June 21 2011 - Photo Jottings

June 21 2011


Don’t forget to use your flash outdoors!

I’m working on an outdoor flash article which isn’t ready right now, but the image below offers a glimpse at the content.  Although you don’t need three flashes like I used here, using just one will noticeably improve your images.

I wanted to use the warm, setting sunlight along with some appropriate fill light to help accentuate the details and color of the main entryway to this beautiful Spanishcolonial home, and the result is the final image below.  Just a thought; I like the hanging lantern light pattern on the walls, it looks like fire!  Everything in this house is custom hand-made, and meaningful.

As I was photographing the interior of this private residence in the old foothills of Tucson, AZ, I decided to step outside and see how the late afternoon light was shaping up.  I thought maybe the sun would cast a nice soft light on this entryway before it set, but that wasn’t to be.  With available light only, (inset photo) the scene looks flat and a little boring; to spice it up required using three flashes, all with orange gels.  All flashes were used off-camera.  To see how to do this, go here.

The first flash unit provided some general fill light, and was set up high and to the left, you can
see the shadows from the plant on the tiles.  The next area of concern is the woodwork.  I aimed the second flash at the doors from high and to the right, (I’m probably holding the flash unit in my hand over my head), at about 1/4 power, that’s a lot of power up close, but it was needed because the doors really soaked up the light!  I also used a flash zoom setting of 85mm to avoid light spill on the walls.  The third and final flash was placed just inside the doorway, and bounced off the right wall up high, doing this creates a warm, inviting glow in the transom windows, silhouettes the ornamental hardware, and makes that area of the image more visually appealing in my opinion.

This was a really nice house, and I wanted to help show it off in its best light, (literally!), so I took the extra time to properly light each scene, and charged accordingly!  Specs for the shot; F/7.1, ISO 200 1/5sec at 15mm, (23mm FF equiv) straightened, very mild crop and perspective correction.  The inset photo was taken a few minutes before the flash shot, and at a slightly shorter focal length.

Use your flash outside!
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