Saturday, October 30, 2010

It's a Mystery to Me

Sometimes when modern technology doesn’t work, you just have to revert back to just putting the camera on manual, raise the ISO and bracket your exposures and hope for the best. While recently working on a feature metal sculpture artists Dan Klennert at his Elbe, Washington outdoor studio I couldn’t get my 580 EX flashes to fire.

Earlier in the week I was there to photograph the wonderland of rust-colored scrap metal sculptures that included dinosaurs, birds, fish, horses, insects, people on Harley motorcycles and a huge iron wheel.

Since he was welding at the time I returned a few days later to capture shots of him welding and planned to set up the flashes to lighten the sculptures a bit using Strobists/Joe McNally type lighting techniques, but for some reason they wouldn't fire by Radio Triggers. Since he using an arc welder/cutter and using a high amount of electrical current to work, it must have caused a lot of EM noise, which easily overpowered the signals. Then again maybe it was the fact that I was enclosed in a steel frame structure with an aluminum walls and roof and was filled with medal scrapes of all sizes and shapes. That could have quite possibility nulled out both the radio/IR signals too. Who the hell knows, the signals just didn’t fire the flashes while he worked.

So, I used the “Hail Mary” method, camera on manual and bracket
the exposures.  Also every time I got too close with the 16-35mm flying sparks created from the welding landed on me.  I should have gone to the car and grabbed a safety hat and glasses, but at this point and time I only worried about capturing a picture.  A few times when sparks landed in my hair and smelling burning hair I stopped shooting to slap the top of my head, but I continued shooting.  The slow shutter speed method worked, as I was able to make photos of him using a shutter speed of 1/20th of a second at f.5.6.

After I returned home and set the strobes up in my office they worked fine. As Fleetwood Mac once named an album, “It’s a Mystery to Me!”