Messing around with the Nikon CLS system at the beach on the 4th of July. Zoe and Cat as always are my semi-willing models.
3 Seconds @ 7.1 Aperture at ISO 200 with D800, 24-120 F4 and Nikon SB-700. SB-700 on a VAL to camera left and above the subjects heads. In a perfect world I would have had an umbrella and a SB-910 as my main light with the SB-700 for some fill. If It was a paid shoot I would have set up some lights out on the pier maybe. I would certainly have broken out my Westcott Apollo or Rapid Box or even a shoot through umbrella to give a softer bigger light source. As it stands this was a night watching fireworks with family and friends and I had the camera, the flash, and a friend to serve as VAL.
One of the things I missed when I sold my D700 a few years back was CLS. At the time I was starting to really immerse myself in the world of speedlighting and off camera flash and the Nikon CLS system was such an elegant solution to me at the time. I didn't need any additional receivers or transmitters to work the magic. High Speed Sync enabled, individual group control, no need to waste a flash in the hot shoe. It made my life simple and easy and I genuinely missed it. The advent of the Pocket Wizard Flex system meant that my Canon gear could do the same things but I missed being able to walk out the door with the camera and flash and know that if i ran into something that required off camera flash (and really - what doesn't?) that I could simply, quickly, and easily make it happen. The one thing that the pocket wizards (no fault of the PW's which I will be using with my new Nikon gear when I need distance or when I want to light with the flashes not in my line of sight) could not do with the Canon speedlite system was rear curtain sync. It killed me. It really did especially after I started shooting more with Gabe Biderman and Matt Hill (check the link to what looks like an awesome workshop in Coney Island) who are masters of the long exposure I wanted to add flash into the mix because....well...it's what I do. Canon's system would not let me do it. I spoke to plenty of people and never received a good answer. Nikon's wireless Speedlight system handles rear curtain perfectly and allows me to create images like the one above. It's not art. It's not something I planned. It's not the best shot of the night. But it is a cool shot of my wife and my daughter on a night I don't want to forget and the technology let me at least ball park it into what I was seeing in my head rather than limiting me and forcing me to make decisions based on the tech rather than working with me to help me fulfill my vision. And that is the job of any tool - to make life better, easier, simpler, more beautiful.
Disclaimer - As most of you know I recently took a position with Nikon Inc. I could not be happier. The views in this entry are not those of Nikon Inc or any of it's subsidiaries.