Flash Freeze

I created this image at Erin & Jason’s wedding last week. Everyone was marveling at how dramatic the moon was that night. It didn’t take much prodding to get Erin & Jason to join me for a daring adventure to capture that drama in an image of them! 🙂

Working with a minimalist amount of gear, I had my two Nikon D3’s, each fitted with a Nikon SB-900, plus one remote SB-800 on a Bogen 3333 stand I had used earlier for group photos.
I set the SB-800 off on camera right, zoomed to 70mm to concentrate the beam of light on them. I took the SB-900 off one camera and flipped it to remote mode (I LOVE how quickly you can switch modes on the 900 vs. the 800). This one was placed behind the couple for a rim light. I positioned Erin & Jason so that the street light in the distance was behind her veil. And there’s some landscape lighting on the famous Pineapple Fountain I liked.
To pick up the ambient light of the moon, street lamp, and landscape lighting, I used ISO 1600, f2.8. Even so, I was at 1/30th of a second. I was using the D3 with the 70-200. I had no tripod with me. So you’re probably thinking at that slow a shutter speed, this image is going to be blurry, right? Well, by carefully placing Erin & Jason so that all the ambient light was behind them, the couple was pretty much pitch black at this point. The only light hitting them from the camera side was the off-camera SB-800. This is VERY IMPORTANT! By doing this, I am essentially using the high-speed burst of light from the strobe to FREEZE them in place. At this point, the shutter speed of the camera is only affecting the ambient light, it has nothing to do with the exposure of the main subject. So even hand-holding that long lens at such a slow shutter speed, Erin & Jason are as sharp as a tack!
And that’s how you use Flash Freeze to save your behind when you don’t have a tripod with you! 🙂

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