Here are some shots from our sunset shoot in Maui last Thursday (click on any one for a larger view).
I was lucky enough to have my buddies Joe McNally and Anne Cahill join me for this second shoot (we were all guests of photographer Randy Braun who put the shoot together), and when the sun started to set, I pulled out my Nikon SB-800 Flash unit for some location lighting. (Joe, Annie, and I all had one, but we only used one flash at a time). I set mine to Wireless mode, so I could use the flash off camera, and control it right from my camera, using the Nikon D300’s pop-up flash to trigger the wireless unit (when you do this, the pop-up flash doesn’t light your subject—it just sends out a light pulse that fires the wireless SB-800).
We each started out using the flash with just a diffusion dome to soften the light a bit, and then later as the sun went down, Joe put a yellow gel (a half cut of CTO) over the head of the flash (attached with black gaffer’s tape) to make the flash look more like the setting sun. From that point on, we were basically working to just balance the existing light with the light of the flash. We underexposed the sky to a stop to a stop and a half to make the sky look a little darker than it actually was. Then we kept dialing down the power of the flash until it looked about right.
Having Joe McNally, the master of location flash at the shoot, was amazing, and once we moved over to the rocks, Joe brought out a large gold reflector, and used it like an umbrella by firing the flash directly into the reflector so the light bounced back onto our subject. This worked to spread the light from the flash and make it softer, and of course, it worked wonderfully well (that McNally guy knows what he’s doing, eh?). Plus, Annie (who works for Nikon Professioal Services), was showing me all the cool new stuff in the D300. I was just lovin’ it! ;-)
The rest of the shoot had the three of us trading off shooting, and basically just controlling the power output of the flash, while Randy took shots of us shooting and was so gracious to put up with us shooting until after the sun had set). All in all, it was a beautiful night (the weather was perfect), and anytime you shoot with Joe McNally you can’t help but learn a lot, and I certainly did. Thanks to Randy Jay Braun for hosting the shoot (and for sharing the bottom three shots of us shooting live—that’s Randy with the white ball cap on), and to our model, Tricia Dong, for being so patient and fun throughout the entire shoot.
One last thing: the photos were just processed in Lightroom; no Photoshop at all (not even sharpening).