Big Comfy Couch Session

Ashley is home from Queen’s University and Friday night she and her some of her old friends from high school and new friends from Queen’s came over for a lobster boil. Her friends learned how to eat lobster and I had chance to test out some new gear.

After supper, the kids spent the night in the photo studio having a blast creating some classic images which I’m sure they will enjoy the rest of their lives. Ashley, the laughing blond on the left, has a Cybersync remote radio trigger in her hand which she used to trigger the camera for this image. The camera was connected to my computer and one of the monitors was turned to the couch so the kids could instantly see the results. This generated a lot of laughter!

While the kids were emptying my beer fridge, I setup the leather couch in the studio with a new 14″ x 63″ strip light softbox above and just behind the couch to use as a hairlight. The softbox came from Studio 98 on Ebay. I am pleased with the quality of the softbox¬† and it did an excellent job of lighting the full length of the couch. I also ordered a 2×2″ grate to go with the softbox but it is starting to come apart. The softbox was an excellent value at $59 but I can’t recommend the $20 optional grate.

I recently bought a cable from Flash Zebra that allows me to use one of my Alien Bee Cybersyncs to remotely trigger my camera. I bought it to trigger my camera for wildlife photos in our backyard and woods. To set it up, I connected a Cybersync to the Alien Bee AB800 flash above the couch and connected another Cybersync with a AB800 and beauty dish in front on the left. At my camera, I connected another Cybersync using the cable from Flash Zebra. The cable from Flash Zebra has a mini-plug on one end to connect to the Cybersync and the standard Canon remote jack on the other end.

I clicked the remote trigger and checked the camera but I had a black frame. After checking my settings on the camera, I tried it again and verified the flashes were triggered. Although the flashes fired I still had a black image on the camera. Apparently there is a slight delay as the camera focuses so the flashes do not sync with the camera shutter. To make it sync, I would need a second trigger on the camera using a different radio channel to trigger the lights. I only have one trigger.

I solved the problem by using my Canon 430ex flash on my camera to trigger the optical slaves on the Alien Bee flashes. I set the 430ex to manual and minimum power. I had to remove the Cybersyncs from the Alien Bees as the optical slaves do not work when the Cybersyncs are connected. This worked!

The camera was tethered to my computer using a USB cable so the images could viewed immediately on the monitor. The monitor was turned towards the couch and the kids had a great time seeing their pictures. They were laughing all night!

Adobe Lightroom 3 now supports tethered shooting and I tried it with my Canon 50D. The transfer times were very slow so I switched to the Canon EOS Utility. Transfer times were faster so we used it. I don’t know if Lightroom is just slow or I was using the wrong settings. I need to investigate.

The only cable used with setup was the USB cable from the camera. I’d like to use a wireless connection to the camera but I can’t afford Canon’s $700 wireless adaptor for the 50D. Eye-Fi has a “Pro Wireless” memory card that can transmit the images through your wireless router to your computer. While the Eye-Fi Pro version supports RAW images, it only comes in a SD card format. It seems to me that a pro version should come in a compact flash version. I know you can get SD to CF converters so I may get one sometime.

The new gear worked great and the kids had a great time creating their own images in the studio.