Thursday, February 26, 2009

Off Camera ETTL flash

I left the world of direct, on-camera flash some years ago, and its a needed step to take for creative and interesting lighting of subjects. In the past, I've used Canon's ST-E2 Infrared Transmitter (Or a Canon 580 serves the same function when set as master), which would trigger off camera flashes through a infrared signal. While this has proved wonderful in many cases, it is also frustrating, and I've long desired a wireless trigger instead of Infrared. Infrared requires line of site and an open view between the flash receiver port and the on camera transmitter. Misfiring is common and frustrating when this pathways is broken, which is easily done when working with wide angle lenses close to your subject, flipping the camera to vertical, or quickly altering the orientation of your off camera flash. Soon to come however is the Pocket Wizards new transmitter and receiver (MiniTT1 transmitter and FlexTT5 transceiver) which allows for wireless firing of ETTL flashes! You can read about it on Due to ship in March, I'll be happy to have more reliability, flexibilty, and quicker working times using this system.

Below is a sample of images taken recently at the World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks. I used a Canon 580 flash behind a soft box, triggered via infrared signal from the Canon 1Ds Mark III. The side-lighting offers a pleasant attention drawing focus and quality of light on the face of the sculptor while keeping the overall exposure low enough to still provide detail in the ice.

No flash on subject

Infrared-triggered off camera flash as sidelighting source

Note location of soft box on the right

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