Tag Archives: Nikon CLS

Little details, big inspiration……….

Hello there dp here with a quickie for tonight,

I shot a fantastic wedding on Saturday, the detail the bride (Kirsten) had put into the table layouts was amazing, you will see more of what I am talking about in a few days when I  post up the blog story.

In the meantime it was quite a beachy themed wedding as per the venue – the couple were getting married at the Oxwich Bay Hotel on the Gower in West Wales.

Here is a pano shot of the whole bay, the very left hand side as you look at it is the hotel and the very right hand side is the marquee that you can see peeking above it.  However the backdrop is why The Oxwich Bay Hotel is a very sought after venue.

panorama of the Oxwich bay hotel wedding venue wales

There are shots you typically take at most weddings, the cutting of the cake, the confetti shot etc but what keeps me excited about wedding photography is that I get my inspiration from the couples themselves.

I arrived about 1/2 an hour early (than the time I was booked to start) which is something I like to do at all weddings, I then just take 30 minutes to wonder without my camera and look for ideas to jump out at me.  I still do that thing old time photographers do with the hand and the fingers where we make a frame and visualize what the photo would look like.  Anyway I walked into the Marquee and was shell shocked (sorry for the pun – you will see in a minute) by the view over the bay – from inside the marquee the views are to die for.

On every table Kirsten had created a little center piece, and surrounding it was a lovely shell with what looked like a giant pearl in the center – they looked fab.

An idea sprang into mind right there and then and I saw visions of the ring shot using the shell and the pearl – well This is part of the sequence of photos I shot.

Wide view showing the tale with the pearl and shell in place.

oxwich bay hotel

A little closer

getting married at the oxwich bay hotel

much closer this time with rings

wedding photography at the oxwich bay hotel - gower - wales

and finally the money shot, the ring shot

Also notice in this last photo, you can clearly see me 🙂 in the dead center of the pearl, then just to the left ofme is the flash – thats right even on this simple shot I used off camera flash to bring up the detail and fill in the shadows somewhat.  The flash was triggered by the Radio Poppers I love and use all the time.

wedding photographer gower swansea west wales

So we went from a simple table decoration to a beautiful ring shot and its because I took an extra 30 minutes of my time to just stop and take in all the little details the bride and groom had spent over a year planning.

Hope you like,

take care, off to bed now,



David Purslow
Phone 01299 250114 / 0759 007 6666

Why I love Nikon CLS + Radio Poppers

Hey guys,

At my wedding this weekend I got to play around with something I had been wanting to do for a while,  The Groom and Best Man were sitting in the best mans car which naturally was calling out for  a few photos to be taken.  I sat back and let everyone go mad taking photos and when they finished I snapped a few.

nikon cls and radio poppers

Seeing the background was a bit cluttered I wanted to create sharp edges so later I can cut the photo out and put it on a more pleasing background, I under exposed the background by a stop ish and then cross lit the car, this gave me great edges that will allow me to get  a good clipping path.

The bit I wanted to play with was inside the car, sitting on the grooms lap is a Quantum Qflash with a Radio Popper wireless TTL trigger on it, I dialed the Q down 1/32nd power which just lit the two guys nicely for the photo.  Had I been using traditional CLS the signals would not have made it, if I had been using Pocket Wizards I would have to have kept going back and forth to change the settings on the flash till I had it wrong.

In this setup I was using a Nikon SB900 as the master set to — or not contributing to the exposure value.  The side lights were on Channel 1A and the inside light was on 1B.

It took me 4 shots to get the inside exposure correct or less than 90 seonds, I started at 1/4 power, then went to 1/8 then to 1/16 and at 1/32 I was happy I had a nice balance to the image.

What helped with this shot was knowing what I wanted to do before I started, right after this shot the wedding breakfast started and thats why there was no one around with us, I had to work quickly so as not to hold up the day and thanks to CLS and Radio Poppers I pulled it off without a hitch.

Hope this helps, more photos from the wedding soon,



On Camera Flash by Neil Van Nierkern

On Camera Flash – A Book Review

By Neil Van Niekern

Hello there, this post is aimed at photographers and people wanting to grow as a photographer and is aimed mainly at people photographers.

In a previous post I have talked about several websites that I love to visit on a weekly if not more frequently basis – well one of these is a site I call Planet Neil – thats the old name for it, his new site name is simply Neilvn – To get to the photographers section of this site you can simply go here –http://neilvn.com/tangents/

Neil is one of a small bread of photographers who are willing to not only tell you but show you EXACTLY how he works his magic – you could spend hour upon hour on his site and fill your brain with everything you ever wanted to know and a whole lot more about photography and more importantly lighting – especially lighting with small flash lights – something that is know by the name of another site – Strobist – Strobists are people who light using little camera flash’s.

Everything you can find in Neils book is also found on the website but I still brought the book – I buy lots of books and training DVD’s and have decided to start reviewing them based upon nothing other than my own interpretations of them.

So the book is called On Camera Flash by Neil Van Niekern – I am sure you can get it from amazon etc – I dont have an affiliate code so am not trying to sell you anything – just Google it.

