Let’s start by getting something out in the open up front: I don’t like flash. I know it is useful in all sorts of situations, it’s an essential tool of studio and wedding photographers. Used properly and creatively it can transform muddy and mundane to glorious.
Maybe it is my lack of learning practice that makes me shy away from using flash, but I genuinely prefer to work with the light I am presented with. As you are probably sensing by now, this was not my favourite exercise!
Here are three shots of one figure from Anthony Gormley’s “Another Place” installation at Crosby Beach near Liverpool. All were taken at 1/250th, with aperture set to f/11, f8, f22. The in-built flash of my Canon 70D was set to 1/2 power.
If I had visited on a day with clear evening skies I would have used the sunlight to illuminate the statue. The flash is just too cold for me and I’d rather not use it.
As it happened, it was the contrasting colours of the churned-up Mersey and Welsh mountains that caught my eye, with no illumination required:
However… The point of this course is to learn, and so appears a Speedlite 320EX to play with. I’m no longer up on Merseyside, so this rose bush in our garden will have to serve as a subject.
I’ve shot at varying flash power settings, on aperture priority mode and ISO100. Each set of the varies the aperture between f22, f16 and f9. Except for the last set, where I appear to have forgotten about f9! Power settings per set of 3 are 1/64th, 1/32nd, 1/2 and full.
Whilst I can clearly see the effect of the flash power and aperture changes, I am still not entirely convinced I’m seeing the true variation this exercise is about – perhaps the camera’s selection of shutter speed is compensating to a degree?
Probably 1/40sec at f/22 and 1/2 power is the best of the bunch for even exposure, but I suspect if I use this technique for real I’ll be looking for a slightly over exposed subject against an under exposed background for dramatic effect. One to try with my Lee Big Stopper filter.
One thing I did pick up from this exercise with the rose, done on a windy day, is the ability of the flash to freeze motion. This is definitely something I’ll use more often, particularly when the motion is generated by camera movement. I enjoyed taking these…