Crowd-sourcing a flash

Tonight we went to the Flashmob at the Tongue & Groove. In the end it was not clear to me whether this was a Flashmob, a flash mob, or a flesh mob – great party and great people!! It was obvious that there would be a lot of flash light, probably in most cases completely washing out the ambient light – peaking at some of the other guys LCDs confirmed my initial suspicion. Also I expected a lot of heavy gear. So I decided to do things differently. I just took a point-and-shoot with me (a Sony RX-100 for the gear heads). After all, if you flash, then it should be off-camera which was not feasible. On the other hand, there was a lot of off-camera flash light available provided by all the other guys, I just simple could not sync it, or could I?

Why not simply crowd-sourcing the flash and hijack other photographers photons? But how can you actually do this? Quite simple: low ISO and long shutter speed – underexpose heavily on purpose and let the other guys provide the juice. Flash exposure only depends on the aperture, so you can simply drag the shutter from Atlanta to Savannah. As you can imagine, you will have several misses and there will be several shots that will be under- and overexposed, however I ended up with a handful a great ones. But judge for yourself. All flash shots are taken with a crowd-sourced flash – I added also some ambient ones for kicks. Due to the long shutter speed many shots look like slow-sync; in fact, this was ultra-slow-sync tonight.

It is hard to guess the amount of juice coming in. Here I underestimated it by roughly 3 stops. Love this washed out look.

The juicers. As you can see I had quite a battery of camera-right, bare flash available. I am wondering what a description for strobist would look like: bare-distributed flash, camera right on multiple times full power and human lightstand?

You get a nice off-camera look as compared to the deer-in-headlight look, however of course with significantly less control.

As you can see, a crowd-sourced flash can be quite flexible though. Stop down a bit and you get a more dramatic look.

The location and the setup was amazing. Great music, great light!

What I found very interesting was the flocking of people. Whenever there was an opportunity for some shots, all the photographers glued together and moved, as one big cyborg of photon emitting biomass, to a different part of the club, leaving whole patches completely deserted.

While for many of the participants it was clear whether they were there for shooting or for being shot, there were also a few notable exceptions.

Of course, every good party needs to have a light saber fight… and this one got pretty ugly… and all because Vader wanted to check his coat.

… some more ambient fun…

4 thoughts on “Crowd-sourcing a flash

  1. Pingback: Cyclops « william frank fox

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