Friday, September 7, 2007

Sunflower Flash

A couple weeks ago, on our way home from conducting a seminar for Samy's in Santa Barbara, we pulled over at a farm that my wife, Sue, had spotted earlier in the day. She had seen the vivid yellow flowers and stunning blue sky from the coast highway, and remembered exactly where to pull off. She commented on the amazing light.

Well, the lighting wasn't so amazing when we arrived to do some shooting. The sky was still blue in areas, but the Sunflowers were almost totally in shade by this time. This presented an opportunity to use an off-camera flash, modified with a medium sized LumiQuest soft box.

Once the tripod-mounted camera was framed-up and focused, I had the freedom to move about the cabin, and place the light EXACTLY where it needed to be.

For these examples here, there was no change in the aperture or shutter speeds...the only change was the addition of the flash. I experimented with the flash power aet to "Manual"...and 1/2 power seemed to work best when competing with the direct sun, and allowing for the light loss from the soft-box.

Initially the scene was metered, and underexposed by 1/3 stop, to add saturation to the sky.

The flash-on-a-stick was set to manual power of 1/2 and, once the proper distance-to-subject was established, it worked for every ensuing shot. Very simple, and totally predictable. For shooting up into a very bright sky....especially with the possibility of some direct sunlight hitting the lens, I always use as LONG a lens shade as possible. Stray light can ruin a good image.

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