NITECORE -- Keep Innovating        
Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Flashlights as primary illumination for night photography

  1. #1
    Enlightened
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    22

    Default Flashlights as primary illumination for night photography

    I bought some lights last week - the first time I've bought a serious light since the 1980s (a long story; don't ask).

    While I was playing with one of my new toys last night I heard some rustling in the trees by my place and turned the light on them. That really lit them up! More so than I'd expected. So much so that I thought "that's enough light to take a photo". (In my "real" hobby, I occasionally pretend to be a photographer.) I was right:





    (Note: these are fairly common brush-tail possums, who seem to put on hobnail boots and march across my roof most nights.)

    I got to thinking that if I'd been less thoroughly inept getting my camera and lens together to take these shots (another long story) I would have got a better series of photos. (Including one or two before the flying fox flew off in disgust.) Perhaps fewer glasses of red infuriator before trying this might have helped as well

    I did get to thinking I should have used both my torch and my flash for these (torch for locating and focusing on the target, flash for additional light when taking the photo) - but I didn't because I'd scrounged the batteries from the flash to feed the torch (see "inept", above). But I also got to thinking that I need some kind of arrangement where I bind the torch in parallel with my lens so I'm not flapping about trying to use torch, camera and lens in the dark in a manner that needs at least three hands. My SRA40 has a tripod hole on its base, so I'm thinking of some Heath Robinson-esque device where I use a double clamp, L-bracket and single clamp to mount my torch to the Kirk foot under my lens on a parallel axis.

    But I've only been thinking about this for less than a day. Has anyone here tried to do something similar in terms of mounting a light in parallel with a long lens? I can't be the only one to ever think on this. While I did look around (quite possibly not well enough, but I did make the effort) I didn't come up with much. So can anyone who has some kind of solution that actually works please help point me in the right direction? Otherwise me and Heath Robinson might have to proceed with my rather flaky-seeming L-bracket solution...

    ...Mike

  2. #2

    Default Re: Flashlights as primary illumination for night photography

    This was exactly why I became interested in flashlights, for nighttime photography. But I got off the rails a little. Before digital, I was using SLR and pushing slide film and using long exposures to take pictures in the dark with the available ambient light. Then we lost the Kodachrome. I guess I like Fujichrome better, anyway, but the expense of developing film started to become a drag. When digital arrived, I could not afford the SLR cameras and was stuck using the cheaper digital cameras with autoexposures. Without the control of SLR, taking good pictures in the dark is near impossible, never getting what I expected. So this photography hobby sort of waned for me. But my brother just hand-me-downed to me this past holiday an amazing digital SLR Nikon, D200. It's really fantastic. But I am sort of in a slump and can't decide what my subjects will be. I still want to take pictures in the dark, and I never liked flash photography, even if it is essential for many applications.

    I know what you're talking about... it is really difficult to hold and operate an expensive camera with one hand while using the other to find the right angle to light the subject. Some method must be developed to mount a flashlight on a camera, like a rail for mounting that is standard and fits securely to most SLR cameras, but I don't have a solution, and I know of none that are specifically for cameras.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* FRITZHID's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Icelandic wastelands of Monico, WI
    Posts
    2,499

    Default Re: Flashlights as primary illumination for night photography

    I use an offset external camera flash mount with an old salvaged hotshoe and hose clamp to hold my flashlight when night shooting, works reasonably well for most of my applications. Only issues I've had are on high humidity nights where the beam can be seen which can fog out the shot.
    I Got tired of looking for the light at the end of the tunnel so i lit that bitch up myself! Convoy s2 365nm, Maxa-Beam Gen II, 55w hid/100w incan Vector Twin, Amondotech n30, vss-3A, Reylight Ti Lan v3, Helius Sigma 9, astrolux s41 219, Shadow JM35, BLF GT,

  4. #4
    Enlightened
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Flashlights as primary illumination for night photography

    Thanks for your comments. Good luck with that Nikon D200 - it's a very good camera. And thanks for the suggestion regarding the flash bracket. Initially, I think I'll continue to explore my (admittedly vague) plans to devise something to mount the light under and parallel to the lens. But if I can't make that work I'll certainly look into the flash bracket approach.

    Either way, I'll post back here if I manage to come up with something.

    ...Mike

  5. #5
    *Flashaholic* Offgridled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,556

    Default Re: Flashlights as primary illumination for night photography

    I light up a large area like this when I'm outside


    image ru

    upload picture

  6. #6
    Enlightened
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Flashlights as primary illumination for night photography

    Yikes

    Looks like great stuff. But I think these guys:



    ...would get out of town really fast if I deployed that kind of hardware. I think they want to be nocturnal for a reason, so I'd guess they'd be on the next bus out of town if I abolished darkness...

    ...Mike

  7. #7

    Default Re: Flashlights as primary illumination for night photography

    I think that an L bracket or bracket of some description is the only viable solution but I also think that the light spread and temperature would be the biggest issue, also it would need to be light enough to allow shooting a moving subject without blur. Temp is not so important if shooting in Raw I dont suppose.

  8. #8
    Enlightened
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Flashlights as primary illumination for night photography

    Well, the possums have long since left - having eaten all the berries in my tree - so of course now is when the components for my bracket arrive. Still, it fits together pretty much as I expected:







    I've yet to give it a functional test, but it seems as if it will work pretty well. With a bit of care it will even mount to a tripod or monopod, which might be useful.

    ...Mike

  9. #9

    Default Re: Flashlights as primary illumination for night photography

    X2 on the L bracket.
    A diffused beam, preferably incan(with fresh batteries) to avoid adding color, shoot in RAW in case white balance issues arise from choice of flashlights and like Fritz said external flash when practical.

    That D200 was (and still is) a great camera Chillin. Except for high noise in high iso's it is still very practical. I say "except for" only because the modern ones are so noise free at crazy iso levels. 200-250 iso's are easily capable unless you print poster sized starry sky pix.

    I used a D80 when the 200 had it's hayday, simply because the difference in price. The performance of the D200 was way better than the D80. I was always tweaking my pix where friends using their 200 were not.

    When I first arrived here I had just begun replacing 1990's flashlights. So this thread reminds me of that time.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 01-29-2017 at 09:53 AM.
    John 3:16

  10. #10
    Enlightened
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Flashlights as primary illumination for night photography

    Here are the first couple of shots taken with my new bracket arrangement:





    It worked pretty much as I expected - it's a lot easier to hold the camera and lens steady yet still direct light on the subject. I'm going to call it a success.

    ...Mike

  11. #11

    Default Re: Flashlights as primary illumination for night photography

    ^^ WAY TO GO!!
    John 3:16

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* RedLED's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Palm Springs, CA, Beverly Hills, CA, Washington, DC, New York City Manhattan
    Posts
    3,107

    Default Re: Flashlights as primary illumination for night photography

    Just don't try to shoot people with that set up, too bright and directed straight in the subjects eyes. Otherwise, it will work for many other things.
    Check my Web Site: www.Redwayphoto.com

  13. #13
    Enlightened
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Flashlights as primary illumination for night photography

    Quote Originally Posted by RedLED View Post
    Just don't try to shoot people with that set up, too bright and directed straight in the subjects eyes. Otherwise, it will work for many other things.
    Quite right. Pretty much reserved for critters - and mostly at a decent distance, too.

    ...Mike

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •