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Olympus E-510 E-510 specific discussion.

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Old 25th November 2009
gregles gregles is offline
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Using flash in landscapes

Just wondering if anyone can give any advice on the appropriate setting for the in camera flash when I want to use it to lighten the foreground in a landscape shot. I have had poor results so far when I would like to cast some light on the foreground to capture some detail resulting in the whole scene ending up darker than when taken without the flash.

Any ideas welcome thanks

Greg
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Old 25th November 2009
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Zuiko Zuiko is offline
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Re: Using flash in landscapes

I'd suggest manual exposure mode and adjust the flash output to suit the main exposure. The in-camera flash may not be powerful enough to have much effect on all but the closest detail.
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Old 25th November 2009
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Re: Using flash in landscapes

Try using the camera on manual and meter for the scene, that way the camera isn't trying to balance things.

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Old 26th November 2009
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Smile Re: Using flash in landscapes

I don`t think the built-in flash is powerful enough for what you are trying to acheive!
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Old 26th November 2009
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Re: Using flash in landscapes

I dont think the built in flash will do what you need, you'll need an external flash and move it off camera to focus on the area needed
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Old 26th November 2009
gregles gregles is offline
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Re: Using flash in landscapes

Thanks for the replies. Moving to manual That remains the dark side for me - most shots are in aperture or shutter priority, I feel safe there

I was looking for a way of using the flash just to lighten the immediate foreground as I would usually have a rock or a tussock of grass there to provide some interest. Most often when I have a nice sky that I am capturing then the detail in the foreground gets lost and ends up as a silhouette. I mostly use the sigma 10-20 so get very close to the foreground subject so with just a little pop of flash I might get the detail I want ? When I have tried to use the flash everything in the captured frame goes dark.
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Old 26th November 2009
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Re: Using flash in landscapes

Quote:
Originally Posted by gregles View Post
Thanks for the replies. Moving to manual That remains the dark side for me - most shots are in aperture or shutter priority, I feel safe there

I was looking for a way of using the flash just to lighten the immediate foreground as I would usually have a rock or a tussock of grass there to provide some interest. Most often when I have a nice sky that I am capturing then the detail in the foreground gets lost and ends up as a silhouette. I mostly use the sigma 10-20 so get very close to the foreground subject so with just a little pop of flash I might get the detail I want ? When I have tried to use the flash everything in the captured frame goes dark.
When you use the flash with the camera in auto mode the camera bases the exposure on the flash output, which is fine if you are taking a picture of a person at close range.

However, for what you are trying to achieve manual exposure really is the best method - and it needn't be scary! When I started that's all there was! Just set the aperture as you would in 'A' mode, then turn the shutter speed dial untill the centre point on the exposure indicator bar is reached. With a simple twist of the dial you've done what the camera would normally have done for you, and this will not be changed in any way by the flash firing.

However, the built-in flash is another problem. Firstly, it's doubtfull if it has enough power to achieve what you want. Secondly, it probably only has coverage for a 14mm focal length and if you are shooting at 10mm objects near the bottom of the frame won't be illuminated anyway. Even if they were covered, the lens would be between them and the flash unit, casting them into shadow, if you are very close.

So off-camera flash is the solution. Don't worry if you haven't got an FL36 or FL50, a cheap non-dedicated manual gun will do fine. Fit a slave trigger unit to the flash gun's hot shoe socket and trigger by firing the camera's built-in flash. You'll have to get the correct exposure from the flash by trial and error, by moving it nearer to or further from the object you wish to illuminate, but feedback on a DSLR is immediate and a few practice frames costs nothing. There is a way of calculating the flash to subject distance, but I won't scare you with that!

A better solution however, if you are trying to balance foreground exposure to a bright sky is to use a graduated ND filter - but these work best with manual exposure too!

Hope this helps.
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Old 26th November 2009
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Re: Using flash in landscapes

you can get round some of the issues you mention my operating the camera upside down (most tripods will handle this).

manual camera exposure control is a must IMO - and easiest
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Old 26th November 2009
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Re: Using flash in landscapes

You could also try using a touch and light the area you want and then play with shutter speeds to get the effect you want, Painting with light can also work great in the later hours of the day.
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Old 26th November 2009
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Re: Using flash in landscapes

Thanks very much for the replies. I need to take some time to digest the information you have provided and have a play about with settings, a torch and camera positions. I have been considering getting an external flash and have been having a look at the older t20 and t32 units which come in at quite reasonable prices

Just wish there was someone closer who could show me how to.....

I will of course have a go and let you know how I get on

Thanks again

Greg
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Old 10th December 2009
BobS BobS is offline
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Re: Using flash in landscapes

Hi Greg, at the risk of being dumbed down by traditionalists, perfectionists and other "ists", might I suggest 'photoshopping' your shot on a computer.
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