22 June 2009

Armeria maritima

Pentax K20D, DA 14mm f/2.8, AF540-FTZ flash with LumiQuest Mini-Softbox
f/7.1, 1/100s @ ISO 400

On this particular occasion I was trying out using flash and wide-angle for closeups of flowers. I've never been good at flash shots. That is, I've never been particularly happy with my results from flash-aided photography. I fumble a lot, lose control, and end up mostly confused. One of the things I have hated is all those weird shadows that end up in places where I don't want them. So I've experimented with indirect flash, small softeners, off-camera flash, etc., etc.
However the fumbling factor has got the better of me. Every time. Quite discouraging really.
So it was with considerable suspicion and a slight feeling of recklessness that I bought a LumiQuest mini-softbox a couple of weeks back. When at Runde last week-end I braced myself and tested it. A good many miss-outs and screwed-up shots later, I got this one. The flash is placed off-camera to the left; the soft-box is so close it's just outside the frame.
What still puzzles me a bit is the combination of exposure settings I had to apply to get a decent balance between natural and flash light. I dialled in a +1 stop compensation on the flash, and a -1 compensation for the total exposure. This turned out to be some kind of sweet-spot combination, and I used it successfully for another hour and maybe 50 shots; providing reliably good results with many different motifs. I'm at loss for an explanation for why this worked so well, but I'll surely try it out more. :-)
Th flower is called "Marsh Daisy" in English, according to Wikipedia. A salt-tolerant plant that grace the coastal landscape of nearly all of Norway. The light at Runde fyr in the background.


Frank M. said...

Funny how we decided to post wide-angle flower closeups on the same day. Your photo makes mine look really bad, though! In addition to the good balance between ambient and flash, the composition is perfect.

By the way, concerning flash use, I find that using the flash on manual, dialing down the power ratio and using a "trial and error" approach, works much better for me than using the auto modes. It is a very subjective issue, of course.

Alunfoto said...

Wow, Frank

That was quite a compliment, thanks!

I agree on your sentiment regarding manual flash. My problem is that the AF-540FTZ reverts to P-TTL faster than I can say Fruitcake whenever I work in any of the automatic or semi-automatic exposure modes (Tv, Av, etc.), so I really want to learn how to make the most of the automatics. It's quite a bit of "trial and error" all by itself. My hope is to acquire a better understanding of how P-TTL works under various conditions, so that my flash exposures stop being, as they say, all over the place.