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Old Oct 4, 2005, 2:00 PM   #61
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Phaedra-

I am currently in Japan conducting workshops, so I have not gotten to the internet on a regular basis. I know exactly the type of lighting that you are looking for, in short, you do not want your photo to look like it was taken by a flash. You want to retain a natural look to the photo. Is that correct?

I surely come from a differnt school of thought, because in my experience the farther I can get the slave flash away from my camera, the more natural the lighting becomes. The flash look disappears.

Yes,the effect can also be created with a softbox, but I dislike hauling a whole lot of equipment around. I holdmy camera in my right hand. I use the camera's built-in flash to act as a trigger, and I hold the slave flashhigh in my left hand, as far away from the camera's lens as possible, or I hand the slave flash to my husband sitting next to me, which gets the flash even further away, and take the photo.

Personally I believe that using the slave flash on my camera's hot shoe (yes, I have many camera's that DO have hot shoes!) creates exactly what I wish to avoid, that "I used a flash" kind of look.

I hope that helps a bit. I will continue to be a random contributor until I get home once again in mid October.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Oct 4, 2005, 2:42 PM   #62
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speaklightly wrote:
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I surely come from a differnt school of thought, because in my experience the farther I can get the slave flash away from my camera, the more natural the lighting becomes. The flash look disappears.

How? The "flash look" is caused by too much light from the flash washing out the natural light of the scene, and by harsh shadows. Moving the flash farther off camera is a good thing because it will reduce or eliminate redeye, but it does not soften the shadows, and it does not change the balance of flash vs natural light on the scene. If any noticable effect at all, it'll make it look like someone else's flash illuminated the photo, with the shadows being more apparent.

The way to get rid of "flash look" is to balance the flash light with the natural light, and to diffuse/bounce/etc to soften shadows. I'd be happy to post some samples shots showing what I mean if there is interest in it.

-Sean
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Old Oct 4, 2005, 3:45 PM   #63
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Thank you for your response Sarah...you sound like a very busy woman! I'd love to visit Japan. I'm hoping you take some photos and share them .

Sean, I'd love to see your samples illustrating balancing natural light and flash.

It is obvious that there are lots of different opinons on this matter and not just one right way, so it looks like I'm gonna have to just jump in and practice with different lighting techniques...I just hope I can do it withour spending to much money trying to find the way that works for me...I hate wasting money tryig to find the right solution.

Hugs,
Phaedra
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Old Oct 4, 2005, 7:44 PM   #64
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Hi Phaedra,

I hear ya on the money thing. I don't know about you, but hobbies sure turn into a money pit for me. I have to admit that photography has been one of the more rewarding ones, though.

I took some sample shots to show what I mean, please excuse their crudeness (varying white balance, not lined up, etc) but they should suffice to illustrate my points on lighting. The sample is two rows of composited images:

Row 1: The purpose of this was to simulate a subject on a dark stage illuminated by colored stage lighting. The subject was placed in front of a black backdrop and illuminated by a flashlight with a red gel over it from the right side. The 5 images in this row show varying combinations of natural lighting and flash. Image 1 is taken with no flash at all, shutter speed 1/2s at iso200. Images 2-4 were taken each with a little more flash power. Had the subject been moving, the flash would have freezed it in that position. As flash power increased, you can see the visibility of the natural lighting decreased. The idea is to get somewhere in the middle so details are highlighted but it doesn't wash out the scene. The last image was taken with a much faster shutter speed of 1/250s to show what it would look like with the flash only. At this speed, there is not enough time for dim natural light to have any effect on the photo.

Row 2: The purpose of this example was to show the effects of flash on shadows. Shot #1 was taken with no flash at all. Notice the soft shadows from the room lighting under the panda. Shot #2 was taken with the flash aimed directly at the subject, as it normally would be. Notice the hard edges on the shadows and glare off its head make it very obvious a flash was used. Shot #3 was taken by bouncing the flash off the ceiling. The flash actually filled the room and reflected off many surfaces back to the panda, providing a soft even lighting. Notice the shadows are very similar to the ones in shot #1, only the image is much brighter because the flash brightened the room for the duration of the shot.

Hope this helps some.

-Sean
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Old Oct 5, 2005, 7:16 AM   #65
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Hi

This is the soft box that I usually use . It wraps around the flash head and stows away into a flatpack when not in use. The only snag is, you lose about 2-3 stops of light.
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Old Oct 5, 2005, 7:43 AM   #66
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Hi again

I got that one wrong, so here goes again.
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Old Oct 5, 2005, 9:07 PM   #67
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Thank you sean for the detailed images! They are a hug help!

Geriatric...thanks for the image of the softbox! I love it. Does that work well when holding the camera by hand, or is it meant to be used with a tripod?

Thanks guys for all the help with flash!

-Phaedra
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Old Oct 6, 2005, 6:00 AM   #68
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Hi

Use on the hotshoe if preferred, as a normal flash. It is Held on too the flash head with velcro pads.


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Old Oct 8, 2005, 12:02 AM   #69
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I've written about slave flash many times in the Olympus forum, mainly because I did use a Metz 34-CS2 with my C-700 (both currently pictured as my avatar).

The reason why I chose that one was to use a normal flash with that camera it would require buying a $90 cable. As well my camera uses the preflash, so not all slaves would work...the following is a picture that I took of the flash to make sure it did work with my preflash:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/08...n/preflash.jpg

Today though with my current camera I use a TTL flash and use the Metz slave as additional fill.
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Old Oct 8, 2005, 12:37 AM   #70
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Mike,

Did you once post that image on the C700 Yahoo group? It looks familiar...

-Sean
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