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Light – Part 3 of 6

Moving a small flash off camera

So how do we get small camera flash better, well we move it off camera and use a modifier.

This picture here made using a small flash on a stand and a white umbrella, to trigger it I had my other flash on camera but set to remote mode so not actually contributing to the overall exposure.

In this shot we are mixing daylight with flash. This time I have gone up a level from small flash to portable battery studio flash. In this shot I used a Elinchrom Quadra on a lightstand and a shoot through umbrella. The advantage of a portable studio flash solution is that it offers far more power.

When using flash outside there is a problem, and that is power and sync speed. Power is easily solved, buy a more powerful flash unit. Sync speed is more of an issue.

In this particular shot I wanted the daylight underexposed. The flash exposure is controlled by the aperture, this leaves the only option to control the ambient light being the shutter speed. Low end cameras will only sync to 1/60 of a second. Mid range cameras will go to 1/125 to 1/180 and higher end cameras to 1/250. A high end professional studio medium format camera will sync up to about 1/2000 or some 1/8000 of a second but these cost tens of thousand of pounds.

Light – Part 2 of 6

On camera flash

On camera flash gives the worst result but there are ways of improving it. I highly rate Nikon’s CCS system, I use a pair of SB800’s now quite old but work well.

In auto using a cameras modern TTL flash metering system you generally get reasonable results, but they become easily tricked by large dark or white areas.

You get a bounce card with the SB800’s that helps and a little modifier, you can also buy little soft boxes to fit on the flash to improve things.

I generally use one flash on camera on low power giving some fill, with a second SB800 on a stand to the side providing the main light. In this shot above of Holly above, I think it was a battery powered Quadra on a stand providing the light with a shoot through brolly.

Light – Part 1 of 6

People argue over what is the best camera, the best lens, Canon, Nikon SLR’ no it has to be mirrorless. Fuji gives the best colour, no one can beat Sony etc, etc ad nauseam.

The one thing that is actually the most important is actually hardly ever discussed, and that is light.

All the above shots were taken in available light, some indoor some high contrast summer sun.

Flower in midday sun shot with flash to over power the light.

Most photographers like to work with available light, its easy but your somewhat stuck with what you have. Maybe a reflector for fill can help but if you want to raise your game then flash is the answer.

Whether its overpowering the sun with flash to take a photo of a flower in the garden or studio light on a fashion shoot, this with modern cameras, a histogram or some knowledge with a light meter gives controllable light; light that you can sculpt and shape the scene and your subject.

Flash seems to scare many photographers but to be honest there is no reason to be afraid. The easiest and worst is on camera flash. All photographers at some point have tried it. Flash on camera, harsh direct light and often red-eye on the subject. Not pretty. The flash goes away never to be used again.

But move the flash off camera, start to understand the relationship between size of the light source and its affect on hard and soft light; and a understanding of defused and specular light sources and you can take control of the light around you.

So how do you learn this, well there are a lot of good educators on YouTube

I particularly like ‘Daniel Norton Photographer‘. If you want some out of the box thinking on flash, especially small flash the Strobist website is a good place to start.

Garden in Spring

So here in the United Kingdom we are entering the fourth week of shutdown. We are doing fine stuck at home, I am doing lots of IT work for the local government and assisting them with their lone working.

With spending eight hours a day stuck in my home office I took the opportunity to upgrade the my sound system and bought a better preamp and DAC for the office.

I am getting out each day for a walk with Ted the Greyhound. Photo options are a little limited but with spring now in full swing I have been taking a few snaps around the garden.

Photography is very much on the back burner for now, so I may have to think up a few indoor projects that I can do on my own.

Sigma fp – Modular Camera’s

Back in the days of film, the system camera was a big thing. The camera was basically a box, you attached a back to it holding the film, and a lens and a viewfinder.

Ricoh made an attempt to make a modular digital camera, basically a body which you could then mount different sensor and lens combinations.

Now we have this from Sigma. For the basic body, it really is basic, a tiny small body.

Available is a viewfinder, two sizes of bolt on handgrips and other accessories. Its a fascinating concept.

Film Scans in LR4

Shot taken with my V System Hasselblad.

This camera seems focus for video but is an interesting solution for those needing stills too.

Ergonomics and Interface Design

Once we had Shutter speed and aperture.

Now with modern digital cameras we have a never ending list of modes, buttons, switches and different screen interface designs.

Now I think I have become a real Leica fan boy. Over the years Leica have refined their interface to something quite simple and easy to use. When every I come back to the Leica M its like a breath of fresh air.

We modern cameras all being so good, I often recommend people that ask me what camera to buy, to buy the camera that feels the best in the hand.

Thats one reason why I maintain a good relationship with a local camera shop and enjoy visiting camera shows. The feel of the camera can be inspiring to shoot.

With the current COVID-19 lock down I am not getting out or doing photography but I look forward to this all being over and getting out and shooting again and visiting camera shops to try out the latest gear.

Photo of the Month – March under COVID-19 Lockdown

iPhone X
iPhone 4mm f/1.8
4mm, 1/50 Sec at f/1.8,  ISO160
Post Processed in Adobe Lightroom Classic

Due to the current lock down in the UK I was unable to do my normal shoots this month. About the only photography I took was this quick snap for Instagram.

Here below is a photograph I took of the lovely Helen during February.

Jessica in Red – an exercise in Red and Lightroom Editing

I have a couple of favourite models that I always seem to go to when I want to experiment with an idea.

This was part of a recent shoot where I used a lot of red, and Jessica was perfect for this with her lovely red hair.

Apart from the challenge with the heavy use of red, it was also a challenge in using just Lightroom V9 and delicate use of the texture and clarity slider to soften the skin and sharpen the eyes, lips and teeth.

For a quick edit I think it worked out quite well.

Crononavirus: COVID19 – The Photography Show 2020 – Postponed

As COVID19 the disease caused by the Coronavirus spreads through Europe; the organisers of the show have decided to cancel.

I was due to visit this weekend but as this week as gone on its become inevitable that events need to be cancelled.

The key in controlling this is to slow the spread so the emergency services can cope. Currently there is no vaccine and its unlikely that there will be one wildly available until next year.

It’s a difficult and complex thing to manage and we can only hope that the governments of our countries are getting the very best advice that is available.

Follow the latest advice from health officials and ignore the rumours, and please do not panic buy or hoard.