Exercise 2.8 Fill-flash

26th October 2019

OCA Foundations in photography Course folder pg81

I am waiting for the weather to change again so that we can shoot outside as it has been gale winds and rain for the last week. The weather forecast is supposed to be getting better for the following week so fingers crossed I can continue with the practical par of the course.

29th October 2019

Phew! We managed to get an hour where the rain stopped today so we took some practice flash shots in a little wooded area. One minute it was raining, the next spitting, then the sun was out and then my daughter couldn’t cope anymore. Having Aspergers means we are limited to how much time sometimes we can be outside depending if her senses are becoming over loaded. Today it wasn’t her senses but her excitement that wore her down. I have bought her a second hand Lumix G1 camera to introduce her to ‘grown-up’ photography away from the point and clicks and the camera phones. She has found it so addictive that she is becoming overwhelmed and this is making her tired very quickly. But for me – I am so happy, because she hasn’t ever taken notice of anything photography related but now she wants to take photos, learn the technical aspects and more importantly actually leave the house to do this! She actually said to day that it is very addictive, so I replied, ‘now you know why I always have my camera with me and cannot get enough!’ ONE HAPPY MUM.

This is my first major trial with a flash attached to the camera. I also manipulated the f-stops to help with exposure, so for me, today was a very big leap forwards in putting new knowledge into practice. I need more, much more.

Below is a contact sheet of todays shoot.

In the grid below the images on the left show the shot without flash and those on the right with flash. Some images have had the f-stops altered so that the flash was not so bright which you can see if you compare Flash 2 with Flash 4. I actually enjoyed trying to work out how many stops to alter to shoot the image.

Another interesting aspect is how the flash can highlight so many details that are usually lost, for instance the dead weed growths on image 6.

I actually learnt quite a lot from this practice shoot, there are some images not on here but they are shown in the full contact sheet and also within the post Fill Flash, where I have gone back and posted to show my first shoot with some information that I have learnt. I have also noticed since writing this first section up, that photographs, numbers 1 and 2 above are out of focus, but I kept them in as they demonstrate the light differences.

04th November 2019

I have been so desperate to get out and complete this exercise, I cannot cope with having projects unfinished it actually makes me very impatient and stressed. The weather is still awful but it is the rain causing the hold ups and although today is the first rain free morning we have had the dark sky is telling me the rain is heading back. Ruddy nightmare, how people cope when they have deadlines for payed shoots, I do not know!!

So with the rubbish weather I have been reading more on how to use my flash, so I tried to find out what this phrase means in the OCA Course Folder on pg81, ‘Take a subject – a person for example – and frame them against the sky. Make sure the sky is either a cloudy sky or the most intensely blue portion of the sky – on the opposite side from the sun.’

I actually do not understand what this means, ‘on the opposite side from the sun‘, what and where do I find the opposite side??

Does it mean actually mean – position the subject so that they are facing the sun or with the sun behind them????

I cannot see it would be facing the sun as you would get your subject, if it is a person, squinting.

However if you position the sun behind your subject then you can use the fill flash to lighten the face. Also the light from the sun will not be a harsh and direct light but a more diffused light. I would have to be aware of the cameras reaction to being pointed straight at the sun, there might be lens flare, lack of sharpness and the contrast and colour will have changed. A lens hood would help to stop some of the direct sunlight hitting the lens as it would shade it a little.

Correct exposure would also need to be calculated as the face will now be in shadow with a brighter background. Therefore I would need to alter the f-stops by opening up the aperture to let more light in, but would this bleach the background more?

NOW, if we look at the exercise objective – to use fill-flash all my thoughts change direction. With the technique of fill-flash I would have more creative control – well, I will have when I fully understand how to control it’s settings – for example, I can alter the f-stops to darken the amount of natural light entering the camera and then control the light from the flash to lighten the face.

AS I WRITE THE RAIN IS BACK!! Nightmare…

5th November 2019

We quickly went into the garden to take some more photographs. I began by just altering the f-stops and then by combining different f-stops with the flash. As you can see from the contact sheet below the varying experiments achieved different results. By underexposing I made the background and sky darker and the flash then highlighted the subject.

Each image was taken with the settings: ISO 200 and an aperture setting of f22. The SS were as follows: 1 – 1/4 – 0.5 – 1/8 – 1/15 – 1/30 – 1/60 – 1/125 – 1/250 – 1/400 – 1/250

I noticed when reviewing that I have shot 2 x 1/250… and I have also just noticed that the lens was dirty when these shots were taken as you can see in the top left hand corner.

I actually prefer the underexposed shots with fill in flash because I love the silhouette of the tree, poles and fence with the stormy looking clouds. My favourite is the last shot 45.

The shots below where flash is used are numbers 40, 41, 43, 45.

As you can see from the images I was quite close to the subject so she was squinting. If we had the time I would have moved away from her so that the flash was not as bright on her. Plus I have just realised I forgot to put the defuser back on the flash unit… This I will do next time we manage to grab some shots and add them to this post at a later date. I still haven’t managed how to alter the flash – if I can on this one – to a lower level of light.

I have been over the instruction manual again and found this page, so I shall have a go next time altering the flash’s ‘Flash Exposure Compensation.’

Godox TT350o Flash manual pg36

In photography flash exposure compensation is a feature that allows the photographer to add exposure compensation to output power of their flash units. Flash Exposure Compensation can be + (plus) or – (minus) in increments of 1/3 EV (exposure value).

WHAT IS FLASH EXPOSURE COMPENSATION WHEN TALKING ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY?

In photography flash exposure compensation is a feature that allows the photographer to add exposure compensation to output power of their flash units. Flash Exposure Compensation can be + (plus) or – (minus) in increments of 1/3 EV (exposure value). It is important to note that flash exposure compensation effects the flash output only, the cameras exposure settings remain unaffected. This allows a photographer to reduce dynamic range by brightening dark areas of an image without effecting the exposure or brighter areas. Flash exposure compensation can only be used in auto or TTL flash modes.

shuttermuse.com

OK – had a little twiddle in TTL mode but pressing the set button did not bring the FEC mode up? Tried it on numerous occasions as well. It did however when I switched to manual. It looks like whether I was ready or not, I am going to have to work in manual with the flash as well….

I have had a play in manual, changing the flash settings and it seems much easier than I thought. The page below is from the flash manual:

Godox TT350o Flash manual pg38

So basically I am going to use the flash in Manual from now on. I will be slower because I will need to get use to working that way and the outcomes but it will be easier in the long run.

14th November 2019

I am still having to research about the use of the flash believe it or not. I am getting on with practicing in Manual only which is a big step forwards for me from not owning or ever using a flash, to having trouble with TTL Autoflash and reading that this setting has it’s limitations, to going onto Manual very early on in my usage of the flash.

Therefore what I have decided to do for this part of the course is complete it in two parts of which this post is the first and then for the second part write up about my new findings and practices and attempt the exercise using the correct exercise requirements.

I am now running behind in my timetable and have had to miss my tutors deadline because of all the new information I am researching and the many new techniques I am experiencing for the first time, as well as trying to get a grip with them. Therefore I have gone ahead in the folder completing research and other exercises while still reading and working on this one in the background.


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