Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Dog Catcher

The Dog Catcher

For this photo, I had my camera, trusty 28mm, and an SB-800 on a TTL cable in my off-hand. Using a flash like this is tricky. Despite a fair amount of monkey-ing around with flashes, I never feel like I have an instant intuition for what a picture with a flash in it will look like. Something I can plan for to predict, but not something that I have instinctively.

What this meant in practice was that I was not yet ready to be a complete bad-ass, walking around with my flash in full manual, getting the look I wanted by whipping the flash around to just the right spot for the right amount of brightness...

Well, maybe one day.

One I did instead was to rely on the balanced i-ttl mode, which works pretty well. I set the camera to meter off the background, and the flash pops a little pre-fire, then computes what it would take to fill in the parts of the scene that *aren't* background. Great way to reliably make a sunny scene less harsh. When I got a little daring (like I did here), I'd drop the camera exposure about 2/3rds of a stop to get a more darker (and generally more dramatic) background, and kept the flash so that it would 'normally' expose the subjects.

The result is what you see here: These guys are lit up in a pool of flash, with an underexposed sky and dark mid-ground. I liked the effect, and the folks here helped out by being arranged just-so.

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