Friday, June 22, 2012

Photo Friday: Playing with Light

Flash photography is my nemesis.

I'm rarely happy with the photos I take when I use a flash. Either the flash is too powerful and everything is washed out. Especially, when I'm shooting people, at night or indoors. And when the flash isn't powerful enough, everything seemed greyed. Dull, bland.

Even shooting outdoors with a flash, in daylight, gives me varied results. If I'm shooting in shade, I usually get the same results that I get when I shoot indoors: bright subjects; dark backgrounds.

The only time I feel confident with a flash is when I shoot outside, in bright light. When my flash is used as a fill flash, lightening the minor shadows that are cast on my subjects. I'm also fairly successful when I shoot subjects standing in front of a sunset. That's when I want the background darkened a little but my subjects illuminated.

Decades ago, I started playing with my flash, removing it from the top of my camera. I had a secondary flash that I attached to a slave unit and illuminated my subject from directions other than from the camera out.

And then I shot this photo.

Using my Minolta X-700, I used a cable to hook up my flash. My subject was the head of a rose, floating on water in a brandy snifter. I got as close to the flower as I could with the lens, the cable running from the camera and into the flash, which was simply lying on the table, pointing slightly upward from beneath the bottom of the bowl of the glass.

When I snapped the shot, the light from the flash seemed to dissipate through the water and spin around the inside of the glass.

It's not the greatest shot: the flower isn't sharply in focus. But I like what the flash did. It makes me want to continue experimenting.

And then, maybe, someday, the flash won't be my nemesis.

Happy Friday!


  1. Cool! I've a few ideas for flash - one including Mill St. Brew Pub. We should talk. Did you signup for Joe McNally on the 5th? He largely uses small flash and is a Nikon shooter. Right up your alley.

    1. Matt: I wish I could see Joe McNally, but I'm booked that week. But I'd love to hear your ideas.

      Let's meet up at Mill Street sometime soon.