And a Merry Christmas it Was . . .

Well this was just an awesome Christmas! Our son got an Xbox with the Kinect and a few games that have been providing him with a lot of exercise. And thankfully, I haven’t stepped barefoot on any of the hundreds of new Lego pieces that Santa delivered. Holly and I always seem to struggle with what to get for each other, but not this year. She told me what store to go to and they had her wishlist right behind the counter. I also did the ‘thoughtful’ thing and got her a few gift cards for some of her favorite shopping sites. As for what Holly got for me – She listened to me ooh and awe over a certain item as I read a photography magazine in bed about two months ago. And after a call to B&H Photo in New York, Holly had found and placed an order for the Ubertronix Strike Finder Pro. “What the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks is that?” You might ask….

The Strike Finder Pro is a camera trigger system that fires your camera automatically in reaction to two distinct prompts–light and laser beam disruption– and it can control your camera to shoot time-lapse sequences. This time of year there isn’t much lightning in Pittsburgh. But after a quick trip to the office supply store I had me a frickin’ laser. I planned on dropping some water drops through the beam and into a dish that I had filled with water, and capture the splashes with a quick shutter speed and a flash placed to the side of the dish. And for my first attempts, I think I did a pretty decent job. If you are interested in my setup, I’ll describe it at the end of this post. For those of you who don’t want to read about shutter speeds, apertures, laser beams and flash durations —  here are some pretty pictures.

Click each image to enlarge



The setup for these shots was quite simple. I mounted my 70-200mm lens on the tripod with my Nikon D300s and attached the Strikefinder Pro to the camera via the included 10-pin cable. I put my SB700 flash in the hot shoe and set it to ‘Master’ mode, aiming it to the left of the plate of water at my SB600 flash which was aimed at the center of the plate with a small softbox attached to it. The laser pointer was aimed over the center of the plate and directly at the sensor on the Strikefinder and any disruption to the beam would trigger the camera’s shutter.

Exposure settings were 1/250 of a second at ISO 400 with apertures between f/4.0 and 5.6 using auto white balance. The master flash was set to not influence the exposure and the SB600 was at 1/64 power to ensure a short, action stopping flash duration. I zoomed the lens to 200mm and focused on a pen that was held at the point where I would be dropping the water. After achieving focus I set the camera to manual focus which kept the focus setting constant. The toughest part was dropping a drop of water through a 2mm wide laser beam that I couldn’t see.

Now that I have done this once, there are a few things that I will do differently next time. Definitely a different lens such as a macro, and I will experiment with the distance between the laser beam and the water’s surface.

Thanks for looking, and please come back often to see what I’ve been up to. Remember to check out Coda Photography on all of your favorite social media sites. The links are on the top-right on the page…


Happy New Year !!!