Sandcastle on Morro Strand State Beach, with Morro Rock visible in background, after sunset 24 Aug 2009

Sandcastle (looking a bit like a volcano) on Morro Strand State Beach, with Morro Rock visible in background, 19 minutes after sunset 24 August 2009. Illuminated with one 580EXII external flash and one 580EX external flash controlled by Pocket Wizards. One flash at fractional power in manual mode is laying on tin foil (both to protect the flash from the sand, as well as to create a dish effect for bouncing the light up the internal walls of the castle) inside the castle's fort (no diffuser used, probably should have used one), and one light camera right 45 degrees on light stand with white shoot-thru umbrella, also on fractional power, manual mode. Note that the light inside the castle fort is much whiter than the natural ambient sunlight - the sun had set 19 minutes earlier - (probably should have use a Color Temperature Orange CTO gel over both flashes). Liveview mode was used for composition and manual focus. Voice-Activated Light stand (VAL) was Dawn Beattie holding a flashlight on the front wall of the castle to enable manual focusing at 100% pixel zoom in such low light. Photo by Michael "Mike" L. Baird, mike at mikebaird d o t com,, Canon 1D Mark III, Canon EF 16-35mm (set at 27mm) f/2.8L II USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens, on tripod, circular polarizer (not much expected effect, acting more as an unneeded neutral density filter). Used low ISO of 100 to minimize noise. Ambient light and light from the flash sources was balanced to achieve the effects seen. Basically, in manual exposure mode, the aperture setting (f/7.1 used here) throttled how much of the flash (typ. 1/1000th second duration +-) was captured, and then, once the flash effect was set as desired, varying the shutter speed (5 second exposure used here) modulated the amount of ambient light that was captured (some call this the David Hobby Strobist technique - see Minor global adjustments made in Lightroom during RAW conversion. Harsh critique welcomed. Do you want to use one of my images?

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Taken on August 24, 2009