I’m planning on writing up the full how-to for flash surf photography with the Sony a6000, but it’s going to be a while until it’s ready, this should get you most of the way there if you’re happy to experiment with some trial and error.
What Do I Need for Flash Surf Photography?
First you’ll need to get your Sony a6000 inside a housing, and the housing needs to have room inside for a wireless radio trigger, I use my converted Aquatech CR-60 housing.
This photo shows you the basic set-up, see below for the details on each piece of the puzzle and where to get them:
- Pelican 1020 Micro Case – $15.70 – This small peli case is listed as “not for swimming or submerging”, so use it at your own risk, I haven’t had any issues with it so far but I’m prepared to lose the contents eventually when sea water gets in.
- Neewer Slave Flash – $14.73 – It’s a very basic slave flash, I’m setting it off with the wireless triggers in this case but I have used it with my Canon 60D and 70D and the Sony a6000 in the peli case triggered using the pop up flash from the camera, but it’s not ideal with the Sony (more on that in part 2).
- Yongnuo RF-603C II flash triggers – $30 – these are great, they work perfectly with the Sony a6000 as well as my Canon DSLR’s and allow you to sync a remote flash with your camera even through a housing at a reasonable distance.
- Hot Shoe to PC connector adapter – $14.99 – only needed so that the RF 603 unit can fit inside the peli case with the Neewer flash.
- Various GoPro mount pieces – $11.95 – I had some bits spare from various grab bags and GoPro mounts that I have bought over the years.
- Sony a6000 – $548 – The best camera body I’ve ever owned.
- Samyang/Rokinon 8mm Fisheye – $280 – Great value fisheye, you need to be close to get a flash shot with this set-up, so the fisheye is the way to go, you could use any super wide lens.
- Cheap GoPro Housing – $11 – $20 – I used an old housing from an obsolete GoPro, I just sawed off the bottom section which included the part that goes into the GoPro mount, giving me a rectangle of plastic to attach to the back of the peli case.
- 3M double sided sticky foam – $4.98 – I bought a sheet of this, it’s the same stuff that’s used on the official GoPro sticky mounts and it works great, plus I can cut it to whatever shape and size I need
That should get you nearly all the way there, as I mentioned you don’t necessarily need the Yongnuo triggers, if you’ve got a camera with a pop up flash and a housing that lets you pop it up inside (my Aquatech CR-60 has just enough room and my SPL A-series also worked with my Canon DSLR’s) you can put the flash in slave mode and trigger it that way.
It will take some experimentation with positioning of the flash, settings on the camera and flash unit, and technique. I’ll cover those in future parts of this series, but I wanted to get something up now or I’ll never get around to it.
This example was shot with a Canon 70D and Tokina 10-17mm lens using the pop up flash to trigger the Neewer flash, I hope to get some more shots like this with my Sony a6000 and surf flash photography set up now the water’s warming up a bit in the UK.