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Old     (ak4life)      Join Date: Nov 2003       04-12-2010, 11:14 AM Reply   

I'm shooting from the boat and looking to brighten up the rider on an overcast day and offset some of the shadows from the overhead sun.

I've got a Speedlite 430EX, but preliminary backyard testing indicates it's only slightly better than nothing at all, has a hard time keeping up with sequence shots and drains the 4 AA batteries too quickly, so I'm thinking I need something more robust.

My budget for this is a few hundred $$ -- the less the better. My boss is an avid sports photographer and recommends White Lightning, some folks here have spoken favorably of Alien Bees -- looks like both are made by the same people.

What's an example setup that has worked for others (keeping my budget in mind )? Can the bees be powered off the boat battery or a portable generator / large battery pack (Vagabond) required? I've got a Craftsman 12 volt power source (1), wonder if that could be adapted to power the bees and would yield 500 or so flashes for the day with fast enough recycling time. Also, do you use Honeycomb Grids (2) to concentrate the light?


Old     (wakesurf12)      Join Date: Jun 2003       04-12-2010, 3:22 PM Reply   
Hey man,

I hate to burst your bubble but your not going to be able to find a strobe that can be in the boat and light the rider and be fast enough to freeze the action for a few hundred dollars.

The Speedlight will be great once the sun has set and if you have the flash on a tube. That would be my recommendation.

As far as Alien Bee's and White Lightnings go. They are great budget lights for shooting portraits and things that don't move too quickly. It's kinda funny but they have a pretty bad flash duration and actually get worse as you lessen the power (which is quite opposite actually.) I would research flash durations and get a handle on that before making a leap into buying more gear.

I currently use an Elinchrom Ranger and "A" head when I have the strobe in the boat. It's great but sometimes I wish I had more power. It's perfect for when the light is low and it runs off a battery pack. I typically use my large reflector to get the light out to the subject. It focuses the light a little more but since there isn't anything really around the rider to compete with I let it go with out grids.

Here are some examples from shoots with it.
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Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       04-12-2010, 7:06 PM Reply   
Nice work Ryan.
Old     (wakedad33)      Join Date: Oct 2005       04-12-2010, 7:26 PM Reply   
Ryan, nice shots of Colin.

Walt, I don't know if this would help or not, but a lot of the wildlife guys on FM use the Better Beamer, it's cheep. Any thoughts Ryan?
Old     (wakesurf12)      Join Date: Jun 2003       04-12-2010, 8:57 PM Reply   
Hey Randy, I haven't used the better beamer so I am not too sure of the results. I still think that there wouldn't be enough power from the speedlight to reach back 80+ ft to the rider though. At least not with a fast duration.
Old     (steezyshots)      Join Date: Feb 2008       04-13-2010, 8:46 AM Reply   
Ryan the Alien Bees can do the job, I use them all the time. The durations can be a little challenging you just have to get creative. like you said before there is nothing out there in the world of stobes that is only going to run a couple hundred dollars. I have already dumped thousands into strobes


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