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Old May 26, 2007, 1:01 AM   #1
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Hi Folks,

I have been practicing with the FL50 flash recently. I don't have too much knowledge about flash or lighting set ups ... and have run into a situation.

Quite a lot of pictures have irregular reflections near the periphery of the eye and some of them are all together hard clipped dots. Well with my limited knowledge I percieve them as hard clipped highlighted dots.

I need to know what these are and how to avoid them ... as one thing I am positive about is that they will show up even in the smaller (6x4 or 5x7) sized prints as well.

Here are some samples which are cropped from the original picture

All the three below were shot with flash bounced off the ceiling









For this one the flash was pointing straight ahead ... so the one white dot right in the centre is Ok but whats with the other 5 white dots clustered together ?





What can be done to avoid such unwanted ... white blips ?

Cheers,

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Old May 26, 2007, 10:04 AM   #2
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These reflections are called "catchlights" and result in a more life-like portrait. You can improve your portrait by controlling these catchlights. Before you shoot your portrait, look at your subject's eyes. Try to spot the catchlights. For the most desirable effect, you want them at the 10 o'clock or 2 o'clock position.

If you don't have catchlights the subject usually ends up dead looking...in other words it's a DESIREABLE effect!!!! In fact in competitions judges will usually penalize an image if there aren't any catchlights.

If you really don't want them don't point the flash at the subject, bounce the light off the ceiling or a soft reflector (something that softens the light as it reflects)..

If you want to learn more about lighting with flash, check out:
http://olympusdigitalschool.com/phot...ons/index.html
and
http://www.strobist.blogspot.com/

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Old May 29, 2007, 1:16 AM   #3
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Hi Mike,

Thanks for those links I just read through those ...

But there's one thing I wonder about ... after having read the travel photog tutorial, how much of equipment one is willing to carry around ?

>If you really don't want them don't point the flash at the subject, bounce the light >off the ceiling or a soft reflector (something that softens the light as it reflects)..

For the first three shots I did bounce them off the ceiling but those 'catchlights' are at the wrong places I think

I also found these two things while searching around for portable flash thingies. The Stofen diffuser and LightSphere II (Gary Fong). Have you used any of these before ?

Which ones do you recommend ... I think both of them are portable and lightweight and won't look scary when added on to the camera or the flash.

Cheers,

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Old May 29, 2007, 10:02 AM   #4
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I have the Lightsphere II (the hard one, not the more recent soft one), and it works as advertised, although it admittedly looks a bit dorky. More recently I have bought a diffuser "hood" that fits over the flash and diffuses the light; it folds up into the bottom of my camera bag for spontaneous use when I don't bring along the hard Lightsphere. In a pinch, you can cut a piece of clear cushion foam or white cardboard and rubber-band it to the back of your flash as a reflector/diffuser. Just about anything is better than using direct flash.

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Old May 29, 2007, 12:27 PM   #5
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And was I not looking hard enough .... :?

Just saw the "A Better Bouce Card" which seems unobtrusive and quite handy.

I am gonna try that as soon as I get to.

Cheers guys for your inputs ...

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Old May 29, 2007, 12:57 PM   #6
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Norm in Fujino wrote:
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In a pinch, you can cut a piece of clear cushion foam or white cardboard and rubber-band it to the back of your flash as a reflector/diffuser
I don't use flash much except for fill under extreme backlighting conditions. That said,I have used the LumiQuest system which is fine but not very compact (and you do have to permanently attach velcro strips to the flash to hold it). Most pro photographers I have seen, just attach a 3"x5" white index card to the flash head with a rubberband, aim the head straight up and bend the card forward at a 45-degree angle. It's definitely compact but not satisfying to a real gadget geek...

Ted
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Old May 29, 2007, 8:15 PM   #7
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This won't help a FL-50 much (without looking tacky), but since I use a Vivitar 285HV with my E-500, there's a slot on the side of the head for various color diffusers to be slid over the flash head. I simply cut the proper sized piecea translucent milk jug (leaving a tab for easy pulling out), and it does a surprisingly good job as a softner/diffuser. It tones down the flash just enough, and I also noticed that it softens up the white dots in the eyes, but still leaves them there.

I was thinking about getting the Stoffen softner device, but I think the milk jug version is probably doing very close to the same thing.

Also using a flash bracket can help you by getting the flash higher up even when you're not bouncing. The Stroboframe Camera Flip bracket is rather handy -- it keeps the flash high over the camera, while allowing yourto flip the camera from portrait to landscape in a very slick way:



I like the Camera Flip better than the Quick Flip, because with the Quick Flip you end up with your flash turned sideways (even though it's still on top). If your flash of choice doesn't swivel, you won't be able to bounce it when using the contraption in portrait mode:



Using a flash bracket at a non-pro event can take a little commitment and confidence, as it is a bit on the overstated camera nerd side of things unless you're a professional photographer. On the other hand, when using a big bracket contraption, people at these events tend to get out of your way because they think you are *THE* event photographer.


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Old Jun 13, 2007, 12:01 PM   #8
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I like this one...



...but use the card strapped to my 285 for almost 20 years
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Old Jun 13, 2007, 3:40 PM   #9
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Hi Gaggu

Have you ever thought of using the flash completely off camera if so take a look at strobist.com. It'll take you from a to z on how to improve your use of flash and get better shots.

Cheers

HarjTT

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Old Jun 13, 2007, 11:35 PM   #10
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Riceburner wrote:
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I like this one...



...but use the card strapped to my 285 for almost 20 years


Me, too, that's why I bought the camera flip instead of the quick flip. It's working out really well, and is small enough to use it without looking too much like a wannabe pro event photographer.

I also bought a rather old Stroboframe pro bracket with a big wooden T-handle mounted on the side and a Vertaflip PHD installed on it.




Since this was used on an old SLR that had a remote shutter button installed over by the T-handle, I had to take apart the entire bracket and Vertaflip and reverse everything so it it allowed for the camera to flip clockwise instead of counter clockwise,so thatthe shutter buttonof the E-500 isat the top. This old pro bracket puts the flash about 2 feet up in the air. I think I'll use that for home portraits rather than take it and use it in public -- I'm not that confident to walk around with that thing! The T-handle is really nice and positioned and shaped well to provide good support even for a heavy system.
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