I currently own 4 DSLRs and 2 Point-and-shoot cameras.
That’s more cameras than I have hands.
Even if I wanted to remotely trigger 3 and use one, I couldn’t.
I’d run out of lenses to use on all 4 bodies.
On a recent evening, I got this crazy idea that I would ‘borrow’ all my students’ cameras.
In the process I’d also teach them something about exposure.
What I used:
- a room I could completely darken
- tripods for every camera
- LED lights of different colors
- 2 Speedlights which I could remotely trigger by my radio slaves
- a large black backdrop which I attached to the wall
Since we were playing with LED lights of different colors, I had to figure out a good shutter speed that would allow my subjects enough time to write their name backwards or laterally inverted.
I chose 10 full seconds because it was easy to count.
Once I fixed that variable for exposure, through trial and error, I settled on a aperture of f16.
There was some tweaking in between because
- the LED lights weren’t all the same brightness
- the rate each person took to write their names varied according to the number of letters in their names
In our case we chose 10 seconds because we wanted enough time for the subject to finish writing the average length name.
I looked around the room and picked a student with the shortest name “IAN.” 😛 to begin.
Can you guess why?
Adding some more color
After figuring out a working shutter speed and aperture and ISO, I asked everyone in the class to set their cameras to “Manual” exposure mode: ISO 100 @ f16 and 10 full seconds.
Next came the tough part: getting the subject to visualize how to write their names backwards (laterally inverted).
Once we got that down, I added the single pop or open flash of my Speedlight on 1/32th power.
I had the Speedlight’s output power dialed down intentionally so that the flash would recycle fast and also to conserve battery power.
Next: what else we tried