A relaxing day at sea…

February 19, 2009

This is the second part (of how many, I don’t know) of my posts catching you up on the last few, very busy, weeks.  I intend to continue with the posts each day until I catch up.  Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 26th

The first full day had us steaming (can I still use steaming if it’s a diesel-electric engine?) through the Caribbean Ocean, past the West coast of Cuba and down to Roatan, Honduras.  The only official duty I had that day was to shoot a small reception in the evening for all the wedding guests.  For this gathering, I selected the 17-55 f2.8.  I believe this to be too wide for this type of work, but without a 24 – 70 (a future purchase) my only other options were a 60mm and/or 95mm primes.  I’d just have to get a little closer to the subjects.  Ultimately, this worked out because there wasn’t a whole lot of working room in the little club where the reception was held.

The SB-900 is my primary strobe and it works like a champ.  The secret (okay, maybe not a secret to most, but it took me a long time to figure this one out) is to shoot in manual mode not aperture priority that I normally use.  Set the camera to an ISO allowing you to get some background exposure using ambient light and not the strobe.  In this case I was using ISO 400.  This gives some exposure to the environment, but not nearly enough to be a distraction to the subject.  Then, set your aperture and use a shutter speed that’s complimentary to the chosen ISO for background exposure.  The flash then varies it’s output to properly expose the subject and foreground while the ISO and shutter speed expose the background.  Chimp like crazy here (that means check your LCD screen) and check your histogram to make sure you have a decent image.

Also, I try to keep my shutter speed high while using  ISO changes to fine tune the exposure.  Make sure you’re working within the capabilities of your camera’s sensor (you don’t want noisy images), but ISO is an easy boost to the background exposure.  I like a higher shutter speed (the flash will have to work a little harder) to combat camera shake (hand shake, boat shake, whatever) giving you a clear image.

The images captured the mood of the evening – relaxed and ready to enjoy the upcoming week.

Sonny and Alex





  1. Great explanation on the use of strobes and ambient light.

  2. These are fantastic! I love the last one. The emotion is great!

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