Flash

Cameras, tripods, techniques, etc.
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Flash

Postby cjhfield » Sat 19 Mar, 2016 3:05 pm

I recently figured out how to use flash to abstract the subject from its background. There are some fantastic photographers on this site and I may be accused of teaching my grandmother to suck eggs but its not something I see discussed much and it suits point and shoot cameras quite well. In fact it may not be possible with a DSLR at least not simply as it requires a camera with a high speed flash sync i.e. a leaf shutter. My Fuji X100 will do this as will a Sony RX100 but most DSLR's with a focal plane shutter won't sync fast enough.

The trick involves underexposing the background and using the cameras flash to light the subject. This first pic is where I started. These grasses always reminded me of fireworks:

ImageGrass3 by Chris, on Flickr

The image was shot in the middle of the day. I set my camera on manual - 1/1000 sec shutter speed, an F stop small enough to give me the depth of field I need and the camera's built in flash to forced (and usually at -2/3). It is also important to switch auto iso off. Used like this the shutter speed is actually controlling the ambient light - the flash duration is much shorter so light from the flash is not affected by the set speed. The F stop and iso adjust the subject exposure. So if you want some background detail you can drop the shutter speed a stop or two.

These new fern leaves remind me of Concord coming into land:
Imagefern1 by Chris, on Flickr

I have cheated a bit here - the bottom of the picture was very dark so I used the grad filter tool in Lightroom to apply some lightning to the lower half.

My daughter says they are too black so just to demonstrate you don't have to have a black background these ferns are given more punch by being a little lighter than the rest of the photo:
Imagefern2 by Chris, on Flickr

Anyway I am still getting to grips with the technique but it is fun to do, pretty easy and another tool in the toolbox. These were all shot in harsh midday light when it is usually pretty difficult to get a good image. I hope someone finds it useful.

Chris
cjhfield
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