This past weekend I was the second shooter for a wedding near Corpus Christi, Texas at The Ranch at San Patricio. Being backup gives me a chance to experiment while the pressure is off and with the arrival of my new Canon 600-RT flashes it was a good opportunity to put them through their paces. Initial tests were great… even with the older Canon 5D MKIIs they worked extremely well.
The venue was several hours away and my buddy’s Discoverer was not much more reliable than my old jeep so we covered the bases by leaving at 9 a.m. for a wedding to start at 6:30 p.m. He figured if we broke down half way and someone had to rescue there may be hours before we could get there early enough to be safe. I always prefer being early than late. Neither of us had shot the location for the reception so we needed time to figure out how to set up anyway. (On a side note the band was late because the old tire on their trailer blew out – they limped the rest of the way ~2 miles on a shredded tire).
I prefer to put in a few strobes and light the main dance floor with a few more kickers around the room depending on the layout. This venue was small with little floor space for the lightstands. The ceilings had a high pitch in the center, brown painted foam spray insulation. and low ceiling clearance at the wall. Large wooden beams obstructed the flash and large chandeliers also presented challenges. I ended up using 40″ grip arms counterbalanced by c-stand colums which only required a strip of duct tape to secure. There was a slight trough in the ceiling beams that was perfect to run the extension cord so it turned out great for keeping the floors clear.
I used a Dynalite 400jr at each corner of the dance floor triggered with pocket wizards and fitted with 36″ “shoot through” umbrellas.
I then rigged 2 lightstands with a Canon 600-RT flash and 24″ “shoot through umbrella.” I used the 600-RTs for detail setups for flowers, rings, cakes, bride and groom ready rooms and actually took them to the outdoor chapel area for the ceremony to use as fill. I rigged 2 more Dynalite 400jrs on C-stands to use outdoors for group shots by the old antique truck. I powered these with PC Bluff Vagabond power supply and on several shots included the 600-RTs. (I have my camera bracket fitted with an off camera cord and include a hot shoe connected to the PC sync port so I can fire both arrays simultaneous if the shutter speed is below 1/200.
The bride had a long list of shots she wanted ripped right from the pages of “Pinterest.” We managed to get most of them and then some. The gallery below is a sampling of shots.