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The lounge Relax, take a break from photo and camera talk - have a chat about something else for a change. Just keep it clean and polite!

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Old 17th April 2011
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Never used flash? Well ...

... watch this:

We had the sky turn a bit dark this evening, the threat of rain after a rather sunny day. I thought I would play with off camera flash to pull off the stormy sky trick.

(If you are a seasoned flash user, then turn away now, this is basic stuff really...)

This is flash the old fashioned way, sometimes called the Strobists method. You don't switch on all the bells and whistles, no TTL flashgun, you do it manually.

So: Camera on manual exposure, my cheap Sunpak flash on manual 1/16th output with diffuser. iShoot radio trigger so I can hold the flash top left while I take the picture.

First shot. I set the camera to 1/60th and tried different apertures. The flowers looked about right at f8.





Second shot.
Stick at f8 but push the shutter speed up to 125th. See how the flowers stay the same brightness, but the sky is darker...






Third shot.
Let's push it further. Stick at f8 again but set the camera to a 250th second.
Yes I know the E600 isn't supposed to sync at this speed, but it does actually :-)





Aaah, thats more like the gathering storm look...

See, it's all a trick

Pete
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Old 17th April 2011
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Re: Never used flash? Well ...

Very nice. I've only just started learning to use flash so I've only done TTL type stuff so far. The Olympus flash system looks good though (I think the flash has been in the hot shoe once and all my experiments since have been with off camera). I thought Olympus cameras were all supposed to sync up to 1/250?
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Old 17th April 2011
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Re: Never used flash? Well ...

Very nice Pete, I like the last one best. Is the background underexposed? If you use flash to illuminate your subject and under expose the background by 1 - 2 stops you can get some nice effects.



Steve
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Re: Never used flash? Well ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wreckdiver View Post
Very nice Pete, I like the last one best. Is the background underexposed? If you use flash to illuminate your subject and under expose the background by 1 - 2 stops you can get some nice effects.



Steve
Yes, that's the key to the trick. a 250th shutter speed is not enough to expose the sky properly, but it is enough for the flash to expose the flowers.

It's all about lighting control.

There's a nice story I heard. Maybe about David Bailey. The client visits the studio with its array of huge studio flashes, the model is ready for the shoot. The client sees the huge white background and says to Bailey "I thought we agreed on a grey background, not white".

Bailey replies "It will be grey when all these flashes fire"

Yes, that sure is all about lighting control

Pete
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Re: Never used flash? Well ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by snaarman View Post
Yes, that's the key to the trick. a 250th shutter speed is not enough to expose the sky properly, but it is enough for the flash to expose the flowers.

It's all about lighting control.

There's a nice story I heard. Maybe about David Bailey. The client visits the studio with its array of huge studio flashes, the model is ready for the shoot. The client sees the huge white background and says to Bailey "I thought we agreed on a grey background, not white".

Bailey replies "It will be grey when all these flashes fire"

Yes, that sure is all about lighting control

Pete
Yes, you can have a white background but, depending on how you set up your flashes, you can have white, black or any shade of grey in between.

Steve
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Re: Never used flash? Well ...

And here is one where I adopted the other approach, rather than deliberately darkening the background, this had the background lifted with a very long exposure.



I gave this 20 seconds according the exif data in order to get a hint of blue into the moonlit sky, while keeping the shadow area dark. The rose was lit by diffused flash, again hand held above the camera and tripod.

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Re: Never used flash? Well ...

Striking photo Pete; think I've seen this one before. If you've got a creative streak in you then the possibilities with using flash are huge.

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Old 18th April 2011
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Re: Never used flash? Well ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wreckdiver View Post
Striking photo Pete; think I've seen this one before. If you've got a creative streak in you then the possibilities with using flash are huge.

Steve
Yes, the rose picture is from a couple of years ago. In fact I am trying to make myself use flash more often, so it becomes a bit more instinctive. The recent fashion shoot was a bit of a baptism by fire and I would like to get a bit more fluent with it.

Meanwhile I am trying to develop a mantra I can keep in my head for these occasions.

"Power and Aperture set the subject lighting, Aperture and Shutter Time set the background lighting, check ISO and colour Temperature"

So you get PA ,AST, IT. "Past it". Suits me


Pete
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Re: Never used flash? Well ...

So, here we go with another flash adventure:

Somewhere on the Strobists web site it challenges you to light a rooom for a "real estate" sale. I think they mean an Estate Agent shot.. Seems like a good challenge, you can use your own room, and take your time.

Their guiding principle is to mix flash with daylight and have the result look nice and attractive. Oh, and use lots of lighting :-)

All these shots are daylight balanced. So, here's my best shot with no special lighting. A bit of daylight and a tungsten uplighter.



Hmm. well I suppose it could be improved with a change of white balence.

So, I tried one, then two then ended up with three flashes.

First flash
is waist high right of camera pointed at the ceiling.
Second one
is head height left of camera also pointed at the ceiling.
These left a gap, so there's a third flash on the floor pointing at the ceiling with its flap raised to avoid ugly shadows on the distant TV.
They are all set to 1/16th power.




OK. That might be better, but it looks dark outside, so let's drop the shutter from a 60th to a 15th.



That is starting to look better, but the ceiling flashes are still projecting pools of light.
So, the right flash gets a home made reflector and two layers of muslin cloth, and it gets turned up to 1/4 power.
The left flash gets some translucent diffuser on the front.

Here we go:





Now I am quite pleased with this. The softer light makes all sorts of improvements.

Here is the lighting arrangement from the other end of the room.



So there is some logic to the Strobist approach where more lights are better..

I could have carried on playing with the concept, but the neighbours were starting to talk ...

It's a good challenge if you are interested in learning lighting techniques, give it a go :-)

I am stumbling forward learning strobist techniques using the time honoured method of trial and error.

Pete
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