Get ye flash off Camera!

June 28, 2010  •  Leave a Comment
I don't like to use flash at concerts, in breaking news or in street photography. Usually can't in concerts, as it's distracting to the musician. And there's nothing worse than having that flash go off and shouting that announcement from the rooftop that "Hey Look! Big Guy with a Big Camera taking your photo! Right here right now! Prepare to annihilate in three two one." In fact had a woman get very angry with me the other day while shooting the NYRA job fair when she saw that flash go off and she thought I had taken her photo. I hadn't but it still caused a break in the normal activies of the people around me. As a photographer you really want to avoid that. It loses that moment that you're working so hard to capture.

However, flash does have its uses sometimes. Shooting a show for the Scene the other day for example. Horrid lighting conditions. Here's the first shot out of the camera while I tried to figure out how the hell to light this thing.
From OFC,

That is a horrid lighting situation right there. No real light on George Fletcher (right) a green light on the fellow to the left and a blown out background. The camera has given its best guess for the situation, thrown up its hands and said "hey there fella, this is why you get paid to do this thing. I'm out of here."

From OFC,

B&W and a bit of dodging and burning helps, but not when you're shooting for a color paper and need a cover shot.

From OFC,

So lets move to flash on camera. Helps with the background, helps with the light on Georgie over there, but still not so much. It's harsh, too direct and I've lost detail in the guitar, the guitarists and it just looks flashed. No go on this one Capitan. What now? Well in looking around I see this tiny itty bitty shelf. Just large enough to set my flash on with its little stand. Plunk it in wireless mode, set the mood a bit by reducing its output a bit from the camera and go from there.

From OFC,


Badabing Johnny! Background is controlled and so is the light. Just looks like another spot light in the room. Shoot to your heart's content (or the batteries in your flash or the annoyance of the musicians/customers in the place) get your shots and get out of dodge. Ittl lighting to the rescue. While I did use an SB900 for this, the shot could be done with any wireless strobe (I have an SB80dx I paid a whopping $80 for). The difference? Set-up time. I got the SB900 set up in 10 seconds. Would have taken a couple of minutes of futzing with the SB80 to get the light right.

So saddle up, get that light off camera for the love of all that's holy and shoot something (with your camera. Or at a firing range. Your choice really)

Over and out,
Eric

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