The Secrets of Straight On Flash
One of the most popular photography website is the http://www.strobist.blogspot.com/ from David Hobby. I'm not in the same league and I don't even pretend. But I use flashes regularly. I specialize in simple setups. The problem with most of the photos sites where they give you the lighting diagram, they tell you how they did it but not why they chose this or that solution.
Jasper is not a happy camper. Jasper clearly doesn't want to be here. If he could escape and go back home he would. Treats and weird/special noises didn't help to get his interest.
Jasper is not a happy camper click on image for gallery
First look at eyes, "evil" glowing eyes, good definition and not hard shadows. Here's the technical data:
- Canon 7D with 70-200L f/4 IS and 580ExII flash.
- Lens @135mm and I am 2.2 meters or 7.2 feet away.
- Camera in manual mode with f/8 & 1/40sec & ISO 400 (thanks to the IS, I can be at 1/40sec and still get sharp photos.)
- Flash straight up pointing to the ceiling with a Gary Fong Lightsphere II. The Lightsphere converts the flash into a "mini bare bulb." The flash is 7 inch tall and the Lightsphere adds another 3 inch so the whole contraption is 10 inch or 25 centimeters above Jasper's eyes.
So the question is why?
- Lens: 135mm, I like close. It's my style, it's different from any "point and shoot" camera or Uncle Harry. Plus, actually a big plus, I can eliminate most of the background and the chaos that's happening around us.
- You can see the pin-point of the flash in the eye at the top, viewer left.
- 1/40sec: I want to allow some of the fluorescent light. It reduces the harsh flash of the "straight on", but it is still straight on.
- f/8: I need some depth of field at 135mm. This gives me 7.5 centimeters or 3 inches of depth of field. That's about the distance between the eyes and the nose.
- The magic of setting the camera in manual mode is that I set it to whatever I want or need (up to the sync speed) and the flash will adjust the power accordingly.
What about a bounce instead of the Gary Fong Lumisphere II? Usually, I prefer the bounce but...
- I would need something to bounce to.
- I couldn't use the ceiling. I was too close, the eyes would be a back hole.
- I couldn't use the wall behind me. I was at a 45Â° angle with the wall, so the bounce wouldn't be back to my subject. I still got some bounce as fill by using the Gary Fong Lightsphere II as a â€œmini bare bulb.â€
- I couldn't really use the wall behind me, there were half a dozen people behind me.
- If you are using any Canon Flash, spend $30 and buy: "Speedliter's Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites" from Syl Arena. You can get it at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Speedliters-Handbook-Learning-Craft-Speedlites/dp/032171105X (I get a grand total of $0.00 commission if you buy it from Amazon). Read this book, it's the best book, bar none, on the Canon flashes. It's 50% Canon and 50% about light.
- If you are using any Nikon Flash, spend $27 and buy: "The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes" from Joe McNally. You can get it at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hot-Shoe-Diaries-Light-Flashes/dp/0321580141 (I get a grand total of $0.00 commission if you buy it from Amazon). Read this book, it's one of the best book on the Nikon flashes. It's 60% Nikon and 40% about light.
- If you use Sony, Pentax, Olympus... then buy Syl Arena's Speedliter's Handbook and use it with the manual for your flash. It's that good of a book.
- It's very difficult to control a flash on automatic and a camera on automatic at the same time. Some people can and I bow in deference to these masters.
- It's much easier to control a flash when there's only one automatic variable. I prefer to use the camera in manual and the flash in automatic, unless it's a shoot-trough umbrella or a softbox.
- The aperture controls the amount of light produced by the flash.
- The shutter speed controls the amount of light produced by the ambient light.