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Kathryn Wesserling
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/21/2005
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Opting for Rear Curtain Sync?


When using the on-camera flash (Canon), I always set it for Rear Curtain Sync (it seemed that the result wasnít quite as harsh.) I now have a Speedlite EX580 II on my Canon 50D.

A local photographer said that for shooting moving cars at night, Rear Curtain only works if the car is coming toward you. I canít remember his reasoning, and so am thoroughly confused.

Does anyone have a simple explanation/formula (that will be easy to remember!) to use in different situations: 1] on-camera flash, 2] Speedlite, 3] car coming toward you (whatís the purpose?), 4] cars moving away from you (tail light trails), 5] Side view (do you even want to do this at night (Blurred? Stopped? Do you even want to do this at night?)


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2/8/2011 8:52:09 AM

 
Randy A. Myers
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/20/2002
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  The comment the photographer made about rear curtain only working with a car coming toward you is not correct. Rear curtain places the light streaks to the rear of the moving flashed object.


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2/8/2011 9:24:30 AM

 
Kathryn Wesserling
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/21/2005
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  Thanks, Randy. I probably could have continued on (albeit, with not having a clue why) happily and relatively successfully had he not made that comment.

The way you phrased your explanation actually increased my understanding of what actually happens.


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2/8/2011 9:36:40 AM

 
John H. Siskin
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Hi Kathy,
If you are using a high sync speed it really doesnít matter. If you are dragging the shutter the blur will be behind the subject with rear curtain sync and in front of the subject with front curtain sync.
Thanks, John Siskin


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2/14/2011 12:40:20 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
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John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
 
 
  Rear Curtain Sync
Rear Curtain Sync
The flash goes off at the end of the shot, so the blur is behind of the sharp image
© John H. Siskin
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
Kodak DCS 14N Digi...
 
 
Hi Kathy,
If you are using a high sync speed it really doesnít matter. If you are dragging the shutter the blur will be behind the subject with rear curtain sync and in front of the subject with front curtain sync.
Thanks, John Siskin


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2/14/2011 12:42:02 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
 
 
  Front Curtain Sync
Front Curtain Sync
The flash is triggered at the beginning of the shot.So the blur goes in front of the sharp part of the image. In this case I used sparklers to make the difference clear.
© John H. Siskin
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
Kodak DCS 14N Digi...
 
 
And now front curtain sync.
John


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2/14/2011 12:43:25 PM

 
Kathryn Wesserling
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/21/2005
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  John, thanks for taking the time to illustrate your explanation. If I experiment with the same type of comparison shots, it should be real-life-clear pretty quickly.


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2/14/2011 1:11:43 PM

 
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