Thursday, September 1, 2011

Working with Radiopoppers again

Canon 5D mkII 70-200 f2.8L IS II lens iso 800 1/200@f4

A few weekends ago I did a quick test session with model Jenni Sosnow from Model Mayhem. I mainly wanted to test out my Radiopopper PX triggers which I hadn't used in a while.

The reason why I haven't been using the Radiopoppers lately is for a couple of reasons.  First of all, the bracket used to mount the receiver to the front of the flash is made of plastic.

I've gone through about 2 or 3 of them already because the hotshoe mount of the baseplate consists of two teeny little tabs of plastic that have a tendency to crack.  Probably doesn't help that I'm rough on my gear to begin with, but I really wish they would make a stronger version.

Another reason is storage.  The plastic mount with the trigger adds a lot of bulk to the 580, making it difficult to store in my camera bag if I want to store the whole assembly together.

I've been looking for a container that lets me store the trigger, 2 receivers and 2 sets of the mounts separately from the flash.  I recently came across the Pelican 1060 case which seems to fit the bill, although it is a little bulky.

Pelican 1060-025-100 Micro Case with Clear Lid and Carabineer (Black)

The final reason is battery life.  The Radiopoppers have a built in battery level indicator (1-10) on their lcd display, and I've found that anytime I've tried using batteries less than "7" on the scale, it didn't always trigger the flashes reliably. I've settled on using Energizer lithium AAA batteries, and being very careful to take them out of the Radiopoppers if I'm not going to use them for a while (I had left some Duracell AAA batteries in there for a couple of months one time and had one leak battery acid all over the entire compartment).

For this test session with Jenni, I used a Canon 5D mkII and a 580EX II flash on a stand with a Radiopopper receiver and modified with a small Photoflex LiteDome. I triggered this via a 580EX on camera with a Radiopopper trigger. On this day it was overcast, so I mainly used this setup to add some directionality to the existing flat lighting.

I had the softbox in very close, just out of frame (the second flash that you see in this behind the scenes shot was not used in the final image).  Raised it up as high as it could go so that I could tilt the light down and get close to a Rembrandt style of light falling across her face.

Shot this in aperture-priority mode with -1 exposure compensation to darken the surrounding area a little. By using the softbox in close and slightly overpowering the ambient light, I was able to darken the shadows below her chin to help shape her face for the look that we wanted.

Canon 5D mkII 70-200 f2.8L IS II lens iso 200 1/800@f2.8

1 comment:

cory said...

yep. agreed about the plastic mounts for the poppers... they need some cnc'd billet aluminum