My Take on Flash Photography: Part 5

NB: This series of posts will convey my understanding of flash photography. While I hope it serves a useful purpose, I by no means describe this series as a be-all, end-all resource on flash photography. As ever, if you feel I have made a factual error, please correct me.

This post is my final in this series, and is intended to integrate the last four flash photography posts. Sadly, due to some serious time constraints this weekend, I haven’t been able to spend as much time taking pictures with as many different flash setups as I’d have liked. In addition, my Metz mini octagonal soft box arrived this week, so I had to dedicate a fair portion of my free time to familiarising myself with its use in the field (namely, the back garden). So, whilst not an exhaustive summary of the series, here follows some photos showing what can be achieved using some of the different elements of flash photography I’ve discussed over the past four posts. As is customary in most of my recent posts, the captions are comprehensive, and probably longer than this paragraph. Oh, and Metz is mentioned a lot, too. 🙂

This rhododendron was heavily backlit, so I used flash to fill in the shadows. I held a Metz 76 with SB 34-34 soft box just out of frame to the lower left, and reduced the flash output by 2/3 of a stop (-0.7 EV). This restored detail in the foreground, without losing the effect of the backlit petals. Olympus OM-D with Olympus 60mm Macro, f/8, 1/40s, ISO 200.
This rhododendron was heavily backlit, so I used flash to fill in the shadows. I held a Metz 76 with SB 34-34 soft box just out of frame to the lower left, and reduced the flash output by 2/3 of a stop (-0.7 EV). This restored detail in the foreground, without losing the effect of the backlit petals. Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Olympus 60mm Macro, f/8, 1/40s, ISO 200.
This chrysanthemum (I think; I'm not a botanist, after all!) was in deep shade and moving in a light breeze. I used the flash both to freeze the movement, and to get enough light to make an acceptable exposure. Positioning the Metz 76 with SB 34-34 soft box out of frame to the left gave me a diffuse light source, accentuating the pastel lilac and yellow. Being aimed directly at the flower has given me shadows, which, while soft, add definition. Some light spilled into the background, which created a "friendlier" photo. Olympus OM-D with Olympus 60mm Macro, f/5.6, 1/30s, ISO 200.
This chrysanthemum (I think; I’m not a botanist, after all!) was in deep shade and moving in a light breeze. I used the flash both to freeze the movement, and to get enough light to make an acceptable exposure. Positioning the Metz 76 with SB 34-34 soft box out of frame to the left gave me a diffuse light source, accentuating the pastel lilac and yellow. Being aimed directly at the flower has given me shadows, which, while soft, add definition. Some light spilled into the background, which created a “friendlier” photo. Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Olympus 60mm Macro, f/5.6, 1/30s, ISO 200.
The chickens dug these yams up. I held the Metz 76 fitted with SB 34-34 softbox behind the yams, above them and to the left (roughly following a line from the centre of the image to the top left corner). This has lit them up evenly, but thrown enough shadows to define them and accentuate their curves. Typical of flash, the colours are a little more vibrant, which helps them stand out from the soil on which they lay. Olympus OM-D with Olympus 60mm Macro, f/8, 1/30s, ISO 200.
The chickens dug these yams up. I held the Metz 76 fitted with SB 34-34 softbox behind the yams, above them and to the left (roughly following a line from the centre of the image to the top left corner). This has lit them up evenly, but thrown enough shadows to define them and accentuate their curves. Typical of flash, the colours are a little more vibrant, which helps them stand out from the soil on which they lay. Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Olympus 60mm Macro, f/8, 1/30s, ISO 200.
The fuchsia flowers were backlit with sun streaming through the tree canopy; flash was a must. The Metz 76 with SB 34-34 soft box was positioned directly underneath them. I often do this when lighting fuchsia flowers, as I find it picks out the intricacies of their structure better. The tops of the flowers are illuminated by faint daubs of natural light, as well as flash reflected back down by any flowers or branches above them. The overall effect is quite nice, with strident blue pollen set against the electric greens and moody violets of the rest of the flowers. Isolation from the background is achieved by this lighting effect, as well as the contrast created by the rusted sand colour of the branch, and general lack of depth of field. Olympus Om-D with Olympus 60mm Macro lens, f/8, 1/30s, ISO 200.
The fuchsia flowers were backlit with sun streaming through the tree canopy; flash was a must. The Metz 76 with SB 34-34 soft box was positioned directly underneath them. I often do this when lighting fuchsia flowers, as I find it picks out the intricacies of their structure better. The tops of the flowers are illuminated by faint daubs of natural light, as well as flash reflected back down by any flowers or branches above them. The overall effect is quite nice, with strident blue pollen set against the electric greens and moody violets of the rest of the flowers. Isolation from the background is achieved by this lighting effect, as well as the contrast created by the rusted sand colour of the branch, and general lack of depth of field. Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Olympus 60mm Macro lens, f/8, 1/30s, ISO 200.
My desk, just before this post was written. I mounted the Metz 76 on the camera bracket, and bounced it off the ceiling to my rear, with no forward fill light, giving soft shadows and relatively even lighting. The image is quite free of noise, as the flashgun was powerful enough to illuminate the room, even at the smaller aperture to get depth of field. However, there are reflections from me, a shirt hanging nearby, the ceiling itself, and the wall behind me. My options here would have been to shift the flash off camera and aim it more carefully, or use a polariser filter to eliminate much of the reflective nature of the shiny surfaces. Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Olympus 12-50mm zoom, f/8, 1/30s, ISO 200.
My desk, just before this post was written. I mounted the Metz 76 on the camera bracket, and bounced it off the ceiling to my rear, with no forward fill light, giving soft shadows and relatively even lighting. The image is quite free of noise, as the flashgun was powerful enough to illuminate the room, even at the smaller aperture to get depth of field. However, there are reflections from me, a shirt hanging nearby, the ceiling itself, and the wall behind me. My options here would have been to shift the flash off camera and aim it more carefully, or use a polariser filter to eliminate much of the reflective nature of the shiny surfaces. Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Olympus 12-50mm zoom, f/8, 1/30s, ISO 200.
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