blinding subjects with my flash

OK, so I’m not really blinding anyone with my off camera flash.

But it’s partially true with our single flash assignment, which we had to use flash as our only light source (which meant overpowering any available light). To me this wasn’t much of a big deal after using flash in plenty of situations for the Riverfront Times. Only thing new for me was using a manual setting on my flash and using it off camera. The approaching and interaction with the subject was the same, though. From our takes we had to apply two different methods using flash, direct and bounce. Of course when I got word about the Soulard Oktoberfest and the drinking competition I knew I would end up going with that situation for my direct flash. While I had plenty of great fill-flash and no-flash photos from the event, I of course had to abide by the “must overpower the available light source” for my select. I chose this one for obvious reasons:

Now, as far as the bounce flash photos went I wasn’t as sure what my subject matter would be. I was thinking something with big white walls or floors, maybe a janitor working, maybe a bar or comedy wars. I finally just went out to one of the regular MU activities, Stitch ‘N Bitch, a movement schools and organizations across the country are doing to promote devalued “women’s work” as well as an activity for people to meet, knit, crochet and chat. For some reason my off-camera shoe cord wasn’t cooperating with me so I had to fire from on camera. This wasn’t so much a problem with bounce but I wasn’t able to get the angle of shadows (or lack there of ) that I wanted. Here’s the shot I ending up choosing:

I also went to the MU Art Department’s wood shop lab, hoping to find some crazy wood chips flying around, but just found the lab technician cutting some pieces for a photo frame. I liked the compositions a little better than the Stitch ‘N Bitch, but they just weren’t as engaging. Here are some of my outtakes from both shoots:

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2 thoughts on “blinding subjects with my flash

  1. Nice shots and the flash isn’t obnoxious. I’d think the tent would be good to bounce since it doesn’t seem that high, but I could be mistaken.

    I’m still wary of flash. Wish they’d forced it on us more at school while I was there (strange that I’m more comfortable with strobes than on-camera/off-camera flash). I took a flash class that was like an 8 week course (a few years ago). We learned to use manuel settings, but it’s been so long. I mostly shoot TTL now.

    I’m forced to use flash more often now that I’ve been shooting weddings lately, so I’m glad to get the experience. Still, I’m more of a bump-up-the-ISO-and-enjoy-ambient-light kinda gal. Also a fan of available light, which as Eugene Smith would say, “Available light is any damn light that is available!”

  2. The tent was an OK surface to bounce off of. It was pretty high up so to use it as the only light source I would have had a pretty slow shutter speed. Plus bouncing would have been better had I been able to use it as fill too. I’m still learning to use flash effectively, but feel comfortable with it in most situations.

    Talk about forcing it on us more, we have this entire class devoted to using artificial light in the context of a journalistic scenario to expand the dynamic range in a photograph. We are learning to use manual settings, however I’m not the best with math out in the field to convert guide numbers for different ISO settings. Where gonna learn to paint with light near the end of the semester, which I’m pretty excited for!

    I use my flash in weddings mainly for posed family photos (or, in the case of last weekend’s wedding, using it all the time due to the ceremony being held outdoors at 2 p.m.). I agree too, I like to use available light as much as possible. However the off-camera shoe cord we’ve been using in class has been really fun to use!

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