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Nikon and Metz 60CT-4

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I was going to ask if anyone is into flash, looking at this forum of course they are ... but at the risk of being dismissive, I mean real flash not just the built in one on the camera or studio flash.

In the RAF we used the Metz 502, later we had the Metz 402 and then the Rollei E34 series before going back to the Metz 60 CT series, I currently have a Metz 60CT4 with SCA3402 unit and SCA3000cM1 adapter designed for use with Nikon digital cameras ... but to digress from that for a moment ..


I have an Argus with flashgun and a Graflex flash to compliment my Speed Graphic, both using flashbulbs by the way, on the Graflex in lieu of the large PF60 bulbs I use an adapter and smaller flashbulbs, PF5's etc. The Argus and flash have been used at 40's events with a degree of success and mostly for fun to be honest, I've tested the Speed Graphic set up (it works :) ) but not used it in 'anger' so's to speak at an event.


To get back to Nikon digital cameras with Metz analogue flash, what I have been doing is experimenting with the 60CT4 at night. I've long admired an American photographer known for his night shots with flash of steam trains in rural America, and whereas I like to photograph the steam train tours as they go through this area, this time of year on the return run it is often quite dark and is some places not ideal for a picture, so I decided to experiment with flash using the 60CT4, either directly connected to the camera with nominal lead or with the SCA system via the hot shoe, for those interested a picture is attached of the Nikon set up in both configurations. 


To get to the night shots, two are attached, the first (diesel) one was a test before Flying Scotsman came through with the flash directly connected to the camera at the flash synch port, only thing being I missed FS because although I had pre focussed on a point as with the diesel, it shifted slightly and the flash/shutter didn't fire when FS went past  ... annoying to say the least and I now manually focus. ...  :rolleyes: 

The second was FS again coming though Bingley station, manually focussed on a fixed point, but this time using the SCA digital adapter for analogue flash on the hot shoe fitting, not quite as successful as I wanted as the exposure is slightly out and the flash not quite positioned right, to close to the camera ? ... but it was experimental as I say, and one thing I had forgotten was the power these flashes put out !

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I've never owned a 'potato masher' but I did briefly pine for one back when I was shooting B&W film. The photographer you're thinking of is 0. Winston Link who did extensive photography of Norfolk & Western steam locomotives ... documenting their last days. Link was famous for his dramatic night photographs. He used elaborate lighting setups to make beautiful night photos. He elevated the lowly steam locomotive to a thing of beauty. High art.


As you probably know, black body flash photography is extremely difficult to nail. Frontal flash often results in poor subject detail, especially at night. Balancing flash and whatever ambient light might be available only adds to the problem. It's usually better to, if possible, move flash off camera and use multiple flash units. A lot of trial and error is involved as well, even with modern flash meters.


Some of us do dabble in flash photography... sometimes even using the popup.