Playing around with off camera flash

Me and Ellen went for a walk today and I decided to bring my SpeedLite 580EX and the Cactus V5 transceivers to do some tests with off camera flash in the sun. Since the 6D has a maximum flash sync speed of 1/180 (1/160 in practice if 1/3 EV steps are selected for shutter speed adjustments) I had to stop down the aperture quite a bit to balance the sun light and I shot in manual mode with 1/160 and f/9-f/11. I used a bare flash on the ground and positioned it just outside the frame so it was no problem to get enough power (I think I had it set to 1/16 power). I also put a 1/2 CTO gel on it to warm it up a little.

First a reference shot without the flash. Not a very good one and I didn’t have any other to choose from but I think it works for a comparison anyway.

Canon 6D and 35 f/2 without flash.

Then a couple of shots with the SpeedLite and the Cactus transceivers.

Canon 6D and EF 35 f/2, flash on the ground camera right.

Canon 6D and EF 35 f/2, flash on the ground camera left.

Canon 6D and EF 70-200 f/4L, flash on the ground camera right.

I think the difference between the first two shots is quite dramatic! I will definitely try this again and I’m already thinking about getting a neutral density filter so I can use wider apertures and combine thin DOF with the extra pop from the flash. I also plan to experiment with higher shutter speeds to see how limiting the dark bar will be in this scenario, portraits outside in daylight. Maybe a take it into account and and crop it out in post processing.


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