N51
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Help With Tricky Lighting In Cabin Shots

Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:44 pm

Hello,

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to ride along with a Medevac crew to take pictures of their new aircraft (an S76 C). I have a Nikon D80 and was using the NIKKOR 10.5mm fisheye for the pictures I took in the cabin of the helicopter. As far as the weather conditions, I was shooting during the morning and mid day of a sunny day with no clouds.

One of the situations I found myself in was during the flight, trying to get the right balance of light in the aircraft (so that it was bright enough to see the inside) without blowing out the view through the windows. I've attached two examples of what I'm talking about.

http://img526.imageshack.us/img526/7792/darkcabin.jpg

f/10, 1/160, ISO-320, no flash. This one is an example where I was able to capture the view outside the cabin, but in doing so, made it way too dark inside.

http://img526.imageshack.us/img526/9952/lightercabin.jpg

f/5, 1/250, ISO-400, no flash. This one has better lighting in the cabin, but as you can see, the view out the windows is completely blown out.

My question is, what could I have done differently so that the cabin is better lit, but not at the expense of losing the view out the window (i.e. should I have used settings closer to what I did for the dark cabin picture, but also used flash? Or is it just an unfortunate back lit situation where there is no good answer?

Thanks!
 
waketurbulence
Posts: 1264
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2004 12:33 pm

RE: Help With Tricky Lighting In Cabin Shots

Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:00 pm

Go into Aperture mode and point the camera at the window. Check the aperture and shutter value and put it in Manual mode with the same f/stop number and shutter speed. Now open your flash and shoot. The results should be that the exterior is exposed correctly while the interior is lit up by the flash. Examples.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Matthew Wallman - Jetwash Images
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Matthew Wallman - Jetwash Images


-Matt
 
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Moose135
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RE: Help With Tricky Lighting In Cabin Shots

Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:32 pm

I'm with Matt on this one - you will not be able to balance the bright sunlight out the windows with the relative darkness of the cabin without some fill flash. I don't have any in the DB here, but have several shots using the technique Matt described - expose for outside, and use flash to light the interior.

It was a bit of a gloomy day, but here's an example:

http://moose135.smugmug.com/photos/529104068_EWcpQ-L.jpg

If you are doing this in flight, you might want to let the crew know beforehand that you will be popping a flash, just to help eliminate any distractions/surprises.
KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
 
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clickhappy
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RE: Help With Tricky Lighting In Cabin Shots

Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:49 pm

Keep in mind you will need an external flash with the 10.5, to avoid a big ugly shadow
 
N51
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RE: Help With Tricky Lighting In Cabin Shots

Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:19 pm



Quoting WakeTurbulence (Reply 1):
-Matt

Thanks for the tip Matt. That actually makes a lot of sense.

Quoting Moose135 (Reply 2):
If you are doing this in flight, you might want to let the crew know beforehand that you will be popping a flash, just to help eliminate any distractions/surprises.

Yeah, that's exactly why I didn't try it at the time. The last thing I wanted to do was start sending off flashes without having asked the crew first.

Quoting Clickhappy (Reply 3):
Keep in mind you will need an external flash with the 10.5, to avoid a big ugly shadow

Good point. I was taking a few flash pics with the 10.5 of the crew quarters, and noticed the big ugly shadow on the ground. It was my first time shooting with that lens so while the pictures didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, it was a great learning experience!
 
CalebWilliams
Posts: 290
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RE: Help With Tricky Lighting In Cabin Shots

Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:32 pm

The only advice I could give is to use bounce flash off the ceiling or maybe a wall if:

1. You feel comfortable working with the flash bounced.
2. If you have/rent/buy that has the capability to do so.

Tips/Tutiorials, etc

http://www.diyphotography.net/four_ways_to_bounce_a_flash
http://www.all-things-photography.com/bounced-flash.html

Also, you can buy products that help defuse flash, such as this:
http://www.stofen.com/

Please note that I'm not endorsing any of those products as I have not tried them myself, but I have heard of them often enough by photographers.

Hope this helps.

- Caleb
Caleb Williams MSP AUS STL AMS CPH LGW YYZ
 
CalebWilliams
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RE: Help With Tricky Lighting In Cabin Shots

Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:34 pm

Also found these:
Help With In Flight Cockpit Shots (by NonRevKing Jan 22 2003 in Aviation Photography) Can Anybody Help Me With Cockpit & Cabin Shots... (by LGW Dec 30 2000 in Aviation Photography)
Caleb Williams MSP AUS STL AMS CPH LGW YYZ

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