Last summer I wanted to try the two batteries I had designed for my 32CT3 Metz flashes. They are old flashes, but very good, compact and they have the ideal height to get very close to the optical axis when I want to use them in the Terry Richardson’s style with the CB mini RC strip from Custom Brackets.
We went to the swimming area of the Barcelona Forum, with the model, makeup artist and my assistant, when we met with an enthusiastic kid who wanted to help. The lighting kit was very basic, the point was to use a single reporter flash through a translucent umbrella and have a second flash as a fill light if necessary.
The ambient light was low but very nice because the sun had already set and the sky had become a large diffuser. When we used the flash the nature of the light became quite evident so I decided to change the direction of the light and its intensity. I used a 1/4 CTO gel to give a mild warm dominance so that later when I neutralized the skin during the development of the raw file, I would get a bluer tone in the water and sky.
In the above examples the use of flash brought a loss of volume in the figure, and some candidness. What to do then? During the post production I could overexpose the image shot without flash and thus “washing” the skin tones, or keep the character given by the use of the reporter flash. As we saw in a previous post, when Terry Richardson made the Pirelli 2010 calendar, he preferred the flash hit, which is already part of his style. The important thing is to know what will happen in any decision we make. I could overexpose the shot with natural light or shoot the flash with a ratio +1. In this case, I chose to use the flash.
In fashion or beauty sessions, the makeup and styling are essential. A good makeup and styling can be 50% of a session. And without an assistant, the sessions would not be what they can be.
The DIY batteries
The DIY batteries worked fine, but the flashes got a bit overheated. The Metz 32 CT3 flashes are excellent flashes but in the days there were not designed for use with external batteries nor to have them at full load at all times, or to expect an extremely quick recharge. If the session allows the flashes to “rest” every so often, its effectiveness is surprising.
The battery circuit was very simple as shown in my first post, but by having the batteries tested I was worried about the flashes overheating. Luckily I then got the advice of Vicente Rosset, an expert in flashes and the invaluable help of Cristóbal Martínez from Bach Import who enthusiastically helped me improve the battery performance by adding a diode to the circuit which allowed to reduce the voltage of the batteries.
The Pocket Wizard were essential in the session as outdoor infrared sympathy cells are not effective. Another handy accessory was the WizardBrackets strip, ideal for holding the radio receivers.
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