Technics - Unbound flashing II

Written by Manuel Faessler
Hi folks

As the last post regarding technics was well received (funny fact: most of the questions reached my via e-mail, not as comment to the blog-post) today I want to write a second part regarding my unbound flashing methods. This time I want to focus on my outdoor flash unit and the triggering of it. As with the first post, I'll include a list of the mentioned items at the bottom, so you can find exactly the things I'm talking about. Thanks a lot for your Feedback to the first post and the great ideas for further topics!!!

At first I want to explain, why I use the outdoor flash unit. I've begun using flashes outdoor with the „low-cost"-System. The one great disadvantage of the low-cost system is performance, so you reach the bounderies of that system relatively quick (when the environment is to bright, if you want to work with light formers, if you're too far away, etc. – in short: if you need some BOOM!). As I really like working outdoors and take the pictures as they are with background and all (OK, maybe I just suck at photoshop), it was the only logic way to get such a flash unit.

My decision to use the elinchrom Ranger RX was more or less by chance. Those who know me, know that I inform myself well before doing or buying something, and I had 3 systems in mind (Pirolite, elinchrom and Multiblitz) which would be great for me. As a fellow photographer was selling his elinchrom gear for a good price I made the move and bought it. One important fact was, that it included an A-Head which is faster and really suited my style of photography.

One of the questions to the last post was, why I don't trigger my Ranger with the Yongnou-triggers as well. To explain that I have to explain a little flashing-theory at first. I want to make it really quick and „shallow" as there are much better explainations and comparisons in the internet.

Every camera has a so called „synchronous time" – that is the time in which the shutter is completely open plus a little extra time to time the flash – which is the fastest time you can set your shutter when working with a conventional flash. This time is between 1/200s and 1/250s depending on the camera. If you want to use faster shutter speeds (action-photography, take pictures with open aperture, ...) you have to cheat a little. Detachable flash units work with the so called „HSS-mode", which basically means, that the flash works like a really fast strobe and fire a succession of really fast flashes in a way that the whole sensor-area is lighted properly while the focal plane shutter is working. The outdoor flash units work with the so called „Super-Sync"-principle which is pretty much the opposite of the HSS-mode. The flash is really slow (slower than the shutter speed) and the shutter gets timed in a way that the whole sensor area is lighted correctly.

And now for the triggers: the Yongnou triggers are really great for my „low cost"-system (HSS-mode) and are even capable of triggering my Ranger RX, but are not capable of the „Super-sync" mode. Thats why I work with the PocketWizard-triggers on the outdoor flash unit. I've really tested the trigger (and the flash unit) a lot and they trigger the ranger reliably with speeds up to 1/6400s (mostly up to 1/8000s, but not reliably – sometimes you can see a dark area from the shutter on the pics).

As this system is much heavier than my low-cost system, the little tripods won't do the job. Thats why I've bought a big boom stand (a Manfrotto – I just love their quality, a pity they are a little expensive). A little tip: the powerpack can be used as a counterweight just perfectly. To work with that system more „professional" I've bought a lighting meter too (OK, Alex Heinrichs „bullied" me – and many others – to work with one ... ;-) ). I really work more and more with it (but not always ... :P).

As flashing makes no sense at all without light-formers (exception: some really special light-setups) I've bought 3 Softboxes in different shapes and sizes to complete my set of a beautydish and a normal reflector which came with the flash. As my budget was nearly exhausted I've decided to try the Walimex-softboxes and I have to admit that I am surprised. This is really great value for your money, not the maximum quality and not the most comfortable option to buy, but I think nobody expects that for that price (hopefully).

Now the link-list (a little bit longer today):

Elinchrom Ranger RX
no link for know - coming shortly

Action Head
Transceiver – Pocket Wizard
Receiver– Pocket Wizard
Light-Meter
Walimex Octabox 120cm
Walimex Striplight 25x150cm
Walimex rectangular softbox 60x60 cm
Manfrotto Tripod

If you have some additional questions for my, feel free to ask me. You can just comment here, write me an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or send me a message on facebook. I'll do my best to answer all your questions.

If you want me to write about a specific topic in the future please let me know. I'll be happy to write a little post about it.

And as allways: if you like this post (or not), please let me know ... spread the word, press „like", etc. I really appreciate your feedback!!!

Cheers,
Manuel

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