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eric s Sep 26, 2003 8:35 PM

Finally got a good one
I've had to ask for some help with flash usage. You see, I've had trouble getting a good picture of this Green Heron. I've seen him 3 days over the past week. Well, I went out again today (bad knee and all) determined to use what NHL and tuanokc told me about proper flash usage. Here is a good example of the results:

Camera: 10D 100-400 @ 400mm, ISO 100, -1/2 flash comp, 1/200, f8
Photoshop: Levels, contrast, resize, sharpen.

I've been using the new flash (550EX) but I've been fairly unhappy with the results. First it was my fault (thanks guys!) but once I got beyond that I was finding the results to be a bit too flat and a bit to bright. So while shooting today I taught myself how to use flash compensation and experimented with that (hate it when you forget the manual!)

Believe it or not, this is a full frame picture. Yes, I was that close. I have some more pictures I'll turn into a gallery on my web site. Probably over the weekend. My knee is killing me so I have to stop shooting for awhile.

I'll take any and all comments. I'm generally happy with how this came out. Wish the bird wasn't sitting on concrete, but you can't get everything!


chubby Sep 26, 2003 8:38 PM

Awesome shot! I love the detail and colour. I'll be sure to check out your gallery.


djb Sep 26, 2003 10:12 PM



NHL Sep 27, 2003 10:16 AM


Good shot! Now you're ready for the wireless feature. :wink:

... Use a 2nd unit on the other side to get rid of the shadow. Sigma makes a clone @ 1/2 the cost unless of course you're an all out Canon man. :P

eric s Sep 27, 2003 11:16 AM

I'm not, I only got the (overpriced!) 550EX because of its power and compatability. I didn't feel I knew enough to use a flash which had compatability problems/quirks as well.

Going with a second flash is an interesting idea. I'm also thinking of getting something to raise the flash even higher over the camera. I was getting "red-eye" on the Green Heron even with that flash. That is why I chose that picture... didn't have to try to fix the eyes in PS.

Does anyone find the picture a little flat? Maybe it's the nature of the features... so smooth to the bird. But something seems just a bit wrong with the picture. I was blaming the use of flash, but maybe I shouldn't?


NHL Sep 27, 2003 12:01 PM


Does anyone find the picture a little flat?
Using an even slower shutter speed might help you balanced in more background. :wink:

eric s Sep 27, 2003 3:10 PM

I agree that having a background would be nice. But I don't believe I was on a tripod for that shot (I did some both on and off.) Off the tripod at 400mm a less than 1/200... scares me. :D


ps. Now that I think about it... I might have been on the tripod. Humm....

NHL Sep 28, 2003 5:57 AM

That piece of concrete/background won't be moving... even @ 1/60s :wink:

Remember if the leafy background moves your main subject is already frozen by the much faster flash pulse, and would actually makes it acts more like a shallow DOF (ie blurry background). The 1/200s shutter is not what freezed the bird here! :P

eric s Sep 28, 2003 8:48 AM

The longer the shutter the more ambient light is coming into the camera. The "as metered" settings were around... 1/60 at f5.6 or so. If I shot at 1/120 at f8 (or so) that would be 2 stops of what it should be (1 for the shutter, 1 for the aperture). I would have thought that would be enough to allow a slight ghosting effect on everything (motion blur.)

Of course, I have no idea if that is true... but its what I imagined. I guess I could go try it in my closet! (I have some really boring pictures of my dress shirts....)

Another interesting question is about the aperture. I tried to shoot at f11 (? 1 stop beyond f8) and it came out really dark. This is a really powerful flash, but I guess I don't know how many stops it gives you back. I was off by about.... 4'ish stops with 1/200 f11. I thought the flash was powerful enough for that, but maybe not? How do you make such a calculation?


Klaus DK Sep 28, 2003 12:41 PM

Really nice shot. Good work Eric!

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