As I write this my Macbook is busy in the background, resizing photos for the web. I took the day off on Saturday so I could spend it walking around my neighborhood taking photos of all the Halloween events. What seemed like constant rain for the past few weeks finally stopped and we had a perfect fall day to be outside.
First came the kids parade and costume contest. I decided to hang back and let the parents have the prime spot at the end of the stage which means I had to shoot around a post and missed a shot or two but that’s ok since it’s all for fun anyway.
After the kids got to show off their costumes there was the dog parade which I always like a lot. I think it makes the dogs pretty happy too. I’m amazed that they all get along so well. We seemed to have a lot of Scuba Diving dogs this year (Scoobi Divers). It’s pretty cool to see the dogs and dog owners dressed in matching theme costumes. It always takes a while to clear the street and get the parade organized which gave me time to get down on the ground and shoot some dog level action. The best results in my mind were the shots into the direction of the sun using the Nikon balanced fill flash with the SB600 flash mounted on the camera.
After the dog costume contest I got something to eat (a hot dog) and headed back to my place to download all the photos I had taken so far and to get ready for the adult costume party in the evening. I decided to ditch my camera bag and wore my shorts with the big cargo pockets which will hold a flash unit in each one. I have been trying to figure out how I wanted to go about taking photos this year and settled on using my DIY ring flash adaptor with the yellow diffuser to give everyone sort of an other worldly look.
A lot of people were curious about the flash adaptor (part of my strategy) and I think a few photographers may have even been a little jealous.
I arrived a little early before the crowd gathered so I could wander around. The rest of the family showed up and we grabbed a corner table and watched the costume contest together. I actually spent most of my time wandering over to the sidewalk and taking photos of people passing by and of course lots of photos of other people at the restaurant. I spent most of the next day sorting photos and trying to pick a few of the ones I liked enough to post.
The ring flash adaptor works with the camera in manual mode and it usually works best and uses less power at close range. I had some issues with the flash triggering after a while and I think that was mostly due to running out the batteries in the flash and the flash trigger I was using. I still have not gotten around to buying a cable to connect the flash electronics directly to the camera body. I tried using a simple sync cable but it didn’t seem to make a good connection and was not very reliable. People tell me that the expensive TTL cables that are used to mount the flash on a bracket above the camera seem to break pretty often as well so I guess it’s something you just have to put up with unless you can afford a bunch of spares.
I only got to try a few photos with two flashes because I had to have someone hold the second flash and that seemed to confuse them because most people think the flash should sit on the camera. I put a green gel filter on the second flash and a diffuser so it would act like a bare bulb unit sending light in every direction (including the eyes of the person holding it). To be fair I did tell them not to look at the flash but it was pretty helpful when I wanted to get their attention just to hit the test button on the transmitter.
I should have some photos ready to upload now so I’m going to stick them over on www.flickr.com and tag them with CWE HALLOWEEN 2009.