I was pretty surprised when the book arrived, I was and I dont know why expecting a book about A5 sized or paperback sized.  Its a full A4 (8×12) size with nice big print, great photos and lots of information inside.

The book walks you thru using your ON CAMERA FLASH to the max, if you apply what you learn in this book your photos will improve by at least 100 % – its that simple.

The book is written in such a way that a newbie or professional alike will get something from it – its not a technical book and apart from one technical diagram and paragraph on the Inverse Square Law – If you dont know what this is – READ THE BOOK ! – this alone will make your photos so much better !

Why did I buy the book when I could get all the information off the website ? – well I like to read, re-read, and the highlight, bookmark and read and read again bits that interest me, I want to be able to access sections I want any time but most importantly to me is that I get a better understanding from a book than the same text on a screen – combine this with the fact that I tend to read in bed to help me unwind.

Another factor of why I like books is I keep some in the car and every now and then when I get caught up in a traffic jam I can fill my time productively rather than just drumming on the steering wheel and going nuts.

As you may or may not know  I am a professional wedding photographer, I make my ONLY income from  taking wedding photos.   I have been doing this for years so you would think that just using your on camera flash is simple – wrong ! – there is so much more to it than just that.

Did I learn anything from the book ?

Thats a great question, Yes is the answer in a nut shell – what I learned I have put into practice and its paid off for me but I wont give away those bits, you should buy the book if you want to know what they are – remember I have been a pro full time tog for the past  6 years and semi pro for 10 years before that as well as working for news papers etc.

What else did I get from the book ?

Another great question – If like me you send a lot of time learning new things you sometimes forget the older things that used to work well for you, the book made me go back and reevaluate what I was doing and what I had forgotten – it was not so much about leaning, it was about re learning.

What was bad about the book ?

Another great question,  There was actually nothing too wrong with the book, I found it a little limiting but then I have progressed onto using several lights at one time using the Nikon CLS system – If you remember the book is called On Camera Flash and with this in mind its a GREAT book

Rating – 9 out of 10 – again if you only have one flash and you want to learn how to use it to the max then I dont know of a better book out there

Is it worth the money ?

Yes, the true test for me on how good a book is – is what I call the toilet test – because I spend so much money on books, courses and dvd tutorials I tend to sell them on after one read or one viewing.  The truly great ones I keep and normally keep them by the loo – that way I always have something great to read when I have some spare time on my hands 😉 if you know what I mean – On Camera Flash did not get sold on – its a keeper.

Remember to check out Planet Neil – the website address is http://neilvn.com/tangents/



David Purslow

St David’s Cathedral Wedding

Nia & Lee’s Wedding

St Davids Cathedral / Wolfscastle Hotel Pembrokeshire

Hello there, David here from www.davidpurslow.com

This weekend saw me in Pembrokeshire West Wales for a couple of Weddings. – For the next couple of years I am going to be shooting a lot of weddings in West Wales – I should point out that I am based just outside of Birmingham in the West Midlands.  I moved to the Midlands early 2010 after spending 6 years in Pembrokeshire – this is why I have so many weddings down there !

So back to the wedding of Nia and Lee, If you remember a little while ago I visited Dublin for an engagement shoot – Well it was Nia and Lee’s engagement shoot and last friday saw the wedding take place.  I was so excited when I heard that Nia and Lee were getting married at Saint Davids Cathedral in Pembrokeshire – its such an amazing wedding venue and makes for photographs you will want to cherish forever – the light in the Cathedral is amazing from a photographers point of view.

Following the wedding A reception was held at The Wolfscastle Hotel just outside of Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire.

The following is just a sneak peek as I have just started to go thru the photos, I always like to get one or two up so the bride and groom can check them out while on honeymoon and its amazing how many emails I get from couples from far away exotic places.

As this is just a sneak peek I will keep the story short and save it for the full story which will be posted in a few weeks time.

The first photo is of Lee and the boys – this shot was actually a grab shot, I was walking towards the entrance at the back of the cathedral when I noticed a few people taking a shot of the boys, I quickly jumped in, grabbed this shot and the following one and then left them to it – its kind of a posed candid shot if that makes sense.

st Davids cathedral wedding photos

and here is a head and shoulders version – slightly more relaxed as I got the boys to undo their jackets

black and white shot of a groom and his groomsmen

Shortly after this Nia arrived in a beautiful wedding car – I have some great shots of them but they are saved for the full story.

