Thursday, January 7, 2016


Ta da! Over with high-speed workshop just by the new year's eve! And now I'm looking for cooperation with my colleagues in the club, specifically those who had the workshop with me, to work further on to hone our skills and come up with some more interesting ideas. Moreover, I've decided to finally purchase a "power pack," which is  a power supply specifically made for flashguns (or speedlites and speedlights). No time to place an order for stores out of the country so I got it from a local store with a relatively reasonable price (in fact, it is a match for the price listed in US stores but in Kuwaiti Dinars). I hope this new addition would push me further on using my flashes for more projects (specially tabletop). Also on the rack, some tiny project within my room waiting to be... examined so to say!


Last week I've posted about the book I've just finished which discusses workshops done with speedlites. During that time, I was also involved in HSS (or High-Speed) photography workshop. In order to keep up with my trials, I've purchased (as mentioned above) a power pack to feed the flashgun better and give a longer lifetime. The power pack is Nissin PS-8.

This pack comes with relatively good price relative to the other more advanced packs like Quantum and Bolt. Even though I've purchased it locally (from AAB World stores) but the price is almost identical to the one found on B&H stores. Still wondering how these guys make a gain really! Anyway, I'm on the task now to find an extra power cable to run a second flashgun (the pack supports 2 flashguns at a time). Unfortunately, checking all possibilities around, there is no chance to get this cable locally as it seems and hence there is an order to placed in the horizon (which also means I have to pack more stuff to make the charge worthwhile!). Thus, in the meantime, I'm trying to build up my mind as to what to add. One of the things that I will be adding soon is some extra 3D (anaglyph) glasses (made of paper), and probably another photography book.
Back to the workshop now. The work with HSS is not something new with me as I used to work with sensors triggered by sound or infrared beams, like Savings on the left. This shot though was made by a triggering mechanism connected to the flash and not camera (and the work had to be done in a completely dark room). In the HSS workshop, however, no triggers were used and there was no plan to use them. The founder of our group (and the one giving training in the workshop) was trying to teach us 2 major aspects: a) team work, b) timing. I believe these are the core of the whole workshop, as I personally am no stranger to the field of HSS but didn't do much of it. Team work proved to be a fun-activity and quite necessary for complex ideas somehow (away from sensors). As for the timing, I think it was a great practice for aligning mind, eye, and hand in the process of capturing that specific moment.

Canon EF 100mm macro, f/22, 2500-1sec, ISO100.

There were trials on falling salt grains, balloons filled with water, falling objects into water, and many many more! I didn't do all of these experiments with the participants actually, yet the results were often interesting. Upon closer inspection, sometimes, it seems faster shutter speeds were needed. Shots like Splash were partially fine but some droplets were blurred (and in fact I did a major cleaning work to focus only on interesting droplets.

Canon EF 50mm, f/13, 2500-1sec, ISO200.
The balloon experiment was the most promising one I would say (and I was the first to time it right, then others followed!). Looking back at previous attempts to capture this, and also in the previous day, I've decided to raise the ISO for one stop (to ISO200). As stated in some texts, for cameras with cropped sensors like mine (Canon EOS 7D), it is safe to raise the ISO up to 400 at least without having major noise problems. It is hard to get enough light onto the sensor despite using 3 powerful Canon's 600-RT flashguns. The distance from the flashgun to the subject plays a major rule here of course (and no modifiers were added) and we kept them a bit away from the table and covered with transparent plastic bags for safety.

Juicy Heart
Sigma 70-300mm @135mm,
f/10, 2000-1sec, ISO400.
One of the interesting shots (and the last in the series, and on the last day of the workshop) was a splash of juice which was then edited to make Juice Heart. I noticed the resemblance of the splash of the juice mix to a half heart and the idea came about right away! I tried to make a "seamless" duplication by cloning some parts off. The splash, though, does look a bit out of focus or with motion blur. Here too, a faster shutter probably was needed. I doubt that a handshake has any effect with shutter speeds that high! Following these splashing juices, capturing broken glasses was next but I didn't get involved in that activity. A colleague got his hand injured because of a tiny mistake in hand movement while breaking the glass. This proves how safety procedures are highly needed with such type of photography, beside the, somewhat, much necessities needed as well to produce a good-looking image (backgrounds, flashguns, props, ...etc).
The thing I will be trying to do next is to improve my skills with this type of photography, specially trying out capturing a bubble during its termination! We tried to capture that moment but we failed. Even my tiny trial (below) was not up to the ambition level I had in mind.



Well, many plans are here in my mind, in addition to the HSS training. A new idea for a panorama, evening classes, and what not. Probably my inner mind is trying to keep me far away from home as much as possible despite the tiresome daily chores. With every new year, people mention stuff about hopes and dreams, but I can't see stuff like that coming. They say these stuff every year, and things get worse and worse.
Anyway, I'll try to keep my mind busy for the time being, as much as possible. My health issues right now don't give a chance to go out at late night and find some good scenes to shoot at, this is beside the shaky security issues in the area which might make a night journey a suspicious venture. Just wish this coughing would go away and this tired lung would get some rest…

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