Sherlok Holmes in Tallinn (02.05.2016)


Text and photos: Kristian Kruuser

Dark medieval streets, dark shadows sneaking on the walls... The atmosphere of Tallinn Old Town has inspired photographers for a long time and we thought that why not bring Sherlock Holmes, the character of a famous British writer Arthur Conan Doyle, into this inspiring environment.

This time, I was able to get Nikon D5 for testing. It was just perfect to test its sensor’s highly acclaimed ISO performance on that shoot. In addition, I had two Nikon SB-5000 speedlights that can wirelessly be set from the camera due to the possibility of using a radio link. Since the speedlight had to be set on the 3.5 high tripods to light the model and the street, it was not even thinkable not to remotely set the speedlights from the camera.  SB-910 also had the wireless option but since this speedlight uses the infra-red transmitter SU-800, the camera and speedlight need to be visible to one another. With radio link, the speedlight can be hidden.

The model has been dressed, the assistant is present. We kindly have to ask two drunken tourists to leave the set because they want have a photo taken with Sherlock. The sky is still in its evening colours and everything is ready on the set. But then, at the most inconvenient time, the streetlights are turned on. The whole thought-out plan is not working anymore. Now, we have to start everything from the scratch and take into consideration that we have extra sources of light which have their own colour temperature and which cannot be reorganised in any way. This kind of situation tests the performance of the speedlights quite hard. You need to put a yellow filter in front of speedlight that is lighting Sherlock to unify the colours of the speedlight and street lights. The speedlight located in the far side of the street gets a blue gel filter in front of it and this light provides tone to the background walls and generates interesting contra light on the model.

At this moment, I should talk about the features of Nikon D5. ISO 8000 is clean and the range is enough to draw an image even in the darkest areas. But I am the most impressed by the performance of autofocus.  Even when you have to focus into an area where the visible light is minimal, this camera is able to find the sharpness with an instant – shutter button, the speedlight flashes and you can see the results from the display – sharp and accurate! The illuminated buttons of D5 is something to be very thankful for while working in the dark. I worked with this camera for the first time and I was able to find all the necessary buttons in the dark and the displays are illuminated as well – pure joy! No more flashlights in the mouth while working!

The speedlights surprised me with their efficiency. The one lighting the model was close enough but for the backround light, we located the other about 15 meters behind. Everything worked. Even in continuous shooting mode, the speedlight is able to charge and all the images are accurately lit. Taking these small but powerful speedlights with you, setting them in difficult places enables the photographer to have a lot more opportunities. D5 and SB-5000 showed me only the best cooperation, Sherlock agrees as well.



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