Here is Nia walking thru the main door of St Davids Cathedral

getting married at st davids cathedral

As I said before, St Davids Cathedral is a photographers dream, in this shot, Nia had just walked down isle and was met at the front of the Cathedral by Lee – I love the detail in this photograph.

wedding photo of st Davids cathedral

And a little closer – I love the details of the roses and the bows in this shot – they lead the eye into the couple

married at st davids cathedral pembrokeshire

and talking about those roses, I snagged this shot shortly after

pembrokeshire wedding photography

Just after I took this photo, this young lady stepped into the isle to get  a better look, unaware I was behind taking photos – she was standing there watching what was going on and I like to think that she was starting to plan her own dream wedding………… but back to my story – so she was watching the activity taking place up the front of the church when I took a photo – she heard my camera go click and turned around to check out what made the noise and I got the shot I wanted – I had waited for her to turn around because I knew it would make a good story telling photo.  Several years ago I took an almost identical photo to this one but with a young man in stead of a young lady.

reportage wedding photography pembrokeshire

Then she jumped back out of the way and I waited for another photograph I had wanted to capture.  This photo was inspired by one my good friend and great wedding photographer Kevin Mullins had taken – I had played around with it to create a black and white photo and loved it – as soon as I saw the original photo of Kevins I knew the next time I shot a wedding at a Cathedral I would want to try to create something similar.  I am happy to say I even surprised myself with how well the photograph turned out, it was exactly what I  had envisaged.

weddings at st Davids cathedral

One of the great things I like the most about working with an assistant is that I can totally control the light in the photos.  Helen my assistant carries around (as you will see in a later photo) a mono pod (big long pole for holding lights etc) and on top of he is a very expensive light  – by using this light to balance flash with the natural light you can create some fantastic shots, quickly and on the run.

I had Helen stand to the camera right (my right hand side) and using a flash and an umbrella to soften the flash light, we made beautiful light for the recessional (walking out of the church after being married)

The recessional if one of the really important shots imho – this photo normally produces some great facial expressions, this is when the bride is at her very best on her wedding day, happy, relieved, excited, MARRIED, in love and enjoying the fact the pressure of the wedding is over – you always get great photos during a recessional !!!!!!

resessional wedding photo

I just love Nia’s expression in this set of photos – Lee looks a lot more relaxed also.

Then it was outside for a quick confetti shot and then into the cars for a short ride to the Wolfscastle hotel

confetti photo outside st davids cathedral pembrokeshire

and what beautiful cars !

Back at Wolfscastle Nia and Lee had booked a fantastic entertainments company – believe me I know what I am talking about having been lucky enough to be the chosen photographer for 30 weddings a year for the last 4 years.

In this shot Nia is giving it up big time, the whole room was buzzing and jumping around – I have never seen people have such a good time !

and in this shot, Lee if looking over the guest signing book (the reason for the engagement shoot !!!!)

and last but not least on this sneak peek, here is a shot of the family – Did I mention this was an Irish wedding ? – well lots of the family got together to do a bit of local folk singing and some Irish dancing to boot.

weddings at wolfscastle hotel pembrokeshire

Well I hope you have enjoyed this quick sneak peek – My whole hearted congratulations go out to Nia and Lee on their wedding and my sin sear thanks for choosing us to be a part of it.


David Purlsow
Wedding Photographer
01299 250 114 / 0759 007 6666

WARNING – The next bit is for photographers and is boring photographer speak mumbo jumbo !

I say we all the time because I generally work with my long time assistant Helen – Helen is one of our best friends, she is god mother to both Soukie and Joshua and is my wifes best friend – she is also one of the hardest working people I have ever met – Helen lugs around my bags, reflectors, lighting equipment, phone, car keys etc – she keep me on track with formal photos, keeps me dry if it rains and generally makes sure from our point of view the wedding goes as smoothly as possible. – I have chosen a good few of the photos above for the benefit of not only Nia and Lee (who saw a 176 image slide show on the night of the wedding) but for other photographers – I have quite a number of photographers visit my blog and many are curious how I produce the light in my photos.

Well here is a shot of Helen in action – here she is holding a Quantum Qflash on top of the mono pod – this is where she was standing for the speeches ( the photo of Nia dancing and the photo of Lee  looking at the book)   The flash is triggered via Radio Poppers and utilizes the Nikon CLS system.  The radio popper is a radio transmitter that takes the IR CLS signal and converts it to Radio waves and transmits them to the flashes.

Getting your light off camera is the easiest way to elevate your photography to the next level – Yes working with an assistant adds additional cost to the weddings but the quality you get out of your photos by using them makes it all teh more worth while.

Get yourself a VALS as soon as you can – VALS – Voice Activated Light Stand !!!!!

nikon cls

I have moved from the back of the room to the front of the room to grab this photo – the light is actually set up for the other end of the room, so directly around her its a little too bright – but I only wanted it as a demo of the CLS system.

Singers Portfolio – David looking cool – Strobist Lighing with Nikon CLS

Hello there, this one is for the ladies out there as I often get accused of focusing on the girls a little too much (with my camera)

Over the weekend I shot a few photos for my good friend Wayne from Explosive Productions – He is helping to organize a show at the Torch Theater in Milford Haven later next month.

One of Waynes good friends and a friend on mine also (sounds like the mafia – He’s a friend of ours………..)  Thats a guys joke girls……..

so back to David – David is an incredible professional singer and performer who sings songs from the likes of Frank Sinatra etc has been after getting a few photos done, well on Sunday after we finished over in Milford David and I popped over to the waterfront and shot a few pix – it was freezing cold but David managed to pull off the looking cool in the sun look !

We shot using the Nikon CLS lighting system and I used speedlights on stands triggered by the Nikon SU800 IR sender or a master SB900 flash if the SU800 struggled due to light and the distance.

Here are a few of the results, hope you like them








hope you like this little sneak peek