1134 – Some Good Things Never Last II

Two posts in sequence with the same title? This is a little unusual, I am not sure, but I think we didn’t have that before, had we?

But not only this is unusual. While yesterday’s little Harlequin had received a proper treatment in Photoshop, yesterday’s Image of the Day had been straight from the camera – just like the two images of today πŸ™‚

And wait, there is even more. The Image of the Day was made with fill flash! That’s really unusual for me. I own two normal flashes, a Nikon SB800 and some Metz the name of which I currently don’t remember, and additionally I have the Nikon macro flash kit, it’s just that I don’t use them. None of them. This was made with the D300’s built-in flash for fill.

I really admire the big Wizards of Flash like David “The Strobist” Hobby, Joe McNally or David Ziser, to name just a few of them. Flashes really don’t fit into the way I work, and as I don’t use them, I am really bad at it. Even for something so simple as adding fill light with the camera flash, I usually need three or four exposures to get it right. Well, to be precise, it were three in this case πŸ™‚

How do you do it? Do you use flashes? Are you good at it? I mean, is it something that you feel comfortable with, that you don’t have to try hard to get any results at all? If so, then you are good at it, at least compared to me that is πŸ™‚

Obviously the Song of the Day is again “Some Good Things Never Last” from Barbra Streisand’s 1988 album “Till I Loved You”. Hear it on YouTube if you haven’t heard it yet.

11 thoughts on “1134 – Some Good Things Never Last II”

  1. it’s the same with me.
    ninety-nine percent of my images are taken with the available light
    and it’s rather 100 than ninety-eight percent
    i don’t get it right with the flash.
    only a fill in works for me and mere for the effect than for proper lightning
    i experimented with long exposure in combination flash for the effect.

    in my work situation i do sometimes pack-shot photography.
    no flash, but two or three permanent daylight lights with long exposure and small lens opening for sharpness from front to back of the object.

    i have in mind to experiment with stroboscope light for the effect it has on moving objects or people.

    so most of the time no flash;
    it’s because i can’t grip on the light as i wanted to be, i suppose

  2. I used to use fill flash, either on camera (pop-up or flash gun mounted on the camera), but I found I liked the results better when I got the flash off the camera. But last spring my Nikon SB800 fried itself, so now I use only available light.

    Andreas, I do like this image – it doesn’t look like fill flash at all.

    1. Well, I guess the art of using fill flash is not just to make it look like there is no flash at all, the art is to make it right at the first attempt πŸ™‚

      1. By the way, speaking of non-manipulated images, using flash is probably a much more severe manipulation than anything I can achieve in Photoshop πŸ˜€

  3. Until you pointed it out, I had no idea this image was created with a supplemental flash.

    And once you pointed it out, I’m thinking of all the times I might have benefited from using a little fill flash, if I only knew how. πŸ˜‰

    The on-camera flash for my D300 is now set for Rear Synch @ 1/250s, TTL, Modeling On, Flash shutter speed 1/15s. I know there were good reasons for each of those settings, but can’t remember now what they were…

    1. Hmm … rear synch is only useful for moving subjets. It makes the “trails” be at the right ends, at least if the subject is moving forward. Cars are the obvious application. I’d turn modeling off. It makes for a stroboscope effect before the actual image is taken, basically to let you compose in darkness. Hmm … interesting, default is “on”. Flash shutter speed, well, I’d reset it to its default of 1/60s. This is the shutter speed that you get for the built-in flash as soon as it sets in. Low levels make sense in low light, when you want to record more ambient light (in relation to flash).

      What I’ve done here, was to use -1 EV flash compensation and +0.7 EV exposure compensation in aperture priority, matrix metering mode. This is severely trial and error.

      A better approach would be to check what you’d get without flash, knowing that the twigs and berries would come out much too dark. Then set the camera to manual, dial in exactly those values for aperture and shutter speed, and from there to add flash, just as Flo said, beginning at -2 or -1 EV flash compensation. You can’t lighten the sky with flash, thus the only effect will be to lighten the foreground, but the sky will still be exposed in a “natural” way. Note though, that you can’t get a faster shutter speed than the one set as “Flash Shutter Speed”. Well, you can, but you need external flashes for that.

      But then, most of that may be wrong. If I would really want to know about these things, I’d do some research at The Strobist.

  4. April, below the little button that pop-s up the on-camera flash on the D300 is another little button. Press it and you’ll see an exposure value just for the flash output. You can change it all the way up to +3 and all the way down to -3.

    Usually start fill flash at -1 or -2 flash EV.

    As for those other settings, lol, you’ll have to consult the camera’s manual, as I’ve also forgotten what each does. The only ones I have set in common with yours are rear synch – useful when shooting moving subjects at slow shutter speed, as it puts the shadow behind rather than in front of the flash-lit subject – and also allows for ambient light to register before the flash fires. Modeling light is a pre-flash that helps the camera figure out how to do the flash exposure.

  5. Same here – I’m terribly bad at using a flash, and the results look accordingly most of the times. I prefer a tripod and longer exposures most of the time. But that obviously has to work for the motive you have in mind. Fortunately, my landscapes usually don’t run away… πŸ˜‰

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