May 6, 2013
bounce flash comparison: with & without the black foamie thing
One of the presentations that I gave at the After Dark event in St Louis, was (perhaps inevitably by now), about bounce flash photography. Part of this was a sequence explaining how the direction that you bounce your flash into, will define the light pattern on your subject. The black foamie thing helps in directing the light from your flash, especially if you want short lighting on your subject.
And here is the comparison – with the black foamie thing, and without. Without flagging the flash, there is direct flash. Then the light is flat and specular and there is a distinct hard shadow that isn’t flattering.
(To see this comparison duo larger, right-click and open the image in a new tab. )
May 5, 2013
After Dark Photography Education – St Louis, MO – 2013
Anyone who regularly followed the Tangents blog during the past year or so, will know that I’ve raved about the After Dark events that I attended (and presented at). In my opinion, After Dark is the best (and most fun) learning experience that I’ve encountered.
If you want more details about After Dark:
- After Dark Edu website for more info
- After Dark on Facebook, if you want to closely follow discussions
The one After Dark event that was announced for 2013, was held in St Louis. As before, I did several presentations and I’d like to show some of the images that I shot while here.
May 1, 2013
digital infra-red B&W photography
The ghostly beautiful infra-red B&W landscapes have always drawn me. Something ethereal and other-wordly about them.
So I’m not sure why it took me this long to pull the trigger on getting an infra-red converted digital camera. But as I mentioned in the re-appraising review of the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II, I did recently buy a used Canon 5D mark II. The conversion was been done by life pixel, according to the camera’s previous owner.
Today was the first time I took the camera out for a proper spin, but instead of seeking out landscapes, I ventured in to Manhattan, to see what it looks like … and I’m blown away. I love this. I love this effect more than I had anticipated.
April 30, 2013
I know this is going to amuse many of you. Since my less-than-excited review of the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II, I did end up buying the the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II (B&H) for myself after all.
My daughter has developed an interest in photography, and fell in love with my 5D mark II (and Canon 24-105mm f/4) that I lent to her. So I ended up giving her the camera and lens to keep as her own. However, this left me with just the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 II, and no camera body. And no mid-range zoom.
Even though I use Nikon as my primary system, I do feel it is important that I remain au fait with the Canon system – specifically their flash system. This is necessary for the various articles on the Tangents blog, and for the workshops that I teach. It looks less convincing if I ramble on about the Canon flash system and have a Nikon in my hands. That’s how I rationalize reasons to have a lot of toys.
So I followed my own advice in that review, and tested my copy immediately on purchase … and I’m happy with it. The sharpness wide open is stunning. Even better, that mushiness that I see in other Canon wide-angle zooms when used at widest aperture, isn’t there. This lens has remarkable sharpness and contrast at wide aperture when looking at the edges. The two photos here were taken at f/2.8 and I am very happy with the sharpness at that aperture. I can happily live with this lens.
April 29, 2013
For on-location work, I’ve been using the Profoto AcuteB2 600 AirS/R Power Pack (B&H), and it works like a charm:
- shooting wedding photos in the mid-day sun
- wedding photography – lighting large groups with a large light
The only downsides to the AcuteB2 600R is that it only has one output. For many situations where you use a simple lighting setup (ie, just one large light source), it is perfect. The battery of the AcuteB is rated to give 200 bursts at maximum power, Again, for most uses, that is plenty.
But I’ve been considering future shoots where I would like to use two lights. For that the Profoto BatPac portable battery (B&H) would be ideal, offering two AC outputs – enough juice to run two Profoto D1 500 Ws monolights for quite some time.
I’ve tried the BatPac out in the studio just to see how it works, and that it does indeed work. But that’s nowhere near as satisfying as using it on an actual photo session. For this part of an individual workshop at my studio, we didn’t really need more than just one light … but still, it felt good to take this puppy out and try it on an actual shoot.
April 25, 2013
finessing photographic composition – and using off-camera flash vs. available light
With this background, I liked the way the dots were repeated in Olena‘s dress in reverse – white dots on black, instead of black dots / holds on silver. I liked the repetition, and decided to work with the composition of this photograph a bit. For the final sequence of images – of which the image at the top is one – I asked Olena to really exaggerate the curve of her body to create an S-shaped, which in turn contrasted boldly with the rigid pattern of the background.
This article’s original title was going to be: Off-camera flash vs the snobbery of “available light is always better”. When you look at the available light photo of Olena, you’ll see that the available light was pretty sweet – soft and flattering. But it lacked punch. It needed just that little bit of drama to it. The available light shot just looked a touch too bland. Off-camera lighting to the rescue!
I had the flash in a soft box to create flattering, yet dynamic light on her. I wanted her shadow to be more defined and become part of the composition, but that would’ve meant a harder light source. Holding the Lastolite 24″x24″ Ezybox (B&H) fairly close to her was the compromise. This way her shadow added a subtle element to the composition.
April 24, 2013
Tangents rated (very nearly) one of the best photography blogs!
Okay, I sound a little cheeky there with the title, but honestly, it really is an honour to have Tangents noticed and rated highly by other photographers. Especially when they run their own very visible and successful blogs, like Jamie’s The Modern Tog. Lots of good business advice on her site. Check out the link for the other superb photography blogs.
April 18, 2013
I want to sell all my Quantum flash gear that I’ve accumulated over the past 10 years. They were very reliable and worked well for me. But I want to upgrade further to a Profoto system for on-location lighting. So these have to go.
Before I put these up on the FM forums and eBay, I thought I’d see if anyone who follows the Tangents blog might be interested in first dibs on some gear.
One of the main advantages of the Quantum over speedlights, is that they are very durable, and don’t over-heat and melt like speedlights do. Pretty much all speedlights do if you fire them rapidly or for long periods. The Quantums on the other hand, are work-horses. They just keep going.
All the equipment works. They show wear and tear from normal use, but I didn’t abuse these.
To make it easier for myself, I am selling to lower 48 states in the USA only.
I can take Paypal, or I can take credit card payments over the phone.
The large kit shown here at the top, is for local pick-up only. It’s heavy and shipping charges would be crazy.
All other prices include shipping.
The larger items will ship via UPS ground.
Smaller items will be stuffed into a padded envelope, via USPS.
drop me an email if you’re interested in any of these items.
There is some flexibility in the pricing, but let’s stay reasonable, ya know?
April 17, 2013
I would like to remind everyone that the video tutorials – Off-Camera Flash Essentials – that were created for the ClickinMoms as a Break-Out Session, are still available for purchase.
It’s essentially a flash photography workshop - 90 minutes of video tutorials for $60.
The first section is a 45 minute video seminar where, with the help of images, the basics of flash photography and off-camera flash photography are explained. The final 45 minutes are divided into different sections, including a section where we work on-location.
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April 16, 2013
photo session: adding off-camera flash to bright daylight
Someone emailed me to ask a few technical details about this family photo session. How did you expose for the family photos? Was a soft-box used? Or did you expose for the shadows and use fill flash? For those who regularly follow the Tangents blog, the thought-process here should be familiar. Let’s take a walk through the process.
As described in the article, controlling bright daylight w/ direct off-camera flash, when trying to over-power the sun with flash, the best algorithm is usually:
- maximum flash sync speed,
- lowest ISO,
- find the aperture for your brightest area that you want to expose correctly for,
at that specific shutter speed and ISO.
Because the sun was hard, and high up already, the best start was to have their backs to the sun. This ensured no one would be squinting, and that I’d have a fighting chance with the single Nikon SB-910 Speedlight (B&H) inside the Lastolite EZYBOX 24×24″ softbox (B&H) as the light-source I could directly control.
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