400ws vs The Sun: Overpowing sunlight with the EB 400 and he Skyport Plus HS

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I hear a lot of stories from photographers telling they need 1200 Ws flash or more to work outside on a sunny day.

Apparently they think you need a lot of power to flash away the shadow and the sun.

When they say this, I just show my little magic box; the ELB400 with 400 Ws output. That is enough to overpower the sun, along with the Skyport Plus HS trigger. I hear them laughing, “It will never work,” they say. They don’t know this is actually the perfect combo to beat the sun!

© Peter Van Heulen

© Peter Van Heulen

I show them how it works.

For example, recently I had to make some pictures for a publication about yoga. The model was only a few hours available, and, of course, at the worst time of the day in the early afternoon. The sun was shining directly into my lens. And the pictures needed to be made on this specific location, near the water.

This looks like an impossible situation.

With the right gear.

When you have the right gear, you have no problem to resolve such setting. I mount the Skyport Plus HS trigger on my camera and make the composition for the shot, with the Sun above the model. 

I measure the sky and I underexposed it almost 1,5 f-stop getting a darker background.

The Sekonic Litemaster Pro is the perfect meter for this work, it remotely triggers the flash too.

© Peter Van Heulen Left Without Hi-Sync Flash - Right With Hi-Sync Flash

© Peter Van Heulen
Left Without Hi-Sync Flash - Right With Hi-Sync Flash

For the flash I used the ELB 400 with one Quadra HS head fitted on a Rotalux Softbox Deep Octa 100 cm in front of the model just above my head. I use 2/3 stop more light output to get the model nice and bright in the picture. With this equipment, you can Hi-Sync the flash light with the camera up to 1/8000 sec of a shutter speed. But for this shot I only needed 1/3200 sec.

No Limits.

The little magic box allowed me to save a lot of time and hustle. I even had some time to do another shot in a nearby cornfield.
With these kinds of equipment, there is no limit to flash photography anymore. You can work everywhere in every condition and make magical pictures. 

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