Friday, June 12, 2009

Bounced Flash and Bake-Off

I dislike using flash in my photography, but most indoor lighting condition are not really bright enough for even illumination.

Direct flash can cause even the most flattering photos to turn out bad, direct flash is harsh and highlight in photos are "burn out" and lack detail.

If you are serious about your photography, the first technique you must learn is how to BOUNCE your flash!

Sadly, virtually all the smaller, so called "point & shoot" cameras came with tiny, fixed flash that you cannot tilt and bounce! Even if it can, the output is just too weak for that purpose.

What you need then is an external flash that is equipped with a movable "head" which you can tilt and turn to direct the light up or sidewards.

What is the advantage of bounced flash then?

This is where the BAKE-OFF part come in...

Today is our "Staff Bake Off Day" where staff bring in their baked goodies to be judge! A fun and yummy way to a HUGE shared tea break!

The event was held at our huge "kitchen" area, the faint hearted will conclude that the ceiling is really too high for bounce flash; or is it?

Take a look at the two shots below, the top one was shot with direct flash and the bottom pic with the flash pointing up at the high ceiling.

Notice how even and pleasing the illumination of the bottom (bounced) picture is?

To learn more about bounced flash, go to this excellent DIY Hobby site.

Below are more pictures I took at the bake-off, and who say you cannot get candid shots of the judges :)

The "cover up"!!

"Me, me, me!" The judges, from left; Bruce Murray (Tawa Historical Society and many other areas), Emily, Pat Stoddart (Pataka Museum), Ken Scadden (Marist Brothers Archives) and Barry Mant (Aotea Security).

Audrey,"That one with the flag is from Kate!" The judges, "Oh! We MUST try that!" :)

Raising the camera above your head and shooting downwards take some practice to get right.

An ultra wide zoom is useful in situation like this, I was using the 12-24 DX zoom on my D300.

I love ultra wide! Up close and personal!

Kiwi just love their PAV!

Only an ultra wide lens and bounced flash can get you angle like this!

Staff's turn to sample the goodies! Decision, decision!

Famous Last Words:

I was using a Nikon SB 600 Speedlight with my D300, only the Nikon 12-24 f4 DX zoom was used.

Because of the really high ceiling, thus the massive lost of bounced light due to scattering; I compensated by using high ISO 0f 800.

The pictures were all shot at "A" (auto) setting, the camera fixed the shooting aperture at f8. A good aperture setting for overall sharpness and depth-of-field.

You will notice in adverse situation like this, even with ISO 800; most of the shots are under exposed by about 2 stops. That is why I only shoot in RAW format. The latest Adobe camera raw will handle the under exposure without degrading the image.

When is your next bake-off? Go on, bring your camera!

Footnote: The winners of our bake-off are...

Steve Young 1st place – wholesome bacon and egg pies, Lei Timu 2nd – almond basil citrus cake, Marian Donaldson 3rd– good old Kiwi pav, special Rebekah Rogers – lemon zesty cake!!
Special Wooden spoon award – Stephen Beighton... Hee hee...


heather said...

The instructions on using a flash inside are very interesting and informative. The photos are great!(except the ones with me in them,, ha ha,, grrr)
It became a real event with outside judges coming in and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. The photos reflect that perfectly..A good time had by all.

Andy Fenton said...

Good onya CY - sorry I missed it - BUT this helps me see what a great time was had by all... I got 4 phone calls whilst in Akld so figured it weas a success!
Excellent shots & photographic tips as always.
Personally I don't like the wide angle lens because of the curvature/crazy mirror wreaks havoc with Sports Team photos as well - the coaches on the outside always have plasticine heads! Andy