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Old Jul 13, 2009, 5:46 PM   #1
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Default Are You At Ease With Using External Flash?

Several Pentax folks have mentioned that it might be an appropriate time to revisit the external flash seminar we did a year or so ago in this Forum. Anyone interested?

An external flash allows you to avoid harsh shadows and over exposed photos that are so common with your built-in flash, or an external flash in the full head on position. Using an external flash can easily produce some wonderfully soft lighting that is very attractic. Here is a sample photo that shows that soft lighting.

I am home for another 2 weeks so if any one is interested we can do a quick session.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 7:33 PM   #2
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Sarah Joyce, I would definitely be interested. I've got the smaller of the two standard flashes and don't use it very often because I either get dark or washed out images.

Patty
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 8:09 PM   #3
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Just got a 540 so count me in.
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 8:51 PM   #4
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Thanks to Patty and Ira-

We are going to have a lot of fun exploring what a good external flash can do for you. For this tutorial, I will be using the Sigma EF-500 ST which is equipped to deal with the great Pentax PTTL flash synchronization.

Over the years Pentax has used various synch schemes. However, the PTTL protocol seems to be the most common.

Flash is a very dependable light source. The key issue, at least for this tutorial, will be how to use it most effectively. That is exactly the direction in which we will point you in this tutorial.

For those who might not remember who the heck I/we are, here is a small resume. My husband and i are a professional digital camera instructors with 15 years experience. My husband and I regularly teach digital cameras both for our local universities (the University of Oregon and California) as well as on cruise ships around the world, and for our local community college, as we sincerely believe that we have to support our local educational institutions as well.

What do we hope to share with you? We really want to convey to you that flash is a very realistic and useful light source that you personally can use very effectively. It can be a shadowless product shot, or a flash fill-in shot outdoors where you need to highlight the subject, while keeping the background totally under control.

Nope, there is no charge at all for the tutorial. We are also Pentaxians as well. We are just attempting to increase your photo skills. Does that seem fair? If so, please stay with us and we will get started on the tutorial. Fasten your seat belts, folks, and we will be on our way. Why do I say "fasten your seat belts"? because I am a retired Boeing 747 Captain who worked for Trans World Airlines. Anyway, we are going to have a great time and learn a lot.

Sarah Joyce

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Old Jul 13, 2009, 9:41 PM   #5
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OK, let's take our first "teaser photo."

You are most probably asking yourself, how was it done. Its simple. It all depends on the position of the flash head on your external flash. For this demo photo we will be using a KM 5d with its external flash to deomstrate the flash head position. We are using a Pentax K-2000 camera to take these photos.

Note where the flash head is placed. We are bouncing the majority of the light from the external flash off the ceiling, just 8 feet away. We are also spilling just a bit of the external flash's output forward to light our subjet quite well.

It works very well. After all, that photo is what attracted you to this flash tutorial. Note, that by directing the flash almost straight up, we eliminated all of the shadows in the photo. Just as you can do in your own photos. Try it, you will be surprised!

So, folks, there is Lesson #1. You can eliminate those ghastly bad/strark shadows just by tilting the flash head on your external flash. Be it the Pentax AF 360, AF 540, or a bargain flash like, the Sigma EF-500 ST such as I found in an estate sale.

So, please listen up folks, the flash head position is very important. By varying the flash head position we are going to create amazing lighting.

OK, you might be saying to yourself, wow, how can I use this information. We will next move to the portrait mode, and again flash will be the savior. Are you ready?
that is exactly where we will go next, and yes, you will get a chance to see my ugly face. Are you really ready for the next step? Stand by, and we will show you how to use an external flash operation to greatly enhance your portraits.

Note the flash head position for our initial photo. It is almost vertical. That probably surprises you. that is how we got an almost shadowless photo that was what caught your attention to our flash tutorial. Try it, it is really simple. You can do it just as we did with our initial photo.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 10:50 PM   #6
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Sarah,

Thank you for bringing back your flash tutorial thread. The long thread we had going last year was one of the most informative threads I have ever enjoyed reading. I learned a tremendous amount from it, and I look forward to this one.

Paul
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 11:42 PM   #7
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Thanks, Paul-

Wish me a lot of luck. I am hoping to make this year's version of the External Flash Tutorial, just as helpful to all of the Pentaxians on the forum.

Sarah Joyce

Note: For now, Paul, please keep close track of the position of the flash head on each of these photos. The differences are very small.
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 11:54 PM   #8
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Thanks, Sarah...I just read your tutorial and am anxious to try my 360 flash on both my KM and K10D, following your instructions.

I also want to take pictures of vintage cars, hot rods, vintage trucks, etc..using my K10d , KM and 360.

Generally I take pictures of these vehicles outside and the times are generally from about 6 PM to about 9:30 PM....so the Sun varies.

The lenses I use are either my 16-45 (mostly), my 18-55 kit lens on the KM or the 50 F 1.4.

I haven't used the external flash very much lately on the digital cameras.
Any suggestions ?

Thank you.

Les
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 12:10 AM   #9
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Les-
It is a shame that you have not made use of your external flash. An external flash is a very reliable light source, especially for car photos.

The position of the flash head on your external flash is really critical to getting really excellent photos. So please stay with us, Les, as we move through this external flash tutorial. Thanks!

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 12:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtclimber View Post
Les-
It is a shame that you have not made use of your external flash.It's true, it's been a resource I have neglected over the years. Recently I have seen some wonderful pictures of cars and the people that own them...using flash. It's been a motivation. An external flash is a very reliable light source, especially for car photos.

The position of the flash head on your external flash is really critical to getting really excellent photos. So please stay with us, Les, as we move through this external flash tutorial. Thanks!
Sarah Joyce
I will...looking forward to additional tutorials...Thanks, Les
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