Last week I played a bit with trying to balance direct-sun with the AlienBee. I had tried this weeks ago with the Vivitar 285HV, but couldn’t get it to put out enough light to get the effect I wanted. I put the B400 on top of a light stand, added my 54″ umbrella, and grabbed Lindsey for the first round of test shots. I was shooting directly into the sun, so my aperture was up over 20. I had the umbrella set up for shoot-through, and put it about three feet from Lindsey as I framed her against the sun. I adjusted a few things, and then shot a series with Isaiah, too. The B400 was great for this, and the 16-35 2.8 (thank you, Dad, for the loaner!!!!) allows awesome perspectives.
Some things I learned, most of which probably seem obvious:
- Direct sun, even when the subject doesn’t have the sun directly in their eyes, will cause squinting if there’s too much reflecting around them. Shade may often be better to avoid this.
- Use a sandbag on the lightstand!
- (For the results I wanted) be sure the aperture is open enough to expose the ground/grass under by about 2 stops. Much more than that and it gets too dark.
- Be wary of focus issues when pointed directly into the sun. My Canon 40D choked a bit, though this is not unexpected.