set up. The variety of lighting setups is limitless, but a lot can be accomplished with a very simple approach like the one we used in our test. Let’s make a quick improvement to the shot by creating better separation between the model’s black hair and black background. (figure 13)

Figure 13

Here we see that the white background to the left of the model can be used as a bounce fill if the camera, light and model are moved back a few feet. See the next two photos to compare. (figure 14)

Figure 14

We’re going to improve this test portrait by moving the model closer to a white surface so the light from the TritonFlash™ will bounce onto the shadow side of his face and fill the shadows. Using a reflector, such as the Photoflex® LiteDisc® works great in this situation, but for now we’ll keep things really simple so you can duplicate this set up at home using a light colored wall. (figure 15)

Figure 15

Our final shot in this series of tests shows good exposure and satisfactory separation between the subject and the background. In the next section of the lesson we’ll put these basic principles to work using a professional model. (figure 16)

Figure 16

EXPOSURE SET UP NOTES FOR BEGINNERS:

When you shoot with strobe indoors MAKE SURE YOUR CAMERA IS SET ON MANUAL so you’ll be able to control the shutter and f/stop independent of the ambient light in the room. Trying to shoot with strobe indoors with your camera on Auto exposure will usually result in a washed out image.
There are many shutter speeds that will work with strobe because the shutter doesn’t control the amount of strobe light that enters the camera. It is the f/stop that controls the exposure from strobe. For typical studio shots I always pick the fastest shutter speed that will work with my wireless triggers. In this case we’ll use 1/160.
THERE IS ONLY ONE F/STOP THAT WILL GIVE YOU THE RIGHT EXPOSURE when shooting with strobe, and that f/stop depends upon the strobe output and its distance from the subject. When getting started with strobes I suggest that you limit your variables by staying on f/8 and changing the output of the strobe to achieve your best exposure.

------------------------- TRITONFLASH™ LESSON RESULTS ------------------

In the next series of shots we invited a model (Vanessa) to come into the studio and pose for some portrait/glamor shots.

The following shots were done with two TritonFlash™ heads. One was used with an extra small OctoDome® and the other was fired through a 39 x 72 inch LitePanel with diffusion material. This ‘key and rim’ setup is very common for portrait and fashion shooting. If you only have one strobe head, a properly positioned silver LitePanel can be substituted for the second head to achieve a rim light.

In this shot we used both TritonFlash™ heads at 1/2 power. The camera was set at 1/125 sec at f/10 using ISO 100. As you can see, the TritonFlash™ is very powerful. Most studio shooting can be done at 1/4 power, enabling thousands of flashes on a single charge. (figure 17)

Figure 17

Here’s another view from over the photographer’s shoulder. Note that the key light (OctoDome® extra small) is at a 45 degree angle to the side of Vanessa and about 30 degrees above her. This is producing a ‘loop’ lighting pattern, which is a good starting place for a moving model because a slight turn of her face to one side produces two good alternative patterns: Rembrandt and Paramount. (figure 18)

Figure 18

Here’s our final image from the studio. (figure 19)

Figure 19

In the next set of photos we see the TritonFlash™ used to produce images of Vanessa on location in an abandoned warehouse along the Pacific coast.

In this window shot we used the direct sun as a hair light and the TritonFlash™ as our key light. Note that the use of direct sunlight did not overpower the TritonFlash™, even though the head was going through an OctoDome®. Shots like this are not easily done with a shoemount flash and a LiteBox, but with TritonFlash™ exposure is easy because of the 300 watt second rating. High output like this opens up a wide range of possibilities for location photography. Camera setting: 1/160 at f/8 using ISO 100 at minus 1 EV (ISO 50 equivalent). (figure20)

Figure 20

In this setup shot we see how simple the lighting is for these types shots: Just sunlight and one TritonFlash™ in an OctoDome™. Fashion, outdoor portrait photographs and commercial videos are produced with this lighting combination all the time. (figure 21)

Figure 21

In an alternative take we tilted the camera and had Vanessa extend her arms to change the angle of her back. Later, we warmed up the image and increased the contrast in post-production to give the shot a late afternoon feel. (figure 22)

Figure 22

In shots that follow, TritonFlash™ was used to produce high quality action shots of gymnasts in flight. This is accomplished by setting TritonFlash™ on 1/2 power or lower so that the flash duration is very short and results in sharp ‘frozen’ images. Because TritonFlash™ is so powerful, 1/4 power may be all that’s necessary for indoor situations like this. (figure 23)

Figure 23

In the set up shot below we see a TritonFlash™ in a small OctoDome® (3 foot) at a distance of 20 feet. A second bare bulb TritonFlash™ set at 1/4 power is on the opposite side of the subject. Camera setting: 1/200 sec at f/4.0 using ISO 500. With high output and short flash durations from the TritonFlash™ excellent results can be achieved for any indoor activity such as wedding receptions, sports, etc. (figure 24)

Figure 24

Back on location we used TritonFlash™ as a hair light with our model in direct afternoon sun. The sun is putting out 8000 foot candles and TritonFlash™ is set at full power, producing more than twice the output of the sun to achieve a strong rim light. (figure25)

Figure 25

For the final shot we asked the model to recline in order to hide the strobe. Note the well balanced rim light on her cheek and hair. This helps to add separation and a sparkling highlight to the shot. Camera setting: 1/80 sec f/13 using ISO 100. (figure 26)

Figure 26

Our ‘photo team shot’ shows the TritonFlash™ set at full power in an extra small OctoDome® being used for flash fill. The flash is 20 feet from the group. That’s an amazing amount of power for a battery powered strobe. (figure 27)

Figure 27

Thank you for your interest in Photoflex® products!

Frequently asked questions:

Why is TritonFlash™ a good choice for the performance demands of professionals? Professionals that routinely shoot weddings, portraits, sports, advertising photos and outdoor events need high output, especially if they’re in direct sunlight. The photo below shows how the addition of TritonFlash™ can change a harsh sunlit photo into a well-balanced image.

The output of the TritonFlash™ is high enough to compete with full sun, enabling photographers to create balanced lighting in the brightest daylight situations. The power can also be reduced to 1/64 output for low light situations. TritonFlash™ has 19 accurate settings (in 1/3 stop increments) to allow for precise control of output.

Is the TritonFlash™ suitable for beginners and non-professional photographers? Yes, it’s a very good choice for non-professionals because it’s so easy to use. With very little experience, photographers will be producing high quality family portraits, party photos, sports shots and beautiful indoor photos. The TritonFlash™ kit has a softbox, wireless remote flash trigger, extra lithium battery and many other accessories that quickly add up if purchased separately.

Is TritonFlash™ good for indoor and studio shooting? Yes, it’s great for indoor photography. The TritonFlash™ can be run on AC power just like a studio strobe by using the battery charger to connect the TritonFlash™ power module to wall socket. TritonFlash™ automatically adjusts to voltage levels between AC 100 volts and AC 240 volts.

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