Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bounce Flash Examples

Flash pointed directly at the subject. Notice the glare on the books and the hard flash shadow under the stool.

Flash tilted up to 45 degrees. Now the light comes from above (rather than hitting straight in the center of the orange, a really unnatural look). This is giving a more natural look with softer light coming from above -- but we still see glare on the books and little flash shadow under the stool.

Flash pointed straight up. Light is from above, glare is gone. In photographing people with this technique, we'd want to look at where the shadows fall on the face -- from above, the light can be blocked from the eyes by brow ridges, depending on the angle. In that case, using a card built into the flash or an index card attached via rubberband might be a good way to add a little fill. Alternatively, a flash diffuser or a reflector might help.

An example of "dragging the shutter" technique. Using about a 1/4 of a second shutter speed with the flash set to "2nd curtain sync" and moving the camera let the ambient light provide a little streaking / ghosting in the image.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Manfrotto 790B

Monopods are cool. A little bit of camera support when you need it, without having to carry around a clunky, three-legged thing. I have a few.

In my search to find small and light stuff, I ran into the Manfrotto 790B. It's particularly cool because it folds up to 15 inches in length -- but expands to be just fine for a six-foot tall photographer. Really lightweight, and well-made.

Don't put a huge camera with long glass on top of it. But if you need something to hold up a small DSLR and a reasonable lens, it's worth trying. I've been using one for a while, but I'm posting now because I noticed these have dropped to about half price.... Not a bad addition to a small photo backpack.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Monday is President's Day. Or, Presidents' Day. (I'm still not sure.) I couldn't leave a red-white-and-blue chicken as the main photo on my page.

As James Joyce Said

This was, of course, in front of The Fillmore.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Last Man Standing

A sudden rainstorm leaves one last player on the field at Kimbell Playground in San Francisco, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

An Explanation Might Ruin It

I find I'm much more interested in photographing something if I don't understand it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Why Mr. Fortune Quit Smoking

Whenever I see a crazy note, I feel compelled to photograph it. Especially one so systematically organized.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Exposure & White Balance with a Lastolite Ezybalance

Camera Decision
This shot used camera metering and Auto White Balance.
ISO 320, f/1.7, 1/160th
Here the white wall behind the apples fooled the meter, so the shot is underexposed.

Camera Decision Applied
I used the settings from the "default" shot.
ISO 320, f/1.7, 1/160th
When I put a grey card -- I used a Lastolite Ezybalance -- into the shot and used the same settings, I could clearly see this was an underexposed shot.

Metering from Lastolite Ezybalance
I set my white balance based on this card, and adjusted my exposure based on it as well.
ISO 320, f/1.7, 1/80th
Now I adjusted based on the reading with the grey card. It turned out I was one stop under, so I changed from 1/160th of a second shutter speed to 1/80th. I then used custom white balance based on this card.

Settings Applied
I kept the exposure settings and White Balance I had set with the card. The White Balance is 7000k and a +8 setting toward magenta.
ISO 320, f/1.7, 1/80th
This looks about the same way my eyes saw the scene. Great.

"Flash" WB
We can compare the WB with the camera's "Flash" white balance setting, which is 5500k and neutral between green and magenta.
ISO 320, f/1.7, 1/80th
This looks good as well -- though I do like the slightly warmer version I got basing my white balance on the grey